Susan McCarty had planned to attend the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday, supporting her husband, Paul, as he ran the race for the second time.
But instead of watching as a spectator, McCarty participated as a runner as a way to honor her husband, who was killed in an automobile accident at age 35. Paul McCarty died Aug. 9, nine days before the couple's one-year wedding anniversary and two months after their son, Finn, was born.
McCarty, who lives in South Riding, came up with the idea to run the race in honor of her husband less than two weeks ago. She knew, however, that she couldn't run the entire 26.2 miles on her own. With the permission of the Marine Corps Marathon, she organized a relay team to run under Paul's bib number. The response was so great that Paul's two friends who had planned to run with him allowed their bibs to be used as well.
McCarty divided the 39 members of the Paul McCarty Memorial Relay team into groups of three and stationed each group approximately two miles apart. As one group met the next group the runners exchanged bib numbers.
"It was all family and friends," McCarty said. "We were lucky enough to be blessed with so many family and friends from high school, college and work."
McCarty, Paul's brother, Kevin, and his mother, Maggie, ran the final 2.2 miles. Just before she crossed the finish line, McCarty picked up her son and carried him across with her.
"It was emotional," she said. "It was tough. It was exhilarating and sad and exciting."
For once, Sandra Khannouchi of Ossining, N.Y., has bragging rights in her house. Khannouchi, 40, and the wife of world marathon record holder Khalid Khannouchi, was the top female finisher in the inaugural 5K race. She finished in 21 minutes 10 seconds -- nearly a minute ahead of her husband, who set the world marathon record of 2 hours 5 minutes 38 seconds at the London Marathon in April.
"Who's the world record holder?" Sandra Khannouchi said mockingly to her husband. "I set the course record." The Khannouchis were in town on behalf of one of Khalid's sponsors.
Kevin Arlyck, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y., won the race in 17:16. Arlyck, who ran the race as something to do while he waited for his friend to finish the marathon, was the victim of mistaken identity near the finish line. As he approached, several spectators shouted, "Go Khalid."
"At that point I wasn't going to stop and correct them," he said.
British Take Cup
Mark Croasdale wasn't nearly up to the form that helped him win the Marine Corps Marathon in 1999, but a fourth-place finish yesterday by the 37-year-old Royal Marines corporal was still good enough to help the British to their fifth straight Challenge Cup win. The Cup is an annual competition between the U.S. Marine Corps and the British Royal Navy/Royal Marines, decided by the combined times of the top three finishers from each. The U.S. Marines have won the cup only twice in the past 13 years.
"I knew I was in good enough shape to run 2:25 or 2:30, something around there," Croasdale said. "I knew I would get 'round in a reasonable time."
He finished in 2:30:46, significantly slower than the time of 2:23:27 he posted in 1999. Aaron Nichols, Alex Hetherington and Blake Benke were the top three finishers for the U.S. Marine Corps, finishing 15th, 16th and 17th, respectively.
Holly Koester, racing in her third marathon in five weeks, won the wheelchair division in 3:06:32. Koester, a 42-year-old Cleveland resident, competed in her 24th marathon overall and fifth Marine Corps.
"Last year I crashed," she said. "I was determined to finish. It's an accomplishment."
Koester was not the first competitor on wheels to cross the finish line. For the first time, the Marine Corps Marathon allowed hand-crank wheelchairs to race. Their results were not official, however.
Ken Archer, a 53-year-old 10-time winner in the wheelchair division from Springfield, switched to a hand-crank wheelchair two years ago. He finished in 1:41:44.
Quiet Medical Tent
Because the weather was so temperate, Lt. Commander Scott Pyne, officer in charge of Marine Corps medical, said fewer than five people from his tent were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Most of the people he and his staff treated suffered from general exhaustion and cramps.
Around the Course
Lindsey Edler, the 25-year-old Baltimore woman who ran in honor of her father who died running the Marine Corps Marathon two years ago, finished in 5:31:53 . . . Jean Marmoreo, the 60-year-old leader of Jean's Marines, a 100-woman contingent from Canada, was the top female finisher in her age group at 4:16:42. . . . Douglas Scott, a 42-year-old cardiologist who flew in from New Zealand to support his friend's daughter as she ran in her first marathon, came in at 3:22:35. . . . Carlton Mendell, the oldest runner in the marathon at age 81, completed his 150th marathon in 6:26:10. . . . Brian Doyle, a 29-year-old former leukemia patient who was running to support the hospital that saved his life, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, crossed the finish line at 5:17:53.
Staff writer Todd Jacobson contributed to this report.