My First Marathon: Maryland 1980

During my senior year in college, I decided to run the Maryland Marathon. That was me at about mile 18 or so; note the cotton shorts, cotton shirt and the New Balance 730s. Those were state of the art shoes back then.

Though I had several 50 mile weeks, I did no run over 15 miles. So the marathon was a bit of a rude shock. I hit mile 10 in 1:15, half way in 1:37 and slowed to 2:38 at mile 20. The finish: 3:33. Boy, was that last 10K a death march! It wasn’t just for me though; I managed to keep something like a shuffle (and flipped off a kid who said “here is a fat one”) and people were walking at this point; not everyone of course.

My buddies (who went to the race with me) ran 2:38 and 2:59. I ran 3:33 for 1054 out of 2229 men; the median time for the men was 3:36. There were 201 female finishers; two friends of mine finished in 3:30. The median female finisher was 4:05.

How do I know this? I still have the program!

I know that some racewalker finished in the 4:30-4:40 range; I remember asking “is that good?”

I knew that Olympic walkers walked at about 7 minutes per mile (3:05 pace) and didn’t know what a “good but not elite” walker would do.

Anyway, let those times sink in. Things have certainly changed, haven’t they?

November 21, 2012 - Posted by | marathons, Navel Staring, racewalking, running


  1. Nice job by the racewalker to do 4:30. Sorry about your last 10K though…know how that feels!

    Comment by Tammy | November 21, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] Note: I’ve seen the effects of “generation me” in the running community. For one, many races give “finishers” medals for absurdly short distances (finishers medal for a 5K??? Really? A medal for a half marathon is bad enough….so are we to give ourselves medals for finishing a training run?) You also see increasingly slow times, and not just from the creaking old farts like me. Check out this 1980 marathon: […]

    Pingback by Me Generation and Me… « blueollie | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  3. […] I talked about my first marathon (3:33, Maryland, December 1980). […]

    Pingback by My Second Marathon (San Antonio 1981) « blueollie | May 11, 2013 | Reply

  4. […] 1980: 1:38/1:55 for 3:33 + 17 1981: 1:40/2:08 for 3:48 + 28 1983: ???????? for 4:24 1998: 1:50/2:05 for 3:55 + 15 1998: 1:46/2:00 for 3:46 + 14 1999: 1:40/2:05 for 3:45 + 25 2000: 1:50/2:38 for 4:28 + 48 2000: 1:46/1:52 for 3:38 + 6 2001: 1:47/1:53 for 3:40 + 6 2002: 1:50/2:07 for 3:57 + 17 2002: 1:59/2:05 for 4:04 + 6 […]

    Pingback by This weekend: anxious, nervous, excited…Peoria’s First Marathon « blueollie | May 17, 2013 | Reply

  5. This same marathon (Maryland, 1980) was my first and only marathon. I ran 2:48, and also remember how much I didn’t like the last 6 miles. My buddy (who finished just under 2:59) ended up dehydrated and in the hospital in downtown Baltimore… and, not oddly, I ended up with mono a few weeks later (hanging around a hospital after a marathon is a bad idea!). Thanks for the post … that was a long time ago! I do remember it starting at the old Memorial stadium and finishing inside a convention center of some sort … both long since gone.

    Comment by Brad | June 11, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for the reply. I remember passing Memorial Stadium for the second time (about mile 20?) and some runners remarking that it felt that we should be done. The year before, Satyr Hill came at mile 18 and the finish was at Memorial Stadium.

      Note that my friend who ran 2:38 was sick for about a month afterward; I forgot exactly what he got.

      Comment by blueollie | June 11, 2013 | Reply

      • By the way, Ollie, I believe we were classmates (’81, 11th co., subs). I enjoy your writings. Also — remember the 100 mile relay in spring 1978 inside Halsey Field House? Not sure if you ran that. 99 out of 100 broke 5 minutes for an 8 lap to the mile run by yourself in between classes (slowest was just over 5 min). That’s a pretty fast group of 100 college kids in one small college!

        Comment by Brad | September 25, 2013

  6. Brad, I remember the relay but I was too slow (PR was 5:30) to participate. 🙂

    Comment by blueollie | September 25, 2013 | Reply

  7. […] But…well, that December I ran the Maryland Marathon in 3:33 (1054 out of 2229 males; the median male time was 3:36) […]

    Pingback by Running: beginners; my beginning and how things have changed. « blueollie | May 27, 2015 | Reply

  8. […] 4. There are a LOT more women entering races. Sure, some of the good is the “hubba hubba” effect (since I’ve slowed down, I see a LOT more larger spandex wrapped asses in running races) but, even if they wore skorts or the dreaded “long shirts”, I still like women being there. They add to the event. My first marathon had 2229 male and 201 female finishers. Note: the median male time was 3:36; median f…. […]

    Pingback by Why I won’t miss “The Penguin” (running) « blueollie | June 3, 2015 | Reply

  9. […] was a time when marathons attracted the more fit (and younger, and more male); I remember my first one: 2229 men with a median finish time of 3:36; 201 women with a median of […]

    Pingback by What is a “marathoner” anyway? « blueollie | November 3, 2015 | Reply

  10. […] the way, I wore those old red and grey NB 730 for that race. My time was a pedestrian 3:33 but my sub 3 hour marathon friends had to wait for me since I drove us to the […]

    Pingback by Peoria Chocolate Turkey 3 mile run: I stink. Literally. « blueollie | November 26, 2015 | Reply

  11. […] I still have the finish book for the Maryland. […]

    Pingback by I miss the way marathon running used to be because… « blueollie | October 8, 2018 | Reply

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