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Marathon season

While you can choose to race 26.2 miles pretty much any month of the year, the traditional times to compete in the Marathon are the fall or spring.

As I'm gearing up for my first Marathon attempt at the Buffalo race in the spring, the world of the fall marathon has caught my attention, particularly with the New York City Marathon at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

I remain particularly interested in the story of Paula Radcliffe -- the defending champion at New York City. Radcliffe is British, which of course means she gets to enjoy all the scrutiny that is the British press including having to face critics after she finished just 23rd at the Beijing Olympics.

But Radcliffe won a 10-mile tune-up race in England yesterday and said that while she was under-prepared for the Olympics (she was dealing with a calf injury) she feels she has put in the miles to defend her title. But she will have competition from Gete Wami, the Ethiopian runner who finished second at the event last year.

Add to the mix the return of Zola Budd -- the runner who was involved with the crash with Mary Decker in the 3,000 meter final at the 1984 Los Angels Olympics -- and it's already an interesting field.

Meanwhile, I was sending out positive vibes to people I knew who were running Marathons or half Marathons on Sunday.

Geoff Nason, a fellow member of The Buffalo News Sports department, ran his first half Marathon in an impressive 1:43.31.

In Washington, D.C. my friend Mark was running the Marine Corps Marathon and finished in 3:57.26.

It gives me hope and inspiration to see people I know not only complete the course but do well. It almost makes me want to go run in the pouring rain today.

Well, almost.

Perhaps I'll wimp out and hit the treadmill instead.

After all, I have seven months to go until the spring Marathon season.

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