Cape Gazette
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People in Sports

Rehoboth Marathon is colorful and inspirational

Nick Balenger on comeback covers 2.6 miles using walker
By Dave Frederick | Dec 10, 2013
Photo by: Dave Frederick Nick Balenger is flanked by his parents, Steve and Sylvia.

Breakneck speed - Nick Balenger broke his neck in a diving accident in Hawaii a year and a half ago and sustained a serious spinal cord injury. On Dec. 7 he walked 2.6 miles, a tenth of the Rehoboth Marathon. “The furthest I had gone was a mile and a half," Nick said. "I’ve been doing physical therapy and walking, so I feel pretty good about today.”

Nick is shown walking across the finish line with his dad Steve and his mom Sylvia. The family is from northern Virginia. Nick’s brother Alex, 15, ran the full marathon in four hours and 59 seconds. An inspirational story that give us all hope and makes the slothful among us slightly uneasy as we cling to the pine tree of our discontent.

Rainey day woman - Chandler Rainey, 28, of New York pushed a sub-seven-minute pace for the full Rehoboth Marathon to win the women’s race in 3:13:09. Chandler’s emotions exploded as she crossed the finish line, falling somewhere between ebullience and exhaustion. She was wobbly and could barely stand as volunteer Maureen Keenan wrapped her like a boiled hotdog in a foil blanket. “She was hurting out there the last few miles but just kept pushing," said her bike escort Matt Dunn.

The Danny boys - Danny the dad and Danny the son Austin ran the Rehoboth Half Marathon together, with the 18-year-old placing eighth in 1:23 and the 45-year-old ninth in 1:24. “He let me run with him for most of the race, but near the end I think he got tired dragging me," Dan said of his son. Running for Cape, Austin had won the 3,200 meters Dec. 6 at the Snow Hill Indoor meet in 10:50.

Slash and crash - All Temple athletes and their coaches excluding football and basketball were summoned to a Dec. 6 meeting, and for 190 athletes, nine coaches and seven sports, the world came crashing down around them. Baseball, softball, men’s and women’s crew, men’s gymnastics, men’s indoor and outdoor track will be dropped as of June 2014. My granddaughter Anna, a freshman lacrosse player on scholarship, was in that room and said it was just awful, with people crying all over the place. Athletes will transfer, scholarships will be honored for those who stay, but the programs are gone. The bombshell was dropped leading into finals week.

Statistics - There is software for statistics in the NFL and Major League Baseball. Basically, all the data from all the games ever played is entered, so if you ask the computer any question you get an instant answer. It’s like asking a savant “What day of the week was Jan. 7, 1943," and he answers “Thursday,” which by the way is correct. Got this information from the Eagles after Sunday’s win over Detroit. “LeSean McCoy became the fourth player with two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns of 40-plus in the same game (The others are Cleveland’s Marion Motley on 10/20/46, Arizona’s LeShon Johnson on 9/22/96 and Cincinnati’s Corey Dillon on 10/22/00)." I mean really, what? Coming into the final stanza, the Eagles had rushed 25 times for 76 yards, but reeled off 223 yards on 21 carries in the fourth quarter. According to Stats Inc., that’s the most rushing yards by any team in a quarter since 1991 when quarterly stats were first kept.

Snippets - UCLA won the NCAA championship in women’s soccer for the first time in school history, beating Florida State 1-0 on an overtime goal in the 97th minute of the game. Did you know that just 4.3 percent of major league baseball players are college graduates? No, you didn’t, but you do now, and that stat was released by Major League Baseball. Many argue that Division I football and basketball are just minor leagues for professional sports; at least baseball has an actual minor league with no pretense about education. Cape junior Sam Young won the pole vault at the Snow Hill indoor track meet Dec. 6, jumping 12-feet-6-inches, a personal best, and winning the event by two feet. I will emcee the state championship field hockey banquet Wednesday, Dec. 11, which I consider the greatest honor without honorarium. That means, no money and trust me, I am worth every penny of it. Some professional sports photographers in the business of selling photos find me incredibly annoying for taking hundreds of photos, then giving them away. I never knew my generosity could be another’s liability, but I kind of like it. Go on now, git!

Chandler Rainey was the first woman to finish the marathon, crossing the finish line in in three hours and 13 minutes. (Photo by: Dave Frederick )
Dan Austin and son Danny ran the half marathon together, placing eighth and ninth. (Photo by: Dave Frederick )
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