All-RunWashington: Louis Colson, Edison

Edison's Louis Colson flanked by teammates  Monty Westendorff (5174) and Joe McAlister (354) at the 2013 Crystal City Twilighter. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography
Edison’s Louis Colson flanked by teammates Monty Westendorff (5174) and Joe McAlister (354) at the 2013 Crystal City Twilighter. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

Riding high on his trip to the Virginia state track championships as a freshman, Thomas A. Edison’s Louis Colson got overconfident going into his second year of cross country.

Overconfident, but certainly not lazy.

“I ended up overtraining and straining my calf,” he said, more than two years removed from discovering his injury-tipping point. “I thought my body could handle more than it could, and that ended up following me though a lot of that year. It was a good learning experience, though. I found out how hard I could push myself and stay healthy after that.”

With more time, though, he was back at it. His junior year, he was a nose away from finishing third at the state meet. His senior year, he was unbeatable in the commonwealth, regularly running low-15-minute 5k pace for all of his races. In the 5A state championship, he put his 30-second winning margin together in just the last two miles, also giving his team the low stick for their eighth place finish.

“That was our goal, getting the team to the state meet,” he said. “A lot of guys worked a long time for that.”

It seems like a lot of the team’s momentum started building in 2012, when the team started doing its workouts on a grassy field, a departure from the track Colson said had a big benefit.

“We got used to the holes, the rocks and made our ankles a lot stronger,” he said. “It was a lot more like running a cross country race.”

As a middle school student, Colson didn’t know what cross country was. When his physical education teacher, Bernie Flynn, got a glimpse of his speed, she appealed to him to try it out. It took a little while for him to give up on soccer, “but I really loved running,” he said.

His senior season included a trip to the Footlocker Cross Country Championships, thanks to a fourth place finish in the south regional, one second ahead of 5A rival Mackenzie Haight of George C. Marshall. Colson finished 32nd at the national finals, which he chalks up to a conservative start to the race.

“Throughout the entire first mile, I couldn’t take two steps without almost kicking someone,” he said. “I hadn’t been in a race like that before, with more than two or three people running with me. I wish I had gone out and led a little, so I could have run like I’m used to.”

In contrast, his best race of the year, physically and mentally, was the Oatlands Invitational in late September in Leesburg.  As was his strategy all year, he hung back in a pack that included top runners from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, including Virginia 6A champion Jack Stoney of Oakton and Maryland 2A champion, Poolesville’s Chase Weaverling, plus Haight. He burst into the lead halfway though and ran away from the pack on a extremely hilly third mile.

Outside of running, he spends most of his time playing the trumpet and “studying as much as I can. I don’t do a ton of activities, but what I do, I want to make sure I can do really well.”

In the fall, he’ll go to Harvard, where he plans to run cross country and study applied math.

“I’ve always been a math guy, and lately I’ve become a physics guy,” he said. “I’m not sure what I want to apply math to, but I’ll figure it out when I get to college.”

Recent Stories

  Looking for our race calendar? Click here   Submit races here or shop local for running gear  

Race pacing for fun and fitness

A break from racing one of my favorite events gave me a chance to help other runners reach their time goals.

Eight local runners will compete in the Olympic Marathon Trials Saturday morning in Orlando.

Running Shorts

St. Albans alumnus wins club cross country championship.

Kensington 8K Race

Since 1994, the Kensington 8K Race has been a favorite DC area fall race – a fun, fast event with beauty, challenge, and excitement. Run it this year on Saturday, September 21, 2024!

The 8K distance is $39, with a

Revenge of the Penguins

– C&O Canal Towpath, Carderock Recreation Area,
Clara Barton Parkway, Potomac, MD

– On the historic C&O Canal Towpath
between Mile post 2.0 & Mile post 12.0.
– Flat, shady, tree-lined, with scenic riverside vistas
the course you


Subscribe to our mailing list