Washington, DC

Name: Justine Bello

Self-described age group: 30s

Residence: Kingman Park, Washington DC

Occupation: Conservator at the National Park Service

Why you run: I love working hard: it brings me joy and satisfaction. I am my best self when I run.

When did you get started running: I was a middle distance runner in high school

Have you taken a break from running: I stopped running through college and graduate school, but started again when I moved to DC (2007)

Training shoe: Brooks Ghost 12

Coach or training group: Self-coached? Due to my crazy schedule I mostly run solo, but I run with Summit to Soul or Pacers when I can for the great company.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: It will be the Antelope Canyon 55k I’m running next weekend.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I committed to becoming faster than ever after two pregnancies, and I did.

Running mentors: Personally? I’ve never had one. In the public running world, I deeply respect and am inspired by Rob Krar and Kara Goucher.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  I work at the National Mall, so running there is pretty special to me. I highly recommend running to the Lincoln Memorial at night.

Favorite local trail:  The Western Ridge/Valley Trail loop in Rock Creek Park

My best race was: Tie between the Richmond Half Marathon 2019 and the Courage to Run 5k 2019 (1st place female!)

Favorite local race: the Potomac River Run Marathon

Ideal post-run meal: After long morning runs: breakfast tacos, coffee, and a really soft, yeasty doughnut

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Cinnamon Honey Stinger waffles

Pet peeve: Having chips but no salsa, or having salsa but no chips

Goals: To have an incredible experience at my first ultra next weekend, and to infuse a life-long love of running in my two young boys.

Your advice for a new runner:  Play the long game.

Favorite running book: Born to Run

Song in your head during a run: “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys or “My Shot” from Hamilton

Have you dealt with a major injury: I’ve been fortunate to stay exceptionally healthy, although building back my base after pregnancy was tough.

Running quote: Get comfortable with discomfort.

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  The variety and opportunities to run in D.C. are nearly endless. Whether you like road or trail running, solo or group running, day or night running, DC has you covered. It keeps running both accessible and inclusive: whoever your running people are, you’ll find them here.

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