After the cancellation of last Sunday's B&A Trail Marathon in Severna Park, the Annapolis Striders are 0 for 3 in 2003.

"Some runners are saying that the Annapolis 10 Miler [in August] could be our first race," said B&A Trail race director Tom Bradford.

While that seems unlikely -- although fog forced cancellation of last May's Bay Bridge Run, otherwise a gimme on the racing calendar -- the harsh winter weather has claimed the Valentine's Day Twosome, the Washington's Birthday 5K and now the B&A Trail as casualties.

"We've got some pretty frustrated runners around here," Bradford said.

But it's hardly for a lack of trying on Bradford's part. He went so far as to measure and propose an alternative course when the Presidents' Day snowstorm buried the B&A trail one week before the race. The county, which maintains the trail, does not permit plowing. The alternative course, run on residential and commercial streets, was approved by police a few days before the scheduled running. But when more snow fell late in the week, problems with traffic control, well, snowballed.

"It wasn't that last snowfall per se that forced us to cancel," Bradford said. "It was more like the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Not knowing whether to proceed was the hardest part," Bradford said. "The logistics of a marathon are such that you've got lots of runners, police and volunteers on hold. It's very discouraging to do all that work and then not even have a race."

Other area clubs can sympathize. The D.C. Road Runners, which hosts more than 50 events annually, canceled their Washington's Birthday 10K in Alexandria on Feb. 15 and the Washington's Birthday Marathon in Greenbelt the next day.

Snow also shortened the club's Belle Haven 25K in Alexandria to eight miles last Sunday.

And the popular 10 Mile Club Challenge in Columbia hosted by the Howard County Striders was snowed out Feb. 23.

"It's been a tough winter, no doubt about it," DCRR President Susan Maher said. "But the runners have been pretty understanding about all the cancellations."

Maybe that's because the runners haven't been able to get outside and train with all the snow. Some race directors have suggested that once the spring racing season begins in earnest, numbers may be down.

"It's a concern," said Kathy Freedman from the Washington Running Company. "Nobody is ready to race."

We Can Dream . . .

The 19th Governor's Bay Bridge Run is scheduled -- scheduled -- for May 4. . . .

The 28th Annapolis Run on Aug. 24 will open for online registration June 1. But be ready: This year's premium, available to all finishers, is a Timex Ironman watch.

The second D.C. Marathon is to take place March 23. Race officials promise the nagging problems that beset the inaugural event have been rectified. A flatter, faster course and a prize purse of $25,000 already have attracted Joseph Kamau from Kenya and more than 5,500 pre-registered runners. . . .

And if the Striders ever do get their season off the ground, the Cherry Pit 10-Miler in Edgewater is scheduled for April 13. The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile in Washington is April 6.