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Winners Don't Have Good Times

By Sean P. Flynn
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page E06

The winners of the St. Patrick's Day 10K run each had one eye on the clock and the other on their long-term goals as they raced yesterday in downtown Washington. On a cold, windy morning, the times were down for winners Wilson Komen and Susannah Kvasnicka, but with decisive wins both seem to be on the right track in the area's first major road race of the year.

Komen, a 27-year-old from Eldoret, Kenya, who trains in Washington as well as Albuquerque, won the men's race in 31 minutes 14 seconds, pulling away early to win by 48 seconds.

Michael Wardian, 30, of Arlington, stayed close to Komen for the first mile of the 6.2-mile race before trailing off. He finished second in 32:02, followed by Washington's Peter Vail (32:14) and Reston's Eric Lavigne (32:34).

More than 5,000 runners participated.

"I feel good, but it was very windy, so it was a little slow," Komen said. "I was hoping for 29-something. . . . This is a good course, so I was really trying to get some training."

The training is for the April 19 Boston Marathon, in which Komen finished 12th a year ago.

Yesterday's win was Komen's second this year; he won the Mercedes-Benz Half-Marathon Feb. 13 in Birmingham.

"It's hard to predict" how the Boston Marathon will turn out, Komen said. "There are a lot of good runners, so it's hard to tell. I just want to be ready."

Kvasnicka, 32, of Great Falls, won in 35:18, well ahead of Mary Kate Bailey, 30, of Arlington, the 2004 Marine Corps Marathon winner who crossed the finish line in 35:50. Kvasnicka won her second race this year, also capturing the George Washington's Birthday Classic in Alexandria in February.

While Bailey -- who finished second in the George Washington's Birthday race -- stayed close for much of the race before trailing off with four minutes left, Kvasnicka tried to focus only on what she was doing. Kvasnicka is training for the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota in October, and she will get another tuneup at the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run on April 3.

"I was just trying to go out and run my own race," Kvasnicka said. "Ultimately I want to be in the right shape for Twin Cities."

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