Looking fresher than the masses of chilled spectators lining the streets, 26-year-old Jeff Bradley of Manheim, Pa., breezed fluidly past the finish line to capture the sixth annual Maryland Marathon today in a time of 2:19.36.
"I feel great... no problem," said Bradley, smiling and raising his arms. He finished three minutes ahead of second-place finisher Ron Hill, 40, a sentimental favorite from England.
Bradley pulled ahead in the race on Satyr Hill, an incline of 380 feet laden with bumps and potholes. While this stretch of the run seven miles from the finish usually is the equalizer in the race, Bradley was looking forward to it.
"I like running on hills," he said. "I've been training 100 miles a week and a lot of that is on hills. It was still strange that I took off there after hearing so much about Satyr Hill from the rest of the runners. I actually felt very good at the top of it."
Bradley's strategy on the hill was to "put my head down and not look at the top... that's what Ron Hill told me to do," he said.
Hill, who won the race in 1974 and was second in a spectacular finish in 1975 said, "Bradley could have run up three hills. It's getting harder every year. I look around and see these young guys go bounding by. But mainly the cold weather hurt my time. My arms felt so heavy."
While describing the course as a difficult one, Bradley said the slow conditions were good for him. "I could just breeze along with the leader and take off when I felt like it." he said.
For the first eight miles Bradley was part of the pack but soon he and William Haviland pulled away.
As Bradley and Haviland ran shoulder to shoulder up to Satyr Hill, it was clear Bradley seemed stronger. At the top of the hill the race was all but over. Haviland eventually finished 13th.
The top female finisher was Kathy Smith Heckman, 23, of Woodbine, Md., in 2:55.35.
With a glut of last-minute entries, 2,267 runners, inflated 60 yards deep, started the race at the lineup on 33rd Street outside Memorial Stadium.