“I love the mile,” said DC’s Henry Wigglesworth, who considers it his favorite race distance. The 61-year-old has fallen in love with the mile after years as a distance runner.
Wigglesworth took up running after college when he moved to New York City and his friends encouraged him to run the New York City Marathon. He did not take the race too seriously but enjoyed it enough to run it again a few years later. During his second New York City Marathon, Wigglesworth even stopped in Central Park for a beer with his friends toward the end of the race.
“I didn’t really think of myself as a very serious runner,” he recalls.
If it wasn’t for the eastern screech owl with one bad eye, I might still be unaware of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge’s North Tract and its many miles of undulating dirt roads, a mere 25 minutes south of my home in Baltimore. An unseasonably hot and humid day in October 2017 resulted in a shortened run at Greenbelt Park. My wife and I had driven south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway intent on logging 90-minute runs on Greenbelt’s principal loop and adjacent athletic fields, but the conditions exacerbated our training fatigue. We decided to cut our losses make the most of the afternoon by exploring the area.
The top spot in the 2018 runner rankings probably came down to distance.
On Sept. 16, both Paul Thistle and Jeff Stein topped the podium near the Washington Monument. Thistle won the Navy 5-Miler, running 25:19 to score 1001.2 points in the RunWashington runner rankings system, which figures in race pace versus historical high-water marks for the same race. At the same time, Stein was winning the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, running 1:10:21. The effects of a warm, humid day probably compounded over 13 miles, and although Stein recorded a 35-second margin of victory in his race, he scored only 992.79. In the end, Thistle’s average wound up 1.32 points higher than Stein’s, giving him the edge for the year.
- The W&OD and Four Mile Run trails in Arlington will be closed for six weeks starting the week of Feb. 18. The closure begins at N. Four Mile Run Drive and ends at the Custis Trail.
- Several local runners were named Gatorade Athlete of the Year for their respective states:
- Oakton alumna Keira (Carlstrom) D’Amato and Vienna resident Perry Shoemaker were the USATF Virginia open and masters athletes of the year, while Patriot alumna Rachel McArthur was the female under 20 cross country athlete of the year.
- Chantilly alumnus Sean McGorty qualified for the world indoor track championships, running 13:21.35 for 5,000 meters at the BU Valentines Invitational.
- Gonzaga and Georgetown alumnus Collin Leibold (3:59.51) and Georgetown senior Spencer Brown (3:59.97) broke the four-minute mile barrier.
- Anthony Crawford, who is charged with the murder of D.C. runner Wendy Martinez last year, was found not competent during a mental health screening, WTOP reports.
- Arlington’s Mike Wardian has submitted his ten-marathon total of 2:12:46 to the Guinness Book of World Records for ratification. He followed the World Marathon Challenge with three marathons run on Hains Point.
Jason Dunn talks about his his coaching career bringing him back to the University of Virginia, where he trains nine D.C. area runners.
Name: Shawn Zeller
Self-described age group: Masters, 40+
Residence: Northeast D.C.
Volunteer roles in the running world: I coordinate the running team at my company, CQ Roll Call, and our involvement in team races, such as the National Press Club 5k and the ACLI Capital Challenge.
Why you run: To be fit, to compete, to stay trim, to maintain friendships, and to set a good example for my kids. This past year, after my nine-year-old daughter participated in “Girls on the Run” through school, the whole family, including my wife and six-year-old son competed in the DC Road Runners Bunion Derby series of races. It was extremely gratifying to do so as a family. I ran with the kids and Madelyn finished 1st in her age group, while the rest of us took second in our respective age groups. We were thrilled! It turns out that young kids can run distances!
When did you get started running: I ran as part of my crew team training in high school and college, but only as cross-training. I only realized then that I had any propensity for endurance sports. In grade school, the focus was always on sprinting and I’m still not a very good sprinter.
When Jennifer Hickey completed last year’s Oklahoma City Marathon, there was a big surprise waiting for her at the finish line.
Hickey had dedicated the race to Army Sgt. Daniel Eshbaugh, a member of the Oklahoma National Guard who was killed in September 2008 in a helicopter crash while serving in Iraq.
He was one of the dozens of fallen soldiers honored by the D.C.-based runner last year, in her quest to run at least 53 marathons in 2018 to remember those who died serving their country.
On a cold night in mid-January, Greg and Erin Swiatocha — like so many new parents — booked a babysitter for their 7-month-old son so they could get out of the house and spend time together.
Some couples may have seized the opportunity to visit a nice restaurant, see a movie or grab a drink.
Not the Swiatochas. The Alexandria couple employed the sitter so they could go on an eight-mile run together. It’s one of their favorite things to do together, after all. It’s a chance for this highly skilled running couple catch up on each other’s days and check in on how the other one is doing.
“Most married couples have those talks when they’re cooking together and out on weekends, but we talk on our runs together,” said Erin, a 3:08 marathoner and 1:25 half marathoner. Greg boasts a half marathon PR of 1:13 and a marathon best of 2:44.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, love stories take center stage. And for the running community, those love stories involve couples that share a passion for running PRs, logging dozens of miles and understand grueling training seasons — all while celebrating each other’s victories in the sport.
Brooke Curran should not be alive. On March 17 she should have been alone on a 3-hour training run at Prince William Park in preparation for a 100-mile race.
Luckily enough, the park was closed and she had to relocate to Fountainhead Regional Park where a group of women, total strangers from a Moms Run this Town group invited her to join them on a run. They were chatting about summer race plans and getting to know each other when Curran realized something was wrong, “all of a sudden, it was like a sledge hammer hitting my head.”
Unwilling to leave their new companion behind, especially after she emptied the contents of her stomach several times over, the moms escorted Brooke back to the parking lot where she called her husband to come and get her. Curran believes, “that was the third miracle of the morning.”
Her husband Chris almost never picks up the phone, but for whatever reason, he did that morning. The park was closed, there were other runners with her, and Chris picked up the phone, without this atypical chain of events, Curran may very well not be here with us today.
Name: Leah Williams
Self-described age group: mid 30’s
Residence: Olney, Md. by way of College Park
Occupation: Genetic counselor
Why you run: Running is my time. If I’m running with friends, it’s my time to socialize and be challenged by a group of people who “get me.” If I’m running solo, it’s my time to get whatever I need that day – sometimes I relish the quiet, sometimes I need speed to get out some negative energy, and sometimes I just want to zone out and listen to a great podcast. Either way, it’s my time to dedicate to myself which is otherwise hard to find in my daily life.
When did you get started running: In college. I have a hard time sitting still, and was looking for something to challenge me and get some of my energy out. I never considered myself a runner and thought I was just terrible at it, which was the perfect motivation to see if I could actually do it.