Bruce Robinson of Bethesda conquered a biting wind and a sometimes ice course and finished first in the featured race of the Bethesda Chase yesterday morning.

Robinson, who competed in the 1976 Olympic trials for a place on the U.S. marathon squad, beat about 700 starters in a 20 kilometer (12.4 mile) race in one hour three minutes and 23 seconds.

"I used to live on Cedar Lane (part of the course), so I ran through this area all the time," Robinson explained. "Today I tried to run as hard as I could through the snow and keep my balance on the ice."

During the first half of the race. Robinson was well behind the leaders. Carl Hatfield of Phillippi, W. Va., and Ben Wilson of Earlysville, Va.

"Then Wilson started fading around the seven-mile mark," Robinson recounted. "I passed him going up a hill. I kept creeping up on Hatfield and caught him on Wisconsin Avenue near the 10-mile mark."

The race began at Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. The runners covered the streets of Bethesda and Kensington as they headed northeast to Rock Creek Park. After passing the Mormon Temple they turned around and traveled west on Beach Drive and south on Rockville Pike to the finish line at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Wilson, a Division II All-AMERICAN in track and cross country at MIT, congratulated the victor, saying "Bruce ran a fantastic race. He ran a smart race in that he waited until the second half to come on strong."

The first woman to finish the 20 kilometer run was Aileen O'Connor of College Park, 74th in one hour 15 minutes and 57 seconds.

O'Connor had trailed Marge Rosasco of Baltimore through the first half of the race, but she took command after the turn-around point.

"I was surprised to beat Marge because I had the Russian flu a few weeks ago so I haven't been able to train much recently," O'Connor commented.

In addition to the 20 kilometer run, the Bethesda Chase included a 10-kilometer race walk and a two mile Run-for-Fun.

The first finisher of the 18 race walkers was Carl Schueler of Trenton, N.J. in 45 minutes and 26 seconds.

The top finishers were awarded trophies, medals, shoes and other merchandise prizes. T-shirts were awarded to all finishers in the 20 K, and a booklet on runner was awarded to all finishers in the two-mile.