Marianne Dickerson of Arlington came here to run a marathon and enjoy herself. In the process, she finished 13th among women in today's 16th New York City Marathon.

Dickerson, who finished second in the 1983 World Championships to today's winner, Grete Waitz, ran a time of 2 hours 41 minutes 28 seconds. She had the highest-placed finish among Washington-area runners.

"I just ran really smart and slow," said Dickerson, who moved from Ann Arbor, Mich., eight weeks ago. "At about 20 miles, I was picking people off. I didn't feel bad at all. I just slowed down a little bit when I hit the wind at about 16-17 (miles)."

Plagued by back problems that kept her from running for almost a year, she hopes to return to the shape she was in when she shocked the marathon world with a 2:33:45 to make the U.S. World Cup team in her second marathon. She is ranked as the fifth-fastest American woman in the marathon with a 2:31:09 best.

She said she hasn't trained much because of her move to Arlington and her new full-time job as an engineer at Systems Planning Corporation in Rosslyn.

"I haven't trained or raced very much recently," said Dickerson, 24, who came here to run with a friend. "Actually, we didn't run together but we finished together. He was ahead of me but ran into some trouble and finished about the same time I did."

Richard Ferguson, 27, of Charlottesville, who placed 94th overall in a field of 16,705 starters, was the first area runner to finish. His time of 2:31:27 was 12:57 off his best marathon time.

Unlike last year, when the humidity hit 96 percent and sent hundreds of runners to hospitals and medical aid stations, the humidity was low today and didn't greatly affect many of the runners. However, a majority of the area runners did not run personal bests.

John Sullivan, 25, of Alexandria, ended in 2:39:23, 4:37 off his best performance. He took 164th place. John McAuliffe, 27, of Reisterstown, Md., finished 171st with a time of 2:39:38, 7:27 slower than his personal record.

Entrants included 446 runners from the District, Maryland and Virginia.