In honor of today’s 24th running of the North Central Rail Trail Marathon in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland (somewhere near Baltimore), I’m recapping Miles‘ and my 1998 race.

The race is pretty small with less than 500 runners (I think there were closer to 300 runners when we ran it).  It’s run on an old railroad trail that’s been transformed into the North Central Railroad Trail.  The trail surface is dirt and gravel, and we were lucky enough to run it on a dry, mud-free day.  The race is an out-and-back course with the first mile (and last) running on a country road leading to the trail from the elementary school.  Miles told me the course was pretty flat, but it always seemed like the people way in front of us were at a higher grade, so I felt like we were always running up hill.  As you can see from the profile map, we weren’t.



I met Miles at his home in Maryland and he drove us to the race start at Sparks Elementary School.  It was a gorgeous morning for late November and the temperatures promised to be very comfortable once we got a mile or two under our belts.  As you can see from the pre-race photo, we were pretty cold waiting for the race to start.  Apparently I hadn’t collected enough long sleeved cotton throw-away race shirts to wear before the race, so I’m shivering in a short sleeved shirt!

We warmed up quickly, tossed our shirts and ran comfortably for the rest of the race.  I had a little disposable camera with me (do they even still sell those?), so we got another runner to snap a photo of us at a water stop.


Miles and I stayed together and talked the entire time, enjoying the beautiful day, and running relaxed without pushing ourselves.  The overall race was pretty uneventful, with one exception.  We were running on the trail where it crossed a little country road just as an ambulance came flying past with it’s lights going.  It sounded it’s siren just as it almost hit us as we crossed the road.  It scared the living daylights out of us, and gave us fodder for many follow-up jokes as we preceded to finish the race.

This picture might just be my very first “photo fartlek” experience when I sprinted ahead to get a picture of Miles toward the end of the race.   πŸ™‚


Another runner saw me taking the picture and offered to take one of us together.  We raised our hands in celebration of almost having another marathon under our belts as we ran toward the finish line!  We finished in 4:01:29 (9:13 pace) which gave me a 4th place finish in my age group.


After the race we enjoyed the typical post-race foods, plus hot soup.  We hung around for a little while talking to a few runners that we knew from seeing at other marathons.  Overall it was a very fun day, but what day isn’t fun when I get to spend it with my running buddy?


And a close-up of the medal…


After the race, we drove home and I looked forward to a quiet evening at home, but my family had other plans.  We went to my in-laws house for our second Thanksgiving dinner in three days.  I wore my slippers…


  • Questions:
  • What’s your favorite flash-back race?
  • Do you prefer to run a race with lots of crowd support and lots of other runners; or few runners and very few spectators?
  • Do you prefer soup or pizza post-race?