Washington, DC
Boyds native Andrew Lent runs the Appalachian Trail section of the 2020 JFK 50 Mile. Photo: H3 Photography

Time moves differently now for Andrew Lent. 

Part of it is his age — he’s 21, and a minute, an hour, even a month exists on a broader scale than it did a few years before. 

But he’s also made new choices. Since he finished his high school career at Poolesville with a state runner-up finish in the 3,200 meters behind teammate Ryan Lockett, he’s now competing in situations where those same 3,200 meters can include two walking breaks, even on his way to a top-10 finish at the storied JFK 50 Miler.

“You can get a real second wind in ultra running,” he said. “It could take hours, but at some point, you usually come back around. 

“It amuses me that it can happen. You come from track and cross country where your race is about 15 minutes and if things feel bad, it’s not going to get much better. Now I’m in situations where an hour ago, you couldn’t fathom taking another step and all of a second you’re running even better than you had been.”

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Running Shorts

  • The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile has been postponed until Sept. 11-12, with the lottery running June 1-13.
  • The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation is putting together a Bike and Pedestrian Network Plan to prioritize resources for bike and pedestrian improvements over the next five years. Comments, which you can make on the map, will be accepted until Jan. 22.
  • Oakton and American alumna Keira D’Amato’s 2:22:56 at the Marathon Project was the seventh fastest American women’s marathon time. She was a guest on the I’ll Have Another podcast.
  • Heritage alumna Weini Kelati was a guest on the Citius and Keeping Track podcasts.
  • Georgetown alumna Rachel Schneider was a guest on the C Tolle Run podcast.
  • Montgomery County Department of Transportation is repairing a culvert that will close a section of the Matthew Henson Trail for several months at Turkey Branch Parkway and Grenoble Drive. MCDOT will install an ADA compliant detour for trail users. See more information here
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Canaan Valley Half Marathon, 10k & 5k

Join us for the 3rd Annual Canaan Valley Half Marathon, 10k & 5k April 24-25, 2021, in Tucker County, West Virginia in the heart of the Potomac Highlands. This road race takes place in one of the East Coast’s most

Emily Hart’s friends raved about how Marine Corps would be the best “first marathon” for her, with deafening crowds, thousands of volunteers, aid stations and the atmosphere of running through her home city.

When finally she ran it, her experience was completely different from what she’d heard about, but no less memorable. Like many of the D.C. area’s marathoners, she charted her own course for 26.2 miles in 2020 — straight up the W&OD Trail — one of hundreds whose options were only limited by their creativity and motivation. And, public health orders limiting gathering sizes.

With the November postponement of the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon, usually in March, and the undetermined rescheduling of the Boston Marathon, these will likely be the stories of more runners who feel the itch to go for a very long timed run though at least the first half of 2021. While a smattering of small marathons are being held in the D.C. area, with others tending larger in other parts of the country, fortune will favor the self-motivated. 

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The DMV Distance Derby, RunWashington’s substitute for a robust road racing season, has recorded 677 times for 22 segments since May 2020. Using the Strava app, runners can run a variety of distances on courses throughout the D.C. area at a time of their choosing to earn bragging rights. Often, they are a break from the tranditional 5k, 10k, etc. distances common in road racing.

The 2.5-mile Hains Point segment, clockwise between the gates in East Potomac Park, has seen the most action with 80 men and 45 women trying. Brian Rich (12:34) and Nina Zarina (13:30) hold the leads so far. Others are ripe for more attempts, with only a few people running the WB&A Trail and the Washington’s Birthday Marathon loop in Prince George’s County, Kenwood in Montgomery County or the National Aboretum.

Even if you don’t run all out in an attempt to set a personal best, these courses are also an opportunity to try running in a new place.

We’ll be doing a full year, running through April 30, and I will write glowing profiles of the runners with the most segment leads over that time.

View overall results for the first seven months of the DMV Distance Derby here

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When Gavin McElhennon decided on a college last year, he didn’t expect to spend his first semester thousands of miles away from Johns Hopkins University’s campus in Baltimore.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing classes online for his first semester, Gonzaga alumnus McElhennon and 13 of his first-year classmates took their academic flexibility to Flagstaff, Ariz. The Blue Jays weren’t alone — college runners from across the country, including many in and from the D.C. area, took a consolation prize from a deferred fall season and did some altitude training.

“We started texting pretty much as soon as we found out we wouldn’t have classes in person,” McElhennon said. “Within a few days we had a house that could fit all of us.”

Though some parents voice concerns about letting 14 college freshmen — six men and eight women — spend their first significant stretch away from home without resident advisors and meal plans, before long they figured out their independent living situations.

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Running Shorts

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Name: Shannon O’Neil

Self-described age group: 25-29

Residence: NE, DC

Occupation: Attorney

Volunteer roles in the running world: I’ve previously volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run, and when I’m not running them myself, I can often be spotted spectating my heart out at local races.

How has your running changed in the last six months: I’ve battled a couple of injuries and basically given up on running with other people, but I’m also more grateful than ever for the days that I’m able to start my morning with a run.

Why you run: To experience something bigger than myself. Sometimes that’s the thrill of a race, or the camaraderie from a group workout. But sometimes it’s just getting to see the sun rise over the Anacostia River.

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