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Freeze column: Cornelius joins small group of local marathoners

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
Dr. Myron Goodman of Salisbury was the first Rowan County runner to complete a marathon. Goodman, who still runs and races, completed the 1970 Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 51 minutes and 56 seconds.
Adam Cornelius of Rockwell completed his second marathon recently at Virginia Beach. Cornelius joined a small group of Rowan County’s top marathoners by completing the 26.2 mile course in less than 3 hours for the first time. His exact time was 2:56:18.
I told Adam that he is now included in the top 1-2.5 percent of all marathoners, depending on the race. Adam trained with a goal of 2 hours and 55 minutes, and passed the half-marathon at 1:27:53.
“Early on, I was trying to calculate how I stood on my pace, but finally just gave up and concentrated on running,” He said.
He completed every mile in less than 7 minutes, though the last two were the slowest. Adam’s finish time qualifies him for the Boston Marathon in April 2013. “I had to break 3 hours and 5 minutes to do that, and I felt pretty confident that I could,” he added.
Adam’s mom and dad, along with sister Brittany, made the trip to Virginia Beach. He actually had worked with his father’s construction company in Virginia Beach, making it possible to do a training run on the boardwalk about 10 days before the actual marathon. Adam said “I had struggled with plantar fasciitis during January, but then had a great month of training in February. Race day was a little warmer than I wanted and the wind was an issue at times.” After reflecting on the event, he continued “I wouldn’t change a thing. I ran the best I possibly could. A sub three-hour time sure sounds good.”
Adam plans to concentrate on improving his 5K times by racing shorter distances over the months between now and next year’s Boston Marathon. Boston is the only marathon that requires all participants to qualify by meeting certain age graded criteria.
I spent some time working with Ed Dupree, former sportswriter at the Post and a very accomplished runner himself, to come up with a list of Rowan’s best marathoners over the past 42 years since Dr. Goodman started the trend. We also had input from some of the guys on the list.
Bob Marchinko, a former college runner and current physical education teacher, is Rowan’s fastest marathoner with a time of 2:25:04 set in 2007 at NC’s Outer Banks. He remains the dominant force in male road racing in the area. Mike Walden, a former Catawba College runner and later an employee, is next in line. His best is 2:36, but we are lacking on other details at this point.
Robert Miller, a dairy farmer in southern Rowan, is next at 2:38:24, set at Charlotte in 2006. Fourth is Mike Julian, also set in Charlotte, at 2:40:42. Mike lives in the Mooresville area, after many successful years of racing in Rowan. John Peterson, former South Rowan and Livingstone track star, appears to be next with a Charlotte time of about 2:40. Both Julian and Ed Frye remember Peterson finishing Charlotte in the low 2:40’s. Frye himself had a 2:42:15 in Boston as one of his 80 completed marathons. Bob Baugh, who moved to Rowan from Maryland, is next with a time of 2:45:41, also set in Boston. Baugh and Julian traded the county marathon record several times during the ’80s.
Next is the writer of this column with a best of 2:54:11, set in Montreal on the former Olympic course. Of 24 marathons, it was my only completely sponsored trip. Milton Matheny of Kannapolis, who used to work with my first wife, is just a bit slower at 2:55:35 in Charlotte. Adam Cornelius joins the group with his 2:56:18. Allan Lockyer had a 2:58:56 in Charlotte after moving to Salisbury from Maine. The final qualifier was Jeff Hutchinson, a standout 16 year old high school track star who immediately succeeded in the Charlotte Marathon with a 2:59:09.
All in all, lots of these guys have multiple sub 3 hour marathons, but just doing it once made Adam Cornelius extremely glad. I bet he gets some more.
Several notable teens had top finishes while still in school. Gilbert Sigmon is the youngest marathoner from Rowan after completing the 1977 Greensboro race in 3:37:06 at age 13. 14 year old Eli Fisher had a 3:47:42 in Columbia in 1977. George Hamm at age 15 completed Columbia the same year in 3:34:35.
Within the next couple of weeks, we’ll cover the women. There are a couple of great stories there. If we left someone out today, I’ll be glad to fix it in that column and add them to the list. Just send any certified info to salisburyrowanrunners@ gmail.com

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