For all the challenges that Dave Cooley faced as he planned the inaugural Frederick Marathon -- from planning the course route to recruiting volunteers to promoting the race -- he did not think he would have to worry about snow. Especially when temperatures flirted with the 70s just days before the race.
But in the moments after runners left the starting line at 8 a.m. Sunday at Frederick High School, the cold rain started to become a bit thicker. By 8:30, the air was white with snow. And by 9, the snow had collapsed an archway of green, black and white balloons at the finish line.
"Rain and cold weather I was worried about," Cooley said as he instructed volunteers to begin clearing snow off of the school's track. "I wasn't worried about snow."
The snow and the frigid temperatures that accompanied it made the course slicker in spots and made runners' times a bit longer. But the crowd and the number of runners who braved the cold added up to a successful first run.
Of the approximately 1,400 who signed up for the race -- including 620 marathoners and 190 relay teams of four -- only about 100 did not show up, according to race officials.
"Weather aside, I thought it was a great event -- very enthusiastic crowd, very enthusiastic runners," said Cooley. "We're happy, we would have liked to have better weather, but we'll go for that next year."
Maurits Van Der Veer of Philadelphia won the race in 2 hours, 37 minutes, 11 seconds. It was the first career victory for Van Der Veer, 35, who placed sixth in February's Motorola Marathon in Austin, Texas.
Van Der Veer, a political science teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, did not run competitively in college, but became interested in the sport while living in Washington after he graduated.
"I moved, and I didn't know anyone in DC," Van Der Veer said. "I didn't want to sit in front of the TV every night, so I decided I'd explore the city by running around. And then it just got a little more serious every year."
Van Der Veer finished the race more than 21 minutes faster than anyone else in the field. But he still struggled with the inclement weather. Van Der Veer wore shorts and a flimsy t-shirt and was significantly slowed by the freezing temperatures in the second half of the race. After he finished, he wobbled to the Frederick High gymnasium where it took him nearly an hour to stop shaking.
"This morning it looked like it would be sort of cold, but not insanely cold -- maybe just rain," Van Der Veer said. "I stepped outside and said, 'This is probably okay.' Had I know, I would have worn tights and a little longer shirt."
Middletown's Grant Salisbury was the area's top finisher. In his first marathon, Salisbury ran a time of 2:58:21 to finish second behind Van Der Veer. Salisbury, who attends Princeton University, achieved his goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon with his sub-three-hour time.
"The weather has been so awful this winter, I've been training in stuff like this for months," Salisbury said. "This wasn't too out of the ordinary."
Salisbury's mother, Barry, 46, was the area's top female finisher. She finished with a time of 3:34:56 to place runner-up in the female division behind 23-year-old Becki McClintock (3:28:25) of New Cumberland, Pa.
Bethesda's Paul Peterson, 48, placed fourth overall with a time of 3:03.41 and won the Masters Division of the marathon. Kenneth Shapiro, 33, of Frederick placed ninth, while Philip Baetcke, 32, of Rockville was 13th.
Kari Bradley, 30, of Gaithersburg was 10th among female competitors in 3:44.14.