Name: Daniel Ahern
Self – described age group: 50-54
Residence: Logan Circle
Occupation: Public Affairs
Why you run: To beat my little brother. Every summer we meet in Falmouth, Mass., with family and friends to race seven miles through the shady early hills, then the exposed beach segment towards the mile five Allen Avenue cheering station, while turning for home up to the hill with a fast finish on the downslope. The loser has to adorn the champion with a medal and recite “you are the better runner this year, and I only hope to be your equal.” I haven’t had to say those words in many years. I could probably slow my pace and make these races competitive, but I only know one speed. And before you start feeling sorry for him, he’s a Jets fan. He’s used to losing.
When did you get started running: I began running at 11 years old with my father. He occasionally would run two miles on a golf course in the morning. I would run barefoot in my blue satin basketball shorts, and it was magical. Those early runs gave me alone time with dad that I never took for granted. I now have a two-year-old, and I hope to share the same experience.
Have you taken a break from running: Yes. I have taken breaks due to life issues, but I always find my way back.
Training shoe: Currently I’m on my thirf pair of the Adidas Boston 7. They are lightweight, responsive, and hold my heel in place.
Coach or training group: Saturday morning 15th & P. This group is fast, of which I’m not. I usually get dropped in the early miles and meet back at Whole Foods. I love the friendships that have developed on these long runs.
The hardest race you’ve ever run: JFK 50 2018 – I was unprepared for the conditions on the AT section and paid for it later in the race. I was walking around mile 49 and heard a click, click sound. It was in a rhythm and getting closer, so I turned around and saw Adam Popp passing me. Google him – I now had zero excuses and crossed the finish line running. We hung out for a bit after the race talking about the course and life in general. It’s these kinds of moments that are unique to running.
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I don’t know that I have. I was scheduled to race TNF 50 in San Francisco last year but it was cancelled due to the wildfires. So I jumped into JFK last min.
Running mentors: It began with my HS cross country coach Dan Brown. My running foundation grew from his workouts. We would run light miles before morning classes and hammer miles after school. Coach Brown would follow on his bike, never barking orders but coaching us to improvements. For away meets, he would have 9 of us pile into this old jeep wagoneer, along with his dog.
My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: If you check my Strava, you would see up Mass Ave to Cathedral is my go-to route. It’s a quick up and back seven miler I can do in my sleep. I’ve also included a loop around Macomb and down Connecticut. I call this California Parks, as the route shape resembles California. Kudos to Mike Parks for naming rights.
Favorite local trail: Western Ridge or anything in Rock Creek.
My best race was: Recently, it was Chicago. I had a good training cycle but still felt uneasy. Just not sure. The heat in August slowed a lot of my longer runs and gave me pause leading up to race day. I ran the first half slower than expected but picked it up at mile 15 to the finish. Negative splits and a PR.
Favorite local race: Crystal City Twilighter. Yes it’s hot, and most times you’re running through the rain, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Ideal post run meal: Something with avocado, rice, tofu, bread, and a cappuccino.
Favorite flavor of gel, gu etc: depending on the length of the run, I’ll carry a cliff peanut butter bar for more extensive efforts. Shorter runs Maurten gel 100. I like how it tastes like nothing.
Pet peeve: “on your left!” or uber / lyft drivers who park in the crosswalks
Goals: For 2019 BQ and Sub 19:30 5k. Both of these are within reach and will be achieved. Long term goals are to run Western States or UTMB CCC. But to accomplish these goals with a young lad underfoot one needs to have a supportive spouse, partner or friend. I’m lucky Alexis’ answer is just go. And it must be said there is a delicate balance to all of this. Family goals come first then all others.
Your advice for a new runner: Surround yourself with like-minded people who love running.
Favorite running book: Running with the Buffaloes
Song in your head during a run: Baby Shark
Have you dealt with a major injury: no – shhh we don’t want to upset the injury gods
Running quote: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” – Pre
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: The community of runners and trail system. I moved here in 2014 and immediately found Pacers’ fun runs. Elyse Braner, Nubbins and coach Steve lead the runs all around the district. I walked in, not knowing anyone and have forged relationships based on running. Elyse does more for others than anyone I’ve ever met. If you’re new to running or looking for a group I highly recommend Pacers on 14th.