Tom Kelly of Annapolis reigned when it poured yesterday to win the third annual Home Town Run at Western Plaza.

The 30-year-old Naval Academy activities officer outran 1,410 competitors with a time of 47:26 for the 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).

Tim Minor (47:48) of Rockville, Will Albers (48:39) of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Robert Hirst (48:54) of Washington followed.

Mary Ellen Williams of Darnestown handily defended her title by winning the women's race in 57:09 while breaking by two seconds her course record set last year. Kathy Hibbert (58:22) of Rockville and Ruth Joyner (60:03) of Burke, Va., placed second and third, respectively.

Kelly, who was third last year, set a fast pace early, passing through the first mile in 4:48 and holding a five-yard lead over Minor and a 15-yard lead on the pack. His lead grew to 75 yards as he passed Howard University at the four-mile mark.

Meanwhile, Minor, 25, was holding a 75-yard margin over Hirst, Don Davis of Woodbridge, Va., and Albers. At six miles, Hirst and Albers pulled away from Davis, and ran side by side in third place. Davis finished sixth in 49:16.

Between the fifth and sixth miles, Minor began to cut into Kelly's lead. As Kelly rounded the corner of Florida Avenue and 7th Street NE and passed the 10-kilometer split in 31:21, Minor was just 50 yards back.

"I was gaining on him for awhile," said Minor, who moved here from California last spring. "But at seven miles, I counted the seconds between us and I knew I couldn't get him.

"For a couple of moments, I thought there was a possibility that I could beat him, but I was a little intimidated. I had seen him run in a few races in March and he had beaten me by a big margin."

By now, the outcome of the women's race was already decided. Williams held a decisive lead over Hibbert with only the clock to beat.

"This is an emotional race for me," said Williams, a 37-year-old veteran distance runner who is training for the women's Olympic marathon team. "Last year, my mother was very sick and I won the race for her. She died in February and I wanted to win this race for her again."

Back in the men's race, Kelly widened the gap again by 75 yards as he turned onto Independence Avenue and headed for the Capitol Building and the eight-mile point. More than 100 yards behind Minor, Hirst and Albers were still vying for third place. But Albers passed Hirst in front of the Capitol Building.

At that time, Kelly was making his way along Pennsylvania Avenue, one mile away from victory; his lead was clear as he left the Capitol Building fading in fog.

"My calf started cramping as I went past the Capitol," remarked Kelly.

"The cramping just came on. If it had been at the seven-mile mark, I would have dropped out."

As Kelly broke the tape, Albers pulled away from Hirst for good.