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O'SULLIVAN'S SAGA NEEDS NO PADDING

Jack O'Sullivan of West Seneca could end up in one of those Thorlo sock ads in the running magazines, the ones where the guy takes off his shoes and runs in the thickly padded socks.

O'Sullivan, 69, had his Thorlo experience last month at the Eriesistable Marathon in Presque Isle, Pa.

O'Sullivan, one of that tight pack of 65- to 69-year-old runners that includes brothers Ted and Dick Sullivan, usually doesn't wear Thorlos but just happened to be wearing a pair that Ted Sullivan gave him.

He started getting a blister -- not something the Thorlo people would like to hear -- that finally caused him to stop running at about the 18-mile mark.

"I took my shoes off and was waiting around for the meat wagon to pick me up and finally just started walking," O'Sullivan said. "It was in the park and I still felt pretty good so I started jogging in my socks."

At 20 miles, he saw a friend, handed off his shoes, and kept going. By that time, the race had gone back to the streets, but O'Sullivan continued getting a cushioned ride by running over lawns and driveways.

By the time he got to the finish line, he had taken off one of the socks because of the blister. His friends, alerted to his variation on "Diddle Diddle Dumpling, My Son John," -- one sock off, one sock on -- were doubled over in laughter as he finished in four hours and 48 minutes. The finish line camera caught his Thorlo Moment.

"So I have a photo coming back to me with my bare foot forward, my Thorlo foot back," said O'Sullivan. "It was hilarious."

O'Sullivan, incidentally, came to running late in life after encouragement from his son, Mike O'Sullivan, one of the top members of the Post Office team.

Couples

OK, so it appears Bob Carroll and Becky Heuer may not have been the first boyfriend and girlfriend to win a local major road race, as mentioned here earlier when they won the Linda Yalem Run. How about the first American couple?

Tim Forrester and Christine Cote of Hamilton, Ont., as a number of people have noted, recently won the Police Chase.

These are dangerous waters trying to figure out these relationships, as Police Chase race director Arnie Walker points out. It's especially tricky in his race's handcuff run, when couples run two miles as fast as they can while handcuffed.

"I often send photos to Police Chase participants," says Walker, a police lieutenant, "but I'm always a bit concerned that I might send somebody a photo of them running handcuffed to somebody they shouldn't have been with."

Running shorts

The best deal around continues to be the Buffalo Philharmonic Athletic Club's 10K Run at Chestnut Ridge Park. All that fall foliage, the challenge of all those hills, and still only $5? It starts at 9 a.m. Saturday. Call 831-9050.

Bob Carroll continues to excel as a master, adding the Syracuse Festival of Races 5K this month to his list. He was the top master in a time of 15:26 and came in ninth overall.

The South Buffalo Athletic Club is joining the ranks of the centipedes at this Thanksgiving Day's Turkey Trot, marking the third centipede to have run in America's oldest road race. Club member Marty Munson is coordinating the club's many-footed entry.

Two men injured when their plane went down in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness have a marathon runner to thank for saving their lives. Lynn Bjorklund, 40, a record-holder in the 1981 Pikes Peak Marathon, was camping nearby and ran 6 miles for help.

Upcoming races

St. Mary's School for the Deaf 5K Run, Main Street, 10 a.m., today, 834-7200; Community Missions 5K Rapids Run, Goat Island, Niagara Falls, 10:30 a.m., today, 285-3403; Ridgewalk and Run, 5K, 12 K, 14-mile trail run, various times, Wellsville, today, 593-5080; Northwest Buffalo Community Center Run for Hope 5K, 10 a.m., Sat., 876-8108; Buffalo Philharmonic A.C. 10K, Chestnut Ridge Park, 9 a.m., Sat., 823-4674; Westfield Harvest Challenge 8K Run, 10 a.m., Sat., 326-4243; Medina Harvest Run 5K, 10 a.m., Sat., 589-5516; Niagara Falls Marathon races, Niagara Falls, Ont., 8 a.m. -- half-marathon, 8:30 a.m. -- marathon, 8:45 a.m. -- 5K, Oct. 26, 905-945-6216.

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