After 10 years of begging, borrowing and sometimes stealing space from other small sports to post results, report a story or preview an event, this paper has finally seen fit to provide room for a few words about running.
Considering that Washington hosts one of the world's largest marathons -- this year, 30,000 are registered for the 30th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30 -- and America's largest 10-miler -- 20,000 are registered for the Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 2 -- a dedicated home for all things running seems highly appropriate. But even as thousands of serious runners head into the fall racing season, uncounted are fitness runners, joggers and walkers who participate only occasionally in events such as the Komen National Race for the Cure, in which nearly 50,000 participants toed the line on Pennsylvania Avenue last June.
The Extra Mile intends to provide a forum for the sport of running, with a net cast as wide as space and interest permits. The Washington area is home to deep open and age-group competition, which will be a primary focus; the nuts (there are plenty) and bolts of running will also be covered; and health and fitness, considerations of everyone who exercises will be a regular feature.
So with a nod to the past for deceased Washington Post colleague John Mullen and his often lyrical Outside Line, which formerly occupied this space, we move ahead, as we must.
* Chris Browne, business director of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, has filed a permit with the Metropolitan Police Department for a new D.C. marathon to be held on March 25. According to the police, negotiations and revisions of the proposed route are ongoing with more meetings scheduled for the first week of October among promoters, city representatives, the police and the National Park Service. Officials are understandably wary of new suitors given the city's experience in 2002, when the D.C. Marathon folded days before its second running and the race director absconded with tens of thousands of dollars in entry fees. Browne declined to respond to phone and e-mail inquires.
"In view of the experience of the last marathon, the city should be in no rush to get this one on the calendar," said Phil Stewart, race director of the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, which would take place eight days after the marathon, on April 2. "I would hope and expect that all elements of this race are evaluated very carefully."
* I'll be hosting an online chat at noon on Tuesday at www.washingtonpost.com; feel free to submit questions and comments on the local and national running scenes, training and injuries.
-- Jim Hage