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Dryer's Downright Buggy With Illness, Injury

By Rick Wright
Journal Staff Writer
    RUNNING/ OLYMPIC SPORTS: First came the bug, then the bee. You know, the old bugabee.
    As a consequence, Albuquerque distance runner Elva Dryer's 2005 season didn't include a trip to Helsinki for the World Track & Field Championships. Nor, in all likelihood, will the two-time Olympian make her planned marathon debut this fall.
    First, the bug: At the U.S. nationals in June, Dryer developed stomach problems the day of her 10,000-meter final in Carson, Calif.
    "I don't know if it was some kind of food poisoning or just a stomach bug," says Russ Dryer, Elva's husband and coach. "But she got sick and had a tough time performing."
    Dryer, a favorite to place in the top three at nationals and qualify for Helsinki, finished a gutsy fifth. It was the first time since 1997 that she failed to make the U.S. team for World Championships.
    Still, the Dryers left California accentuating the positive. Not making World Championships would give Elva more time to train for a fall marathon, a long-anticipated goal for this year.
    Then, the bee.
    While training on a trail in Colorado, Dryer felt a sudden, sharp pain. A bee had lodged on her shoe and stung her between the laces.
    In her surprise, "she kind of stumbled and sprained her ankle on a rocky area," Russ Dryer says. "(The sprain) never seemed to get better, and we backed off on her training."
    And that marathon, whether in Chicago or New York?
    "Right now," he said, "it looks like we won't get there."
    Russ Dryer said it's too soon to tell what the rest of his wife's 2005 season will look like— other than, they hope, no more bugs or bees.
    But, he said, "I'd like to see her do some 15Ks, 20Ks or half-marathons, just to get her feet wet on the longer stuff a little bit before she does the marathon."
    WORLD MASTERS: International competition is nothing new for Albuquerque's Trish Porter. After some 16 years, it just seems that way.
    "The whole thing is kind of blowing me away," says Porter, who left Saturday to compete in the women's age 40-44 high jump at the World Masters Track and Field Championships in San Sebastian, Spain.
    In 1988, Porter— then Trish King— jumped for the U.S. at the Seoul Olympics. She competed internationally into 1989 but eventually was forced into retirement by a neck injury.
    Porter returned to competition as a masters athlete three years ago. She twice has set age-group world records, most recently in June 2004 with a clearance of 5 feet, 91/4 inches.
    A world championship would be nice, too.
    "I'm a little nervous," she says, "because in some ways this is all new to me.
    "I think I have a second life here; God has given me a second chance to do something I love. I'm very excited about that."
    Porter will compete Thursday. Other New Mexicans who qualified for Masters World Championships include:
    Ronald Kirkpatrick, Los Alamos, men's 65-69 300-meter hurdles; Jamie Koch, Santa Fe, men's 70-74 shot put; Ryszard Nawrocki, Rio Rancho, men's 75-79 20K and 5K race walks; Michael Pannell, Los Alamos, men's 50-54 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles; and Stacey Price, Albuquerque, men's 50-54 100-meter hurdles.
    NEW MEXICO MARATHON: Race organizer Charlie Otero reports only a handful of local runners have signed up for his Sept. 4 marathon, half-marathon and 5K.
    But that's OK. Otero's got entries from 32 states and four foreign countries and is assured a record turnout for his seventh annual New Mexico Marathon.
    "I don't remember exactly," Otero says, "but I think we started with 120 or 150 that first year (1999). Right now, we're at about 300.
    "Eventually, we'll probably cap it at 500. We want the runners to be people, not just numbers."
    The good thing about the high number of out-of-state entrants, Otero says, is that they're tourists as well as runners.
    "They'll be spending money here, because if you come here you'll want to go to the Tram, hang around Old Town, (etc.)," he says.
    Otero, of course, would like to have more local runners. "Usually, you get a lot of the locals at late registration," he says.
    For information, go to www.newmexicomarathon.org or call 345-4274.
RESULTS: Albuquerque's Mbarak Hussein finished eighth overall and first among masters runners at the SBLI Falmouth Road Race Aug. 14. Hussein ran the 7-miler in 33:22 and took home $9,100.
    Albuquerque's Amy Begley was 13th in the women's division in 39:21 and won $1,300.
    ... Former Gallup High School star Brandon Leslie finished sixth in the Aug. 14 America's Finest City Half-Marathon in San Diego. Leslie ran 1:05:49.