Prerace apprehension and a recent bout with the flu did not prevent Georgetown University's Pia Palladino from winning her third consecutive Moving Comfort Women's 10-kilometer race yesterday at East Potomac Park.
The 20-year-old weathered a semithreat from Sue Crowe in setting a course record. She crossed the tape in 34 minutes 40 seconds to break Mary Shea's record of 34:59. A total of 562 runners competed.
"I was apprehensive at the beginning of the race. It was a good field and my coach told me I would have to be ready," said Palladino.
Crowe, formerly of Penn State, made a five-hour trip from State College, Pa., Friday in the hope Palladino would compete. She opened the race with a brisk 5:08 first mile.
"I started out well and was right there until the four- or five-mile mark. I felt okay, but I couldn't stay with her," Crowe said.
Crowe, Eleanor Simonsick and Marge Rosasco stayed with Palladino through the first half of the race. After the five-kilometer mark it became just Crowe and Palladino.
With a mile and a half to go Palladino pulled ahead and coasted in 13 seconds ahead of Crowe, who finished in 34:53. Simonsick and Rosasco took third and fourth in 34:55 and 35:51.
"I was beginning to wonder how long Sue was going to stay with me," said Palladino, the Italian women's 10-mile champion, "and she did for a while. But I just kept thinking about holding the lead."
Palladino said her fitness was never in doubt after her recovery from flu that was "going around campus. I worked hard over the summer, and developed a pretty good 'base' (stamina). I felt strong today."
Palladino's victory helped Georgetown capture the team title with 82 points. The rest of the Hoya team included Marya Small, Lisa Brown, Barbara Grein and Chris Shea.
Individual age group winners were Palladino (20-29) and Small (19 and under), Rosasco (30-39), Trudy Rapp (40-49) and Rachel Bourn (50 and over).