Name: Shannon O’Neil
Self-described age group: 25-29
Residence: NE, DC
Volunteer roles in the running world: I’ve previously volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run, and when I’m not running them myself, I can often be spotted spectating my heart out at local races.
How has your running changed in the last six months: I’ve battled a couple of injuries and basically given up on running with other people, but I’m also more grateful than ever for the days that I’m able to start my morning with a run.
Why you run: To experience something bigger than myself. Sometimes that’s the thrill of a race, or the camaraderie from a group workout. But sometimes it’s just getting to see the sun rise over the Anacostia River.
When did you get started running: I was a collegiate rower and took up distance running after a fractured sternum effectively ended my rowing career.
Have you taken a break from running: I’ve taken a couple of breaks to rehab injuries in recent years and will also occasionally take a couple of weeks off when traveling or on vacation.
Training shoe: Saucony Kinvara
Coach or training group: Coached by Caitlun Tateishi and delinquent member of Track Pack D.C.
The hardest race you’ve ever run: Probably the NYC Marathon in 2019. I was coming off an injury and didn’t give that course the respect it deserves (it was my first time). It took a lot of internal bargaining to make it to Central Park. Still an amazing experience, though.
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Training for my first marathon! I had no idea what I was doing, completely flubbed my nutrition, and still somehow managed a BQ.
Running mentors: Nora Ayers at Fleet Feet in Carrboro, N.C. and Cait Tateishi here in D.C., of course.
My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Vastly underrated, in my opinion.
Favorite local trail: The loops around “Mount Hamilton” in the National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
My best race was: Boston 2016. I went in with no expectations and had an absolute blast.
Favorite local race: Parkway Classic. Flat, fast, and scenic!
Ideal post-run meal: A giant muffin and an oat milk latte in the morning, beer and a burrito in the evening.
Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I usually use Honey Stinger’s Ginsting gels, but I also have an embarrassing fondness for Gu’s Hoppy Trails gels.
Pet peeve: People who bike on the sidewalk.
Goals: Break 3 hours in the marathon and achieve the mythical work-life balance.
Your advice for a new runner: Start slow, but don’t let that discourage you from getting out there and engaging with the running community. If you run–no matter how fast–you’re a runner.
Favorite running book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Song in your head during a run: Like a Girl by Lizzo
Have you dealt with a major injury: Other than my fractured sternum in college, I’ve been fortunate to only have relatively short-lived soft tissue injuries.
Running quote: “I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: There’s no shortage of amazing places to run, and the running community is as diverse and welcoming as they come.
Divided lanes coming to Hains Point, safety measures in the works for the Mount Vernon Trail, three locals make national high school XC meet, local collegians race at NCAAs.
St. Albans and GVS’s Vivian Kelly won their first DC cross country titles while St. Johns’ girls and St. Albans’ Pierre Attiogbe repeated.
Beach Drive remains closed to through traffic year-round, locals win conference, USATF titles.
Capt. Kyle King won the Marine Corps Marathon, a year after he planned to make his debut at the race, and Chelsea Baker of the British Royal Navy made tremendous strides winning the women’s race.
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