Bonne Bell, the cosmetic company that sponsored yesterday's 10,000-meter race for women at Haines Point, awarded as first prize a gold bell, a gift certificate for a pair of sneakers and a trip to the next Boston Marathon. It turned out to be a heftier bag of goodies than had been anticipated.
The victor, 36-year-old Cindy Dalrymple, dueled 30-year-old Marge Rosasco throughout the race for a four second victory in her best time, 35 minutes 44 seconds.
Dalrymple will be plotting her free trip to Boston from the airport nearest her present residence: Honolulu. Ironically, she is a Massachusetts native but never has run in the Boston Marathon (even though Track and Field Magazine ranked her the ninth-best woman marathoner in the world last year). She was in Washington yesterday on her way to visit relatives in Massachusetts.
Rosasco, from Baltimore, led for slightly more than half the 6.2-mile race before giving way permanently to Dalrymple, who had accelerated to keep her in sight. Rosasco set a relatively fast pace that only she and Dalrymple could handle: It was a two-woman race. Rosasco's 35:48 was her best career time, as well.
Marilyn Bevans, the third-place finisher, was almsot 1 1/2 minutes behind Rosasco, in 37:14.
Dalrymple, fueled only by glasses of water, started her day ominously, she thought. The race officials assigned her the numeral 1 and told her they thought she would win.
"That kind of spooked me," said Dalrymple. "I didn't know what to expect because I didn't know who'd be here."
One of the notable participants was Gail Barron of Atlanta, the top woman finisher in the most recent Boston Marathon. She dropped out after one loop around East Potomac Park, a victim of fatigue.
"I've run five marathons in seven months, and I just didn't have it today," said Barron. "I figured I'd rather drop out than run a bad time."
"I don't think I've ever raced so hard," said Dalrymple. "In Hawaii, I never had any competition, I've won every race of more than a mile that I've ever run in Hawaii.
"Marge went into the lead early and I kind of stayed with her. I didn't want her to get away and I was wondering what she was going to do. After about 3 1/2 miles she did drop back, but she wasn't far behind, about 10 yards.I really had to push to finish."
"It's exciting to see so many women running," said Dalrymple about the 1400 participants. "We used to be strange.
"I had a track scholarship to the University of Hawaii back in the days when women just didn't get athletic scholarships.
"I went to the tryouts for the '64 Olympic team and did poorly. I got discouraged and I quit. It was always my thing, and I quit. And I regretted it from the day I quit."
After a 10-year layoff, during which she had two children, Dalrymple came back.
"Around 1972 people started to run again," said Dalrymple. "The kids were little. I was married. I wasn't working. I wasn't doing anything. I was kind of bored.
"I started running again in '74 and it's kind of exciting. I really like it. I'm having fun."
Washington's RunHers Unlimited, the race's organizer, won the team championship and several individual honors.
The Potomac Valley AAU granted a sanciton to the event Friday to protect the amateur standing of AAU members in the race, according to the PVAAU.
An over-50, spokesman from Bonne Bell said yesterday that all women over 50 who participated would be awarded some sort of prize.
"This race is really for them," he said, "for them to feel like an athlete and hear cheers, maybe for the first time."