The year in running 2021

While the Marine Corps Marathon’s cancellation (again) led the local running news in 2021, that didn’t deter local runners from setting new goals and continuing to pursue the sport they loved.

In the meantime, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler demonstrated, with a successful U.S. 10-mile championship, that outdoor races could work locally during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in September, most fall races were held as usual, with some rescheduled spring races joining them. Throughout the year, runners did their solo races. New runners discovered the joy of lacing up their shoes. People tried new challenges. They chased times.

They healed their bodies. They worked to make the sport more welcoming. They tried out cool new places to run. High school cross country runners resumed their fall seasons (and Virginians had a bonus spring season). Little by little, events figured out how to bring people back to the starting line. 

You can start making plans for 2022 by checking out RunWashington’s race calendar here or entering your race information for the calendar here.

Since everyone seems to be remarking about how this year felt like five, here’s some of what happened in the local running scene:

  • DDOT began several improvement projects in Rock Creek Park, including:
    • A pedestrian bridge to the south of the zoo tunnel
    • Reconstruction of the “zoo loop” that had eroded into the creek several years ago
    • Repair of the retaining wall along Piney Branch Parkway
    • Rebuilding sections of the Rock Creek and Western Ridge paved paths
  • Potomac River Running closed its D.C. store but opened a new one in South Riding.
  • Virginia held an indoor track season, with local champions in several distance events: 
    • 6A
      • 3200 Gillian Bushee Herndon 11:07.52
      • 4×8 West Springfield 9:48.11
      • 1600 Zach Morse Oakton 4:16.73
      • 3200 Bryce Lentz Colgan 9:23.25
      • 4×8 West Springfield 8:09.89
    • 5A 
      • Girls 4×8 Freedom  9:46.88
    • 3A
      • Boys 3200 Charlie Blundell Independence 9:27.99
  • Marine Corps Marathon record holder Jeff Scruffins died at 58 in March.
  • In early April, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced vaccinations were on pace to allow outdoor races to resume at 50 percent capacity.  
  • A $10 million grant from the state of Maryland will go to extending the Powerline Trail in Montgomery County by 7.6 miles, work that will begin in 2022 and eventually connect South Germantown Park to Cabin John Regional Park.

D.C. runner Waldon Adams among two killed in Hains Point hit-and-run

  • George Washington University hired Georgetown alumna Sam Nadel and District Track Club’s Quamel Prince as assistant coaches. American University hired Tyra Massey as an assistant coach.
  • Former D.C. resident Brittany Peterson wrote, directed and edited a short film about two runners completing ultramarathons in D.C. during the pandemic. Learn more here
  • Loudoun Valley coach Joan Hunter started coaching on the professional level for Tinman Elite.
  • The new dual trail portion of the W&OD Trail opened in Falls Church. The altered section of trail features an 11-foot-wide path for cycling, an 8-foot-wide path for walkers, and a 2-foot-wide colored and textured median between the two paths to separate trail users traveling at different speeds.
  • The Potomac Valley Track Club, fielded many by D.C.-area residents, finished second overall at the USATF Masters Track and Field Championships, scoring a combined 433 points in men’s and women’s events to the So Cal Track Club’s 666.

Leesburg steepling pair moves on at NCAAs

D.C. native Taylor Knibb makes U.S. Olympic triathlon team

Pace the Nation – Jordan Tropf

  • Silver Spring’s Jordan Tropf ran three marathons in three days: Baltimore, Chicago and Boston, with some excitement along the way
  • Heritage alumna Weini Kelati broke the America 10k road racing record at the Boston 10k for Women, running 31:18. Kelati and Loudoun Valley alumnus Drew Hunter won USATF 5k titles at the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line in New York.
  • Cross country resumed its fall schedule. 

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