Washington, DC

Name: Nate Rathjen

Self-described age group: slowly admitting I’m not a recent college grad anymore (25)

Residence: Historic downtown Leesburg!

Occupation: IT guy

Volunteer roles in the running world: Treasurer, Loudoun Road Runners

Why you run: What’s not to love? It’s free. I love exploring on foot. I meet awesome people. It’s a really time-efficient way to stay in shape. Also, I’d be lying if I said part of it wasn’t being able to eat whatever I want. Food’s a big motive.

When did you get started running: Actually, it all started when I ended up on UVA’s club quidditch team in 2012, my first year there. If you’re wondering what that looks like as a sport, combine basketball, rugby, and dodgeball, move the whole thing outside, and you’re close! Later that fall someone started group runs to work on the team’s conditioning, we became training partners, and the rest is history.

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Frank Perna runs the 1991 George Washington’s Birthday Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Perna

Frank Perna remembers smiling a lot as he ran the Jacksonville Marathon earlier this month. 

The Bethesda man, 56, was aiming to finish in under three hours, making this his fifth straight decade of running sub-3 hour marathons. 

He crossed the finish line in 2:53:17, overcoming a chronic hamstring injury that he’d initially worried would derail his race.

“I knew I was going to hit my time, and I was just taking it all in,” said Perna, a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners and sports psychologist and program director at the National Cancer Institute. “It felt very satisfying to execute a race and just do it.” 

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Run with Santa 5k

Are you ready? Word on the street is Santa and Mrs. Claus have been training like champions! Join us for the 10th annual Run With Santa 5K! The starting gun goes off at 8:30 AM at Reston Town Center. Pricing

Sarah Anyan’s feet hurt, and her shoes weren’t going to make things much better. But as much as she and Tyler loved running, they weren’t going to walk down the aisle in cushioned trainers. 

So, months of plantar pain be damned, she danced and had a great time at her wedding. And when she woke up, she felt…better. 

It was a little more than three months until the California International Marathon. 

“I felt like I could for a run and it didn’t hurt all the time, something changed,” she said. “I can at least run through whatever I felt — before it hurt to walk.”

When the couple got back to their Arlington home, Sarah joined Tyler for their family goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. 

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Canaan Valley Half Marathon, 10k & 5k

Canaan Valley Half Marathon, 10k & 5k

5k – Saturday, April 25, 2020 – 10am

Half Marathon & 10k – Sunday, April 26, 2020

Canaan Valley Resort
Davis, WV 26260

Editor’s note: Five years ago, we published one of my favorite stories, and I wanted to share it with you here.

Matthew Hua relished his first season of cross country at J.E.B. Stuart High School (now Justice High School). With no prior athletic background, his 24-minute three mile time is a point of pride. Lifelong health problems have been an obstacle in his running career, but they haven’t stopped him from fully participating as part of the team — except maybe in the team dinners.

Matthew’s gastrointestinal system has never functioned normally. He is unable to eat at all and drinks very little. In fact, virtually every one of his bodily systems is compromised. He is deaf in his left ear and his left vocal cord is paralyzed. Underdeveloped lungs have led to chronic conditions such as tracheomalacia (softened cartilage around the trachea) and asthma. He has ongoing orthopedic problems and his immune system is compromised, leaving him susceptible to infection and illness.

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Name: Hannah A.

Self-described age group: Millennial (25)

Residence: Crystal City

Occupation: Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist

Why you run: Because I can! Running has not only helped keep me in shape but also allowed me to achieve some of my biggest dreams and goals. Plus, living in this area, it’s the perfect excuse to do some local sightseeing!

When did you get started running: I ran JV cross-country all four years in high school and ran here and there throughout college until the summer before my junior year when I decided to train for a half marathon. That was August 2014, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

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Glory Days Grill XC 5k

Take a break from pounding the pavement and join us for the Glory Days Cross Country 5K! The starting gun goes off at 8:30 AM at Bull Run Regional Park Special Events Center. Pricing starts at $35 for early birds,

The weekend of the 2019 Houston Marathon, Maura Linde reviewed the course map for a final time — not to make sure she had every turn, hill, and water station memorized, but rather to scope out the medical aid stations so she could drop out with people nearby.

“I really did think I wasn’t going to finish it,” she said.

Just five days before the race, she had caught a stomach virus that had torn through the cross country athletes she coached at Johns Hopkins University. She was aiming to run under 2:45 to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, but she and her coach, Jerry Alexander of the Georgetown Running Club, almost pulled the plug.

“I couldn’t eat real food till a couple days before,” Linde recalled, saying she instead focused on staying hydrated. “I didn’t run again till the Friday before for a shake out.”

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The D.C. area is at the heart of some of the most beautiful and dynamic running routes in the country. The DMV is surrounded by scenic paths, urban gems, woodland trails, historical parks, lakes, and sprawling fields. But despite all that the area has to offer, many runners will time and time again repeat the same set of loops from their front door.

Vivian Smith is a cybersecurity consultant in Manassas. She does not want to fit the trend of running from home or work each day. She travels somewhere to run at least four days a week, even if that means driving only a minute or so to get there. “I’ll drive half a mile to a park so that I can enjoy more of my run in the park than on the shoulder-less road on the way to the park,” she said.

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