Max White turned National Jogging Day into his own special workout yesterday morning, breaking away from two Naval Academy challengers near the halfway point and breezing to victory in the first Washington Minithon.
The 27-year-old White, his sights set intently on winning next month's Marine Corps Marathon here, covered the course - reported to the 13.1 miles but debated as shorter by several runners - in 1 hour 4 minutes 38 seconds, 47 seconds ahead of Navy's Charles Hautau. The Academy's Joseph Suggs was third in 1:05:40.
A bit perplexed by his first splits, White took matters into his own hands around five miles, near Haina Point.
"At the three-mile mark, our time was 15:14, and I thought as long as I was averaging 5:05 a mile, I wasn't going to go out and kill myself," said White, who kept pace with Hautau and Suggs comfortably ahead of the field of approximately 1,500 runners.
"At five miles we are averaging 5:15, and that's slower than I wanted," added the Episcopal High School math teacher, who by then had only to contend with Hautau. "I said now's the time to move. He (Hautau) was breathing harder, and I started pulling away."
White, the unoffical American record holder for 50 miles, said he has been right on schedule in training for the Marine marathon, in which he has placed seventh and third in the past two years. Since pulling a hamstring in the Cherry Blossom Classic last spring, he has not missed a day - there have been 194, he says - of training.
"It was nice to have a low-pressure race before the Marines. That race will be intense," said White. "This was low-key and enjoyable, and the course was nice."
Disagreeing slightly with White on the latter was Pittsburgh's Donna Anderson, a Lehigh University sophomore who won the women's category in 1:18:40.
"I don't like flat courses that much," said Anderson, 19, who finished over four minutes ahead of McLean's Carole Herrick. "Hills are better for me. When you're running down hills you get to rest a little. You don't have to keep pushing all the time."
Many competitors, including White, said certain miles along the course, which trailed past the Capitol, around Hains Point, across the Potomac River and around the Lincoln Memorial before returning to the Washington Monument, elapsed too quickly for the distance to be true half-marathon. Claims were that it was anywhere from a quarter-mile to over a half-mile short.
"I think a lot of runners had good times because it was a cool day, there was no sun, and the course was totally flat," said Bill Palmer, general manager of the National Jogging Association, which cosponsored the meet with Washington magazine. Palmer said the course was measured with a bicycle counter, usually used for long-distance events.
"If there's an error, we'll check it out, but I don't think there was," Palmer added. He and other NJA officials said all entrants will be notified by mail should a second measurement change the official distance.
9 a.m. Nov. 5 at the Marine Corps Memorial.
A mini-marathon of 3,000 meters, sponsored by the Marine Corps and Special Olympics, will be held for 100 to 200 handicapped youngsters from the metropolitan area.
More information can be obtained by contacing the Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets SK.