Tom Martin isn’t sure what he’d do without the towers field in Bethesda, Md. Maybe his cross-country runners would have to do more workouts on the track, he says. Maybe he’d even think about retiring from coaching. That’s how important the roughly 1.25-mile, grass-and-dirt loop around the WMAL radio towers is to him. It’s more than just a 75-acre field nestled between two highways and not far from Walter Johnson High School, where Martin coaches. It’s a crucial piece of the local running culture in Montgomery County.
“For me, it’s almost as if, when that goes away, I might consider retiring,” Martin says. “It’s invaluable just to have… this nice open space where we can do all different kinds of workouts. It would be a tremendous loss to our program.”
Long, dewy grass at Fort Washington Park presented a challenge at runners at the Prince George’s County Invitational. So did “the General,” a long hill from the bank of the Potomac River.
That was alright for Eleanor Roosevelt coach Nayda Pierla, whose teams won the boys’ competition 36-90 over Parkdale and girls finished second behind Flowers 27-54. Roosevelt junior Brandon Lewis on the individual title in 17:49, while C.H. Flowers junior Javon Watts remained undefeated at Fort Washington Park for her career, winning by more than 90 seconds in 21:14. It’s a few seconds slower than her winning time last year, but the grass on the course had not been mowed.
D.C. police charged 23-year-old Anthony Crawford of Northwest D.C. with first degree murder in connection with Wendy Martinez’s death Sept. 18 while she was running in Logan Circle.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham cited a combination of work by police, tips from the public and security camera footage in identifying Crawford, who was arrested the night of Sept. 19 at the Girard Street Park near 14th Street NW.
Martinez, 35, was killed following a stabbing while she was running west on P Street NW in Logan Circle the evening of Sept. 18. Newsham said she stopped at the corner of 11th Street NW at 7:45 p.m., where she was stabbed in what he described as likely a random attack. There was no indication Martinez was the victim of a robbery, but police have not identified a motive.
A 7 p.m. vigil Sept. 20 has been planned at the corner of P and 11th.
Newsham called the stabbing an isolated instance.
“We don’t see crimes like this very much, it was an unlikely thing that happened,” he said at a Sept. 20 news conference. “It’s certainly damaging to all our senses of safety.”
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham described her in a Sept. 19 news conference as “avid runner, known to run for miles across the city on a regular basis.” More than that, she ran the 2015 Palestine Marathon, finishing in 4:20:18 for eighth place.
- Arlington’s Jillian Pollack qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, running 2:44:44 at the Berlin Marathon Sept. 1. She is one of five runners who lives in the D.C. area full-time who has qualified so far.
- Almost 300 local runners have qualified, and registered for the 2019 Boston Marathon. A total of 294 runners comprises 132 from Northern Virginia, 84 from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and 82 from Washington, D.C. The Boston Athletic Association has some problem with websites representing the registrant list, but you can look people up here. More runners will enter via charity programs and other will scratch the race.
- The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races has recognized the Marine Corps Marathon has having the world’s best finisher medal in 2017. Corbin Stewart, MCMO Graphics Coordinator who designed the award winning medal shares, “The Marine Corps Marathon medal reflects Marine Corps heritage, our great nation’s patriotism and the legacy of the Marine Corps Marathon. Together these elements express the uplifting spirit of the event in a modern design.”
As students at St. Albans School and National Cathedral School prepare for the cross country conference championships, many of these runners are also getting ready for the fall play.
Jim Ehrenhaft, who coaches cross country for both Washington, D.C., schools and is also the assistant track coach in charge of distance, is just one of the coaches in the region who works with students balancing other commitments outside of running and school.
“It’s something that we just have to help them manage,” he said. “Because their interests certainly should be encouraged, and at the same time, when they made choices, there are consequences or repercussions, and we just, again, have to help them understand that and put it in perspective — that’s one of the big challenges.”
Name: Chris Carney
Self-described age group: Masters (first race in my new 45-49 age group, this weekend)
Residence: Falls Church
Occupation: Attorney for the federal government
Volunteer roles in the running world: Have volunteered at various races, including the MCM beer tent.
Taking up marathon training often means taking time away from the family to get in the miles, the long runs, the workouts. For Joe Divel, it turned into a way to create new bonds with his daughters.
Divel, 59, of Rockville, is in his fourth year with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club First Time Marathoners program and in his second year as a coach.
FTM prepares people to run a marathon — it doesn’t have to be their first — over a six-month period. And it’s more than just running buddies or training plans — Divel referred to the group as a family numerous times.
Pace the Nation returns after a month’s hiatus with new host and Arlington native Tess Stryk. They talk to Mike Wardian, who ran the C&O Canal Towpath between Cumberland and Georgetown in 36:36:03 over Labor Day weekend.
- With the Arlington Memorial Bridge out of commission, the Army Ten-Miler course will take the Key Bridge and Whitehurst Parkway to Rock Creek Parkway, in lieu of Constitution and Virginia avenues.
When Adam Popp heads to the start line at the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on Sunday, the pain of the marathon he ran just days before will be fresh. But the Air Force veteran who lost his right leg above the knee after an explosion in Afghanistan in 2007 knew he had to make room in his schedule for the half marathon that holds special meaning to him. In 2015, only four months after he took up running seriously, Popp finished the Navy Air Force Half in 1:44:29 — much faster than his first try at the distance eight years earlier.
“Long story short, I ran that half marathon faster than I had when I had two legs,” Popp said.