Bill Rodgers, winner last year in a course-record 48 minutes, heads a field of 4,000 runners set to start off at 8:30 a.m. in the Perrier Cherry Blossom Classic 10-mile race Sunday, March 30 at West Potomac Park.

Rodgers, three-time Boston Marathon winner and holder of course records there and in the New York City Marathon, will be challenged by John Flora of Northeastern University, runner-up in the Cherry Blossom last year; Bobby Hodge of Boston, third in last April's Boston 26-mile, 385-yarder, and past Cherry Blossom champion Dan Rincon of Wheaton.

A total of 12,000 applications was received and most of the 4,000 were chosen by lottery, with some top runnersexempt.

Jennifer White of Alexandria, women's winner in 1978, heads a field of 685 female runners, notably including Anne Sullivan of Brown University, Marge Rosasco of Baltimore and Pia Palladino of Georgetown University.

Other prominent entrants are Herb Lorenz of New Jersey, winner of the masters (over-40) division of last year's Boston Marathon, and 73-year-old Ray Sears of Shelbyville, Ind., world-record holder at several distances.

From the West Potomac Park starting point, the race goes around Hains Point and by the Tidal Basin and returns to the park. The public is invited, free.