|Deer stands statue-like at the corner of Woodstock and Linden, eying my approach at 5:15am before she bolts across the street and into the woods. Another deer guards the Beltway bridge a mile later. Cottontail rabbit flees from beside Rock Creek Trail. Tiny bunny darts away near the ballfields. Close to Connecticut Av a speckled fawn stands dithering at the roadside, panics, and runs back into the brush by Rock Creek.|
At 6:20am in the Ken-Gar parking lot Cara Marie Manlandro is preparing to lead her pace group for the MCRRC First Time Marathoner program. I divert from Rock Creek Trail to visit with her for a minute, then continue. She's in front of her pack heading upstream when we meet again.
"Runner up!" the manager of another MCRRC training group shouts. I look around in mock puzzlement. "What runner?" I ask, to their amusement. The fancy new trail bridge makes crossing Veirs Mill Rd a pleasure.
At mile 21.5 legs lose energy; much walking ensues. Nevertheless today brings a new course record for the Mad Dog Zimmarathon: 5 hours 10 minutes, almost half an hour faster than the last occurrence in 2007, thanks in no small measure to cool Saturday morning weather.