Monumental Runner: Dale Learn

Name: Dale Learn

Self-described age group: 45-49

Residence: Washington, DC

Occupation: Attorney, Law Partner

Volunteer roles in the running world: I have volunteered at several race water stops, finish lines, etc. for my running club, the Potomac Runners. I have also volunteered to coach track and interval training for my club. The most rewarding volunteer roles have been when I have helped get once non-runners into the sport by given advice and training tips.

Why you run: There are SO many reasons why I run. It is SUCH a central element of who I am – It grounds me, makes me feel like I have done something good for myself, is great stress relief, and is a good way to venture out into a new place. Plus, you are never as free as when you are out there and you body is in a good running rhythm and just humming along.

When did you get started running: My oldest brother was a good runner and I enjoyed watching going to his meets, especially cross county. I did local youth track, but started full time running in junior high school and continued through high school and in college (Go Dawgs!!).

Have you taken a break from running: After competing as a middle-distance runner in college, I took a break during law school and some time after to focus on getting my work career started.

Training shoe: Brooks Ricochet

Coach or training group: Training group, the Potomac Runners.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: I was an 800m and 1500m runner in college. Those are brutal races at that level where there is zero margin for error, very physically and mentally stressful. Most non-runners think they are so short and therefore can’t be as hard as long-distance running, but they’d be mistaken. Post college, I am not a good warm weather runner – I sweat a lot – and I have done a marathon or two where the hot weather made my legs cramp near the end. That is torture.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: The things we would do in college to get that little bit of extra speed were strange.

Running mentors: Hicham el Guerrouj, Bernard Lagat, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Sebastian Coe. All legends.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: Burke Lake Park and the C&O Canal Trail

Favorite local trail: Upper Rock Creek Park

My best race was: I am now well outside my prime, so I was proud at 41 that I won overall a 15K in Honolulu. It had a good number of participants. I felt great and smooth that day.

Favorite local race: The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile

Ideal post-run meal: Something sweet and baked, oatmeal, or yogurt. I sometimes have all three. I must have hot coffee too!

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Vanilla Bean Gu

Pet peeve: “Gunners” – People who treat training like a race or run much harder than they should while training with others due to their strangely competitive personality.

Goals: I suffered an injury and had surgery last year (see below). My goal is to get back to being totally comfortable running, then back to racing.

Your advice for a new runner: Be consistent in your training. Listen to your body. Stretch more than you think you should. Many of these lessons I learned the hard way!

Favorite running book: Once a Runner – John L. Parker, Jr.

Song in your head during a run: Who Wants to Live Forever – Queen

Have you dealt with a major injury: I twisted my knee and last year I had orthoscopic surgery. It has taken some time to get back.

Running quote: “Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.” – Unknown

Recent Stories

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.

Running Shorts

Locals contribute to NCAA titles, another Trials qualifier, Prince William County moves toward an indoor track and comments are sought for the Capital Crescent Trail.

Carderock Running Festival Half Marathon

7:30 AM – Half Marathon Start

Run the scenic C&O Towpath!

  • Race Course and Finish Line will be open for 3 1/2 hours.
  • Medals to all half marathon finishers

Packet Pickup
Sunday, May 19th, 6:00 AM – 7:45 AM, on

Revenge of the Penguins

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

Course
– 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

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