ZOOMA Annapolis Recap
On June 5, 2011, over 3,500 runners gathered at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium of the United States Naval Academy for the third annual ZOOMA Annapolis 1.5 miler, 10k and half-marathon. The skies were totally overcast and the temperature was in the mid-60’s: perfect weather for a race (and especially perfect when compared to last year, when temps soared into the 90’s).
Plenty of racers took advantage of the gift from the weather gods to run blazing fast times. Mellanie Nai and Bridget Holt took 40:04 and 40:18 to finish the 10k course, respectively. “The race course is great, and today’s weather made it even better,” said Holt, who also placed second in the 2010 ZOOMA Annapolis. “It’s a good tough course,” said Marsha Demaree, who placed first in her 45-49 age group with an impressive 49:13 finish. Katie Ogden, a high school cross country runner who won the 15-19 age group, agreed. “I was excited to see the 10k turn-around,” she said with a laugh, noting that she didn’t have to descend—and then reclimb—the challenging Naval Academy bridge, which the half-marathoners did. Instead, she just climbed it once, hit the half-way point and headed (downhill) towards home.
Leg-burning bridge or not, many women are turning ZOOMA Annapolis into an annual tradition. Many runners noted they use this early summer race as a way to springboard them into their summer racing schedule. Others, like Jen Thomas and Kim Berry, have been here two years in a row. The sisters do the 10k with their mother and daughter; while awaiting the granddaughter/grandmother pair at the finish line, the two talked about how it’s the special vibe of ZOOMA that continues to draw them back. “ It’s just a great atmosphere,” said Berry, “It’s hard to beat.”
Still more use ZOOMA as an excuse to hang out with their girlfriends. A group of 24 women from York, Pennsylvania, made the journey to Annapolis when a handful of former ZOOMA-ites convinced them the race was worth the time and effort. “Some of us are walking, some are running, some are doing the 10k, some the half-marathon,” said Jill Baker, who did the 10k for the first time, “But we’re all here for fun, friendship and exercise.” And ZOOMA, of course, is always a reason to celebrate, especially when it’s your birthday. Kerry Mueller turned 41 on race day, and her friends made her a special birthday cake number for the back of her jersey. “We just had a really fun day today,” said Mueller.
Despite a little drizzle on the post-race expo, the Doug Segree Band kept the mood vibrant as racers shopped and laughed and relived their races. When the gun goes off at the 2012 ZOOMA race, chances are, this year’s race memories will come flooding back to the many repeat customers—and many more new memories will be made.