Name: Aaron Richards
Self-described age group: Late 20’s
Occupation: Defense contractor
Volunteer roles in the running world: I volunteer as a coach for Saturday morning runs with the National Capital Area Chapter’s Team In Training group.
Why you run: Because it’s a great way to challenge myself. I saw running as a punishment when I played baseball and basketball in high school and college. Now I find running as a way to compete with others, better myself, and find time to unwind after a stressful day. I also run because not everyone has the luxury of being able to wake up every day and go for a run. I want to take advantage of that gift before I’m too old.
Grab the tortillas but hold the sour cream — Washington, D.C. is getting its first taco mile.
Organized by November Project DC, and in partnership with the D.C. Parks and Recreation Department, the Aug. 26 taco mile challenges runners to eat tacos before running a quarter mile. And then again. And then again… And then again. It’s an all-ages alternative to a beer mile, one that can be sanctioned on public property but still tests runners’ digestive discipline.
Participants can choose their own running-and-taco adventure. The Fast Taco Mile challenges runners to eat a taco and run a lap, repeating the process three times. Although runners are racing the clock, it may feel more like racing their stomachs. They can opt to run four laps and eat a taco, completing the Fun Taco Mile. There is also a family-friendly race open to strollers and runners of all ages. District Taco will furnish the food, with other support from Shake Shack.
“Every now and then you need something refreshing, something more interesting and will bring out a unique and niche crowd,” said Jason Millison, interim communications director for the parks department.
Little Bennett Regional Park in Clarksburg is the largest park in Montgomery County, encompassing over 3,700 acres of Maryland wilderness. The good news for runners is that this green space also boasts approximately 25 miles of trails, all of which have natural surfaces. Countless loops and out-and-backs make Little Bennett the perfect place to get lost on a weekend when trail running is on your schedule.
In addition, you won’t have to compete with mountain bikers, because they’re not permitted on any of these trails. Horseback riders, however, do frequent some parts of the park, so it’s best to use caution when approaching.
The loop outlined below provides a small sampling of what the park has to offer, including thick wooded forests, brilliant meadows, vibrant streams and boggy wetlands.
Right when the meaty part of Fall marathon training starts, D.C.’s primary long run route continues to be a challenge. “The Big Loop,” the popular 20-mile route carrying runner around the Capital Crescent and Georgetown Branch trails to Rock Creek Park’s Beach Drive is still compromised, though in new ways.
The Georgetown Branch Trail remains closed during construction of the Purple Line. The Beach Drive rebuilding project has moved north, closing most of the 2.7 miles between the Maryland state line and Joyce Road. And now the Zoo loop, the roughly half-mile trail circumnavigating the Beach Drive tunnel, is apparently in danger of falling into the creek following heavy rains and erosion, so pedestrians and cyclists are forced to share a five-foot-wide sidewalk, feet from automobile traffic.
RunWashington offers a few alternative 20-mile runs, along with alterations in case you want to run to the loops but not go too far. None of them are out-and-backs, because face it, anyone can do that.
Name: Allison Guindon
Self-described age group: 20-29
Occupation: Office Manager at a small non-profit
Why you run: The ability to travel, or cover distance by foot has had a big appeal to me for as long as I’ve been a runner. There is such satisfaction in looking back after a long run and seeing how many miles I covered. Coming from a track event (pole vault) where I measured my workouts in meters, and my approach on a jump in feet, there is still something fantastic and mind boggling about running 13 or 26 miles. Running has also been a spectacular social vehicle, most of my friends in D.C. are people that I know through running somehow!
There was no medal, no bib and no race director. But for Silver Spring’s Adrian Spencer, none of those things mattered as he attempted a run to Washington, D.C from Gettysburg.
Spencer had not always been a runner. He started running six years ago while on a beach trip with his family. Back then, he was 50 pounds heavier and could not even run a mile. Quickly approaching his 30th birthday, Spencer decided to give running a shot, hoping it would get him in better shape.
Name: Nene Reed
Self-described age group: 35-39 (I’ll officially be a Master in January though)
Occupation: IT Consultant
Volunteer roles in the running world: Northern Virginia Running Club – Gear Coordinator/Webmaster
The College Park 5k didn’t feel like any race I had run before. Sure there were cones, a course, other runners and a starting line, but right behind that starting line, my son Miles was sitting in our running stroller.
It wasn’t that long ago that Saturday mornings meant an early wake up for long runs with my club, followed by brunch, a nap, then hitting the bars at night. Now, I ‘m up just as early but it is to turn on Elmo and Sesame Street for Miles, while my wife and I get a little more sleep. Then we hit the road for a run, me pushing him.
- The “zoo loop” trail circumnavigating the Beach Drive Tunnel near Shoreham Drive in Rock Creek Park has closed because erosion of the creekbed is threatening the safety of the paved path. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association reports the closure may last as long as one year, given the trail improvement timeline
- A one-mile section of the Custis Trail in Arlington will close for trail improvements between July 30 – Aug. 24.
- The District Department of Transportation broke ground July 28 on an extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail that will lead to the Fort Totten Metro station from John McCormack Ave NE in Brookland.
- The Army Ten-Miler online transfer program is open until Aug. 28.
- The Marine Corps Marathon transfer program is open and the deferment program will begin Aug. 15.
- Former American University track and cross country coach Matt Centrowitz was named director of cross country and track and field at Manhattan College.