Marilyn Bevans – Trail Blazer

Hometown:  Baltimore, MD
Current residence:  Baltimore, MD
Birthdate: October 4

Educational Background
  • Eastern High School, Baltimore, MD
  • Morgan State University, BS Degree in Education
  • Springfield College, Springfield, MA, MS Degree in Curriculum Development

Number of times completed the Boston Marathon: Six

Reasons I Started Running
  • I just loved to run. The freedom, the peace, and the quiet. I use to watch the Madison Square Garden track meets on TV and just loved them. When I saw the Penn Relays for the first time, I wanted to be one of the runners.

Most Memorable Races
  • My first marathon was the Maryland Marathon.  After training for the race with some runners of the Baltimore Road Runners,   I ran the race with one of the runners. I kept asking, “When would we hit the wall?” I kept asking, “Is this the wall?” When I was told we were at that point in the race, I was not that tired. So, I picked up the pace.  I finished in second place.
  • In my first Boston Marathon, I got close to the finish line and started to cry. I was overjoyed that I was finishing Boston, and realized that the crying was affecting my breathing. I stopped crying.
  • Winning my first Maryland Marathon and being second at the Boston Marathon.
  • I ran the New York City Marathon seven times between 1975 and 1990 and enjoyed the race. In 1975, the course looped around Central Park about four times. My fifth place finish in 2:59:19 qualified me to run the Second Women’s International Marathon in Waldniel, West Germany in 1976. My best New York finishing time was 2:56:28 in 1979. I loved the race because of the crowds. The only time, that there was no one to cheer, was on the bridges.
  • I ran poorly in both of my international competitions. In 1976, I ran the Women’s International Marathon in Waldniel, West Germany. I only ran a 3:10:16 and finished in sixteenth place. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the 1981 Tokyo International Women’s Marathon in Japan. I learned a very important lesson. Everyone needs a coach or someone to guide them. I never had a coach.
  • Running in the same race that President Carter ran in 1979, the Catoctin Mountain 10k. This was the 10k race that the President collapsed. There was a lot of talk of how he collapse, most  of it negative.  The problem was the course was very difficult, we ran up hill for about a mile, ran flat for maybe a mile, downhill a mile than turned around to head back to the start. I was first and got my award from the President.
Most Memorable Running Experiences
  • Running a local road race, having a hunting dog come out the woods with a rabbit in its mouth, and glad that I would not be its dinner.
  • Running in Texas and seeing a wild group of horses in the distance.
  • Being glad I was not harmed when deer running by me on more than one occasion.
  • After a long run on a cold day, the clothing under my armpits was frozen.
  • On another occasion, we went for a training run after a snowfall. On the way home, we ran through a snowball battle. One side of the street was throwing snowballs at the other side of the street. Unfortunately, we were running up the middle of the street. Thank God, we didn’t get hit. However, it was not from lack of trying.
  • Running with my transistor radio in training and in marathons years before the MP3 player, I pod, etc.
  • Being watched by my Lord Jesus Christ over my running years, and not getting hit by the beer can, the fire cracker, the full large cup of soda , or bitten by the dogs on the run.
  • Being blessed to have competed in fourteen States (Maryland, New York, Delaware, Indiana, Connecticut, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island), the District of Columbia, and three countries (Canada, West Germany, and Japan).
  • Making some good friends.
Advice I Would Give Today’s Runners
  • Make running a part of your life, not your life.  Running will not pay your bills, console you in time need, or save your soul. Running is not God, God is God.
  • Keep your non-running friends.  You will get injured sooner or later.
  • Running helps you stay healthy but will not prevent cancer, etc., etc., etc.  Running helps you to identify health problems quicker. Take those warning signs and go to the doctor.
  • Be careful on the run, particularly the ladies. If it is a beautiful course on a quiet path with few people, run it only with partners.
  • Don’t run the same course, the same time, each day. Instead, mix up courses and times, unless you are in a group.
  • Keep ID on you.
  • Don’t race or run when you are injured, there will be another race, another day.  Run when you are pain free.
  • Take some running breaks and or reduce training a few times a year. You will last longer and race better.
  • Enjoy it. It is a simple pure sport. You put one foot in front of the other, and the first one there wins the race.
Best Marathon Time

1979 Boston Marathon
Time: 2.49.56
Maryland Marathon
Location: Baltimore, MD
Place: Second
Time: 3:31:45
Beltsville Marathon
Location: Beltsville, MD
Place: Second

Member of the USA unofficial team to the Second Women’s International Marathon in Waldniel, West Germany. There were 45 finishers from nine countries. This was the forerunner to the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1980. Placed sixteenth in 3:10:16.

Maryland Marathon
Location: Baltimore, MD
Place: First
Time: 2.51.18 (Still the course record for the original course.)

Beltsville (MD) Marathon
Place: First
Time: 3.04.22

Boston Marathon
Place: Second (Best Boston Finish)
Time: 2.51.12
Note: This was one of the closest Boston Marathon finish as only 2:39 separated the top two finishers.)

Mayor Daley Marathon (later became the Chicago Marathon)
Location: Chicago, IL
Place: Second
Time: 2.54.56
Track and Field News ranked her in the top ten women marathoners in the world in 1977.
Maryland Marathon
Location: Baltimore, MD
Place: Second
Time: 2:57:32

First Avon International Marathon
Location: Atlanta, GA
Place: Ninth
Time: 2.58.26
Note: This attracted a field of 186 women from nine countries.
Best half marathon: 1.22.46 in Delaware.


Boston Marathon
Place: Fifteenth
Time: 2.49.56 (Best Marathon Time)
Location: Baltimore, MD
Place: First
Time: 2:54:35

Catoctin Mountain 10K
Place First
Note: President Jimmy Carter ran this road race. He became the first US President to compete in a road race.

Coaching Info
Founded the Baltimore Suns Track Club in the early 1970’s.  An age group track team for boys and girls in Baltimore, Md.  The team competed until the mid 80’s.
Coaching high school cross country and outdoor track from 1990 to the present.
1993 Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year (Perry Hall High School)
1999 Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year (Perry Hall High School)

Selected Articles
  • “Coaching, Inspiration Are Sent to the Sidelines,” by Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun newspaper, October 17, 1990

A Special Thanks to Those Who Helped Me Along the Way
  • When I first started running, Joe Holland would invite me to run with a group, who were training for the Maryland Marathon. I was the only Black and female. They were twenty-mile runs. There were no special running bottles, etc. We stopped along the way at the police and fire stations for water. He encouraged me and started me on my marathon path
  • There were three special running partners, who trained with me throughout the 70’s, when I ran my best. They were Herman Sykes, Michael Bruce, and Brian Lee.
  • Les Kenion included me in activities with the newly formed Baltimore Road Runners.
  • Bailey Sinclair was the runner, who encouraged me in my first Maryland and Boston Marathons. We ran near the same pace. I have fond memories of all these guys.