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FOR THOSE who remember Jack Holzerland running in Delaware Park and all the work he did promoting the American Heart Association Run, it's hard to imagine that 12 years have passed since his second heart attack killed him.

Holzerland became a runner in 1974 after his first heart attack, a shock that convinced him to lose weight and start exercising.

He became a marathon runner and was one of those park runners so dependable you could set your watch by him. But he knew it was a matter of time before his heart disease caught up with him, so he poured his energy into raising money for heart research to help others.

Holzerland, who died at 39, would have been proud to know how successful his race has become.

Last year's Jack Holzerland Memorial Heart Run raised nearly $25,000, bringing to more than a quarter of a million dollars the heart research money raised from race fees over the years.

The Holzerland Race has had its ups and downs as far as competitive running and its change in courses and distances. You might remember when it was a wonderful 20K race from Eastern Hills Mall to Delaware Park.

But the race continues with support from Independent Health, and this year race officials also have teamed up with the Buffalo Bisons and City Hall.

There will be both 5K and 10K races starting from Pilot Field at 10 a.m. April 8. They will go through downtown and finish up back at the ballpark with a postrace party under the tent.

"Jack was a good friend and a mentor to many of us involved in the race," said Angelo Puccio, a local insurance adjuster. "We do it to give something back to someone who did so much for us."

Half a marathon

If you're one of those people who complain about all the 5Ks and our lack of longer races, the Greater Buffalo Track Club expects to see you April 15 on Grand Island.

The club is putting on the area's first half marathon, a 13.1-mile race that will start and finish at the Holiday Inn on Whitehaven and East River roads.

Ken Hans, a competitive local runner, is race director, and brings GBTC's reputation for good race organization, as you'd know if you've ever run their Chemical Bank Corporate Challenge.

If the club erred in this inaugural run, it was in listing the race as one of the training runs for the Ford Buffalo Marathon.

It does serve as a nice tune-up for the marathon. But the training runs have developed into informal group runs that also happen to be free. This half-marathon may be low-cost, but it is a race and it is not free. Call 692-7576 for further details.

Running shorts

Dan Loncto, race director for the century edition of the J.Y. Cameron Memorial Thanksgiving Day Run, is looking for winners of the race that we have come to know as the Turkey Trot.

Loncto and his committee are planning a celebration for this oldest of American races and wants the past winners to help celebrate. Call 836-6479.

Johnny Kelley, who retired from running the whole Boston Marathon in 1992 after finishing his 61st race, has finally decided that he won't run in any of it this year.

Kelley, who ran the last seven miles of the race in the past two years, can hardly be faulted. The man is 87 years old. But what a glorious string it was, including his victories in 1935 and 1945. He finished in the top 10 in 16 other years. He has earned his rest.

Ma Junren, the former dictatorial coach of the world record Chinese women, continues to show what a prince he was. In a recent series of stories in a Shanghai newspaper, Ma admitted that he sometimes found it necessary to beat his runners.

"I must admit my management style was too simple sometimes. I would scold them or beat them when they were lazy or disobedient. But I only did it for their own good," Ma told the newspaper.

Credit Runner's World with trying to encourage high school running by coming out with a publication of High School Runner -- or with trying to boost their readership by giving away magazines filled with promotions for the magazine and circulation cards.

In any event, the 32-page magazine, with tips from top runners and some interesting first-person pieces written by school runners, will be distributed free to high schools and secondary schools across the country. Schools may contact Pam Palmer at 610-967-8222.

Neil Farrell of the South Buffalo Athletic Club has a new telephone number for those wishing to join. The number printed here last week has been changed to 662-5842.

Upcoming races

Ford Buffalo Marathon Course Part II training run, 13.1 miles, Nike Checkers A.C., meet at Delaware Park Juicery, 8 a.m., Saturday, 691-8660; Bemus Point Spring 5K, 10 a.m., Saturday, 386-3130; Around The Bay, 30K, Hamilton, Ont., 11:30 a.m., April 2, 905-522-3073; Jack Holzerland Memorial Heart Run, 5K and 10K, Pilot Field, 10 a.m., April 8, 636-0121.

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