When I decided to run my first marathon, I knew just who to go to: Ben Moore, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and retired Marine. Since I had moved to Annapolis three years before, people had told me about Moore’s Marines, a first-time marathon training program.
According to Ron Bowman of Bluepoint Timing, Moore is one of the founders of the Annapolis Striders and had encouraged his friends and family to run for years before he created the first marathon training program in Maryland in 1979.
The first group consisted of 15 runners, primarily friends and family. At the end of the training season, all of the members completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.
Over the years, runners from all over the state went through Moore’s program. They were given a training program to follow during the week and encouraged to attend group long runs every weekend. Moore was at every long run, willing to answer questions and give advice. He held no punches, but he never failed to encourage runners. After speaking with Moore for just a few minutes, runners were sure that they could tackle a marathon.
Before his death in 2007, Moore had helped more than 1,200 runners complete their first marathon. Today, runners who ran their first marathon with Moore’s help continue to encourage others to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle through marathon training.
Today, the Annapolis Striders and Bowman’s Blue Point Timing each run first time marathon training programs in the example set by Moore. In addition, Bowman created the Ben Moore Memorial Half Marathon and 10K Race.
This year’s race took place on Aug. 13 and included many of the runners who trained under Moore over the years. Bill Law, another friend of Moore’s and a founding member of the Annapolis Striders, was the honorary starter. Runners ran many of the same miles set out by Moore for his original Moore’s Marines.
As testament to just how many people were touched by the generosity of Moore, Bowman said, Sunday’s run included not only people who had trained with the Moore’s Marines directly but even “children and grandchildren of the runners who trained with Ben.”
Annapolis is a running town but one has to wonder whether it would be if not for Ben Moore, his belief that anybody could run the marathon and his willingness to help them do it.