David and Mary Branch made their trip from Greenville, S.C., to Washington to run in the Foot Locker Partners race a worthwhile one.
He won the men's division, she was second among women, and as a husband-wife team, they earned a trip to the Foot Locker National Championship in Los Angeles in November.
David Branch, 29, outran more than 1,500 starters, covering the eight-kilometer (4.97 miles) West Potomac Park course in 23 minutes 41 seconds. Mary Branch, 25, ran 28:13, 37 seconds behind Marla Daniel, 25, of Roxboro, N.C.
Linda Niedermeier of Cheektowaga, N.Y., was third in 28:27. Niedermeier, a former Woodbridge resident, teamed with husband Kari in 1983 to win the husband-wife division. Kari was 11th yesterday.
Although Mary Branch trailed Daniel the entire way, David Branch waited till the last quarter mile to sprint away from John Rogers (23:48). Rogers, 27, from Raleigh, N.C., flew with Daniel using tickets she had won in another race.
"It just happened to fall on a weekend that we were visiting here," said Rogers, who has run against Branch many times.
Rogers and Branch led through the first mile in 4:41. At two miles, Bill McCormack of Arnold, Md., and Jim Hage of Rockville joined them. McCormack caught Hage in the final mile and finished third in 24:08. Hage was fourth.