Run for Roses: Open-and-shut case for Barry
June 26, 2002
Laurie Los
Staff Writer

She's an attorney. She's a wife. She's a mother. Now, Kristin Barry is the 2002 Run for Roses 5K for Women champion.

After a lightning-fast start, Barry, 28, a resident of Arlington, Va., maintained a consistent pace on the Wheaton Regional Park course Saturday morning to beat a field of 333 runners in a time of 17:34, well ahead of runner-up Marjan Huizing (17:56) of Gaithersburg.

"It was a little unusual because I'm not used to leading from start to finish," Barry said. "I was uncertain about where to go but the guy on the [lead] bike would say, 'OK, we're going to turn here.' In short races like this one, you have to try to run as hard as you can and try not to die. That's exactly what I did today."

Said Huizing: "It was a hard race because I'm not used to this short of a distance. [Barry] jumped ahead in the first 100 meters and kept going. Coming down the hill, I got a little closer and I think she sensed it so she put it in the next gear. At that point, I was more concerned with staying ahead of the No. 3 runner than catching Kristin."

A start-to-finish lead may be something new to Barry, but she is no novice to running competitively. As early as high school, Barry, who is originally from Maine, fell in love with track and field. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, her passion for the sport soared as she became one of the top Ivy League athletes in cross country and track and field. She stayed active in running while studying law at Georgetown University.

Not too long after receiving her law degree, Barry's life grew too crowded for running. Instead of running 75-80 miles per week for training like she once did, Barry's time was taken up by new aspects of her life -- a job as an attorney at Collier Shannon in Washington, D.C., and her marriage to her husband, Brian.

With the birth of the couple's only child, Gwyneth, 14 months ago, Barry took a break from her running career but now that Gwyneth is a toddler, Barry has returned to her favorite sport.

"My time was not great here but it was good for the shape I'm in," said Barry, who placed second at the D.C. Marathon earlier this year. "Taking time off hurt, but now I'm getting back into it."

Despite so much going on in both her personal and professional lives, Barry, still manages to find time to run, even if it means getting up before the crack of dawn. Winning Saturday morning (race time was 8 a.m.) not only testified to a triumphant return to running, it also provided good preparation for Barry's upcoming competitions, like the Beach to the Beacon race (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) she's getting ready for on Aug. 3.

Saturday's win also was worth a measure of pride among her peers in the female running community. Run for Roses, which is the first Women's Grand Prix Series event this year in the Maryland Road Runner's Club of America schedule, prides itself on being a celebration of women's running and one of only a few all-female races around. It is a part of the nationwide Women's Distance Festival, which was established in 1979 in response to the lack of women's distance running events in the Olympics. Even though there are more events in the Olympics for women now, the festival continues to promote female athletes.

"[Run for Roses] is an event where people come and enjoy themselves," said race director Nancy Betress. "It's a great way to get women involved in the sport, and for many, it's their first experience racing. We gave it its name because when you cross the finish line, you get a rose. It's a nice female thing. When you finish, you're treated like a queen."


Notes: Gretchen Triantos of Rockville took first in the masters division at age 45 and fourth overall in 18:55.