Weldon Johnson entered the last quarter-mile of the Rockville Rotary Twilight 8K last night in second place, and his main objective was to be sneaky -- a strategy that proved successful.
Johnson outkicked Kenyan Davis Kamau in the final 30 yards to win in an unofficial time of 24 minutes 24 seconds. Kamau, who had led nearly the entire race, wound up second in 24:26. John Kanyiri, a 17-year-old from Kenya, placed third in 24:34.
Kristy Johnston was the top female finisher, winning in 28:23. Alisa Harvey of Manassas was second in 28:47 and Kimberly Markland of Arlington was third.
Johnson said he did not think he could catch Kamau until about 70 yards remained in the windy course.
"I wanted to keep close [to Kamau] because he was leading the whole time and I was not even close, but I figured if my time looked close to his people might think I was closer than I actually was," Johnson said. "Then with about 70 yards left the crowd started making a lot of noise and I do not think he could hear me behind him, so I started to make a move, snuck up and passed him."
Johnson's surge was so sudden that some runners came up to him immediately after the race and congratulated him on finishing second to Kamau, believing catching the Kenyan to be impossible.
The race featured several top runners, including Johnson, the 1998 Marine Corps Marathon winner, former Georgetown track star Peter Sherry, and Frenchman Phillipe Rolly, who won the St. Patrick's 10K and the National Race for the Cure 5K earlier this year.
Two runners were hospitalized for heat-related reasons. They were expected to be released late last night.