Ladd Races to First Marathon Victory Despite Late Entry


Although he did not decide to do the 36th annual Harrisburg Marathon until the day before, Head Coach Lowell Ladd managed to win his first marathon in eleven attempts after previously finishing second (Steamtown 2005) and third (Cape Cod 2000) in his next closest attempts to break the tape.

Ladd raced marathon frequently from 2000-2005, completing ten of them and posting numerous top ten finishes without crossing the line first. Since the birth of his daughter Caelan in June of 2007, he has found time to train often squeezed out by his duties as an online coach combined with the demands of being a stay-at-home father. Races have been few and far between. But in the fall of 2008, Ladd managed to increase his mileage to a peak week of 97 miles, almost half of which were done pushing a baby jogger, and decided to put that fitness to a test.

Originally, Ladd was not supposed to be in Pennsylvania this weekend. Instead, he had planned to accompany members of the cross country program he coaches part-time at Chestnut Hill College to the regional meet in Boston. But that plan changed at the last minute, and he found himself with an open weekend, are knew that the Harrisburg Marathon was not too far away, accepted late entries, and was a good competitive opportunity for his level of fitness. Driving to Harrisburg to register the morning of the race, Ladd had no idea who his competition might be, but knew that the winner usually runs 2:35-2:40 at this event and he estimated he could run that fast.

By the end of the first mile, it was clear that the day would be a two horse race between Ladd and another last minute entry, Chuck Engle of Ohio. Engle is well-known in running circles for racing marathons almost every other weekend, and wins many of those events. The two ran together for close to six miles before Ladd pulled ahead for good and ended up finishing 1:18 clear of Engle to win in 2:34:14.

This marked the second consecutive exciting weekend in the Susquehanna Valley for Ladd, as he was inducted into the Dickinson College Sports Hall of Fame the weekend before as recognition of his accomplishments during his years there from 1994-1998 as a member of the cross country and track programs.