A quick first step gave Michael Wardian an immediate lead at yesterday's Capitol Hill Classic 10K. After briefly surrendering the lead in the opening moments, a commanding performance put Wardian back in front to stay. Wardian, a 30-year-old from Arlington, led virtually the entire race, recording a resounding victory in 32 minutes 14 seconds, 2:34 ahead of the next finisher.

The win capped a hectic weekend for Wardian, the third American finisher at last month's Boston Marathon. Saturday morning, he won the Germantown 5-Miler; Saturday night, he attended his engagement party, which lasted until the early hours yesterday.

That schedule, combined with yesterday's heavy air and oppressive heat, left Wardian well off his goal of 31:00 at the 25th running of the race, which includes forays down residential streets and loops around RFK Stadium and the Capitol.

After distancing himself from a loose pack of four runners in the first half-mile, Wardian took off down East Capitol Street, literally never looking back until he reached the finish line.

"I love to front-run. It wastes a lot of energy, but I'm not very smart sometimes -- I just like to run my own race," said Wardian, who plans to run the Vermont City Marathon next Sunday.

Joel Frushone of Washington held second place for most of the morning, but a wrong turn in the final mile took him out of contention. Former course record holder Jim Hage, 46, of Kensington took advantage of the opening to finish second in 34:48.

The women's race was nearly as lopsided; 29-year-old Christina Wells of Woodbridge won by more than a minute in 36:28. Wells, a recent transplant from Kentucky, finished 25th at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in early April.

Yesterday, Wells, who finished ninth overall, ran the first few kilometers with Jacqueline Concaugh of Alexandria before pulling away.

"A day like today, all you're thinking of is, let's get this over with," she said.

Concaugh placed second in 37:37, two hours after finishing a 12-hour shift at Prince William Hospital.

More than 2,400 people entered the 10K, 3K and kids run, the largest number in the event's history.