The mid-1980's was a golden age of distance running at UMBC. Michael Sterling qualified for NCAA Championships and dominated the local cross country scene for four years. And a young woman who grew up a short jog from the campus (Poplar Avenue) made quite a mark in our nation's biggest marathon.
The No. 36 moment on the #retriever50for50 countdown occurred on a chilly, damp, windy late morning in Boston. Karin Wagner, who had only recently transferred to UMBC, did not especially enjoy running in the rain. Moreover, she was coming off a case of the flu.
But on that day, April 16, 1984, the Lansdowne High School graduate shocked herself by finishing 17th in the women's division in a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 15 seconds.
With that effort, Wagner qualified for the United States Olympic Trials as the 1984 games in Los Angeles were to be held later that summer.
She did not earn a spot on the three-woman marathon team, but went on to win every UMBC dual cross country meet in the fall of 1984 and placed eighth in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at UCLA in May 1985.
Wagner was inducted into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991. Her outdoor record of 35:31.64 in the 10,000 meters, posted in the spring of 1985, still stands to this day. It is the oldest UMBC outdoor record for either Retriever men or women by nine years.