Just past the midpoint of the Foot Locker Partners race, Kare Cossaboon Holm already knew she and her husband would claim the grand prize -- a one-week trip to Jamaica. All she needed to do was maintain contact with Laura DeWald Albers.
"It took the pressure off me," Kare Holm, 28, said after her husband, Craig, made the turnaround tied for the lead. He passed by Kare with a mile remaining, more than a minute ahead of Albers' husband, Will.
The Holms, from Victor, N.Y., both placed second individually, but on composite time, they were the first married couple to complete the eight-kilometer (4.96 miles) race through West Potomac Park yesterday.
The Holms, spokespersons in last year's inaugural run and competitors in the 1984 U.S. Olympic trials, registered a combined time of 50:56, 1:42 faster than the Alberses. Annemarie and Thierry Jutel were third in 55:22.
The anticipated contest between the Holms and the Alberses was never close. As expected, Craig Holm, 30, forced a fast first mile in 4:32 and with Jon Sinclair of Fort Collins, Colo., by his side, he stretched out a 40-yard lead over the pack, and 60 yards in front of Will Albers.
Sinclair, a 10th-place finisher in the 5,000-meter Olympic trials the past summer, extended the pace with a 4:38 second mile, but he couldn't shake Craig Holm. However, Sinclair was the individual winner in 23:11.
Sinclair, 27, who had taken third in the prestigious Lynchburg 10-Miler on Saturday, broke away at the turnaround with slightly more than a mile left. As the leaders cruised down one side of the road while passing the oncoming runners strolling up the other side, Craig spotted his wife shadowing Laura Albers. Since Sinclair and his wife, Wendy, who is not a competitive runner, were not in contention for the couples' title, Holm became more concerned about Albers' position behind him, although Will was as far back as 30th.
Sinclair, a track specialist, easily outsprinted Craig Holm, an established marathoner, by six seconds.
Laura Albers and Kare Holm stayed close until Albers outkicked Holm in the last half-mile to win the women's title by 16 seconds in 27:23. Holm was second.
This race, which drew upward of 2,000 runners, and a similar one in Los Angeles were instituted in 1983. They will evolve next year into a national series, with Washington the location for the Eastern championships.