Dumm Wins Marine Corps Race

First-Time Marathoner Uses Unconventional Strategy, Comes Out on Top

First-time marathoners win the men's and women's divisions of the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday as Andrew Dumm of Washington wins the men's race and and Cate Fenster of Wooster, Ohio, is victorious in the women's portion.
By Jim Hage
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, October 27, 2008; Page E05

With an unorthodox move at an unlikely point, first-time marathoner Andrew Dumm broke away from more experienced competitors and went on to win the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon in 2 hours 22 minutes 44 seconds yesterday. Another marathon novice, Cate Fenster, from Wooster, Ohio, won the women's race in 2:48:55, holding off Arlington's Lindsay Wilkins by 11 seconds.

Dumm, 23, a graduate student at American University, had only just caught up to the lead pack a few miles earlier when, near the halfway point of the 26.2-mile race, he dramatically picked up the pace -- and dropped the early leaders. For the next 13 miles, a combination of Dumm's aerobic strength, mental toughness and some good fortune made his audacious move pay off.

At Hains Point, notoriously the loneliest portion of the course -- moved from the late to the middle miles for the first time this year -- Dumm seized the lead. "It was an early spot for a move but I was trying to get some separation," said Dumm, a University of Virginia graduate and Fulbright scholar. "I know Hains Point is a psychological barrier. . . . Maybe being a novice freed me up to make a bold move."

Canny or just lucky, Dumm's ploy broke open the race. By the time the leaders looped the Point and returned to the Lincoln Memorial near Mile 16, Dumm had forged an insurmountable lead. Jose Miranda, who finished fourth last year seemed staggered; he tried to stay close but faded to sixth place in 2:26:48.

"The pace got hot after 12 miles," said Fred Joslyn, who passed Miranda at Mile 18 and took second overall in a personal-best 2:23:54. "We went from running 5:15 [per mile] to 5:05. [Dumm] put more than a minute on me in just a few miles. I tried to keep it steady; that was the right move for me or I could have blown up."

Joslyn, from the Hanson's Running Project based in Rochester, Mich., narrowed the gap over the last six miles, and could see Dumm toward the end. "I ran out of gas," Joslyn said. "I'm okay with it, maybe a little disappointed I wasn't more competitive in the front."

Brian Dumm, the winner's older brother who finished sixth here last year, cautioned Andrew to pace himself evenly. "It's really the only advice you can give someone," he said. The brothers ran together for the first few miles; Brian, who is stationed in England with the Air Force, finished fifth in 2:26:00.

The Dumms' father, Kenneth, 57, finished his eighth Marine Corps Marathon in 3:19:33. The eldest Dumm works at Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon. "I was interested in how [Andrew] would do in his first marathon," Kenneth said. "That's pretty awesome."

Corey Duquette, who is awaiting orders from the Navy in Pensacola, Fla., took third in 2:24:40 and was the top military finisher. "Effort-wise, meaning-wise, this is a personal best," Duquette said. Abigail Stiles, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 2002, was the top female military finisher, fourth in 2:54:47.

Jaron Hawkins, third here last year, finished fourth yesterday in 2:25:19, a 15-second improvement. Despite "hurting from Mile 6 on," Hawkins moved up throughout the race. "Now I'll go to Boston and try to qualify for the Olympic trials," he said.

Masters runner Alisa Harvey went through halfway in 1:29:42, but felt sluggish and dropped out a few miles later because of excessive hydration. "Coughed up a lung, sat down and made my way home," she said.

After the start near the Iwo Jima Memorial, the revamped course traced three hilly miles near Clarendon before crossing the Key Bridge for another up-and-down track in Miles 4 through 8. By the time most of the runners reached Mile 10 near the Kennedy Center, a heavy haze had burned off the Potomac River and the sun bore down. Start-time temperatures in the middle 40s rose rapidly, but generally the weather was good for the 18,261 finishers.

"It's no longer a [personal record] course," said race historian, George Banker, 58, who finished in 4:28:27. "Lots of hills, rough pavement -- my legs are beat up -- and it got hot out there."

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