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:
- 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
- Girls 4×8 Freedom 9:46.88
- 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.
- A driver killed two pedestrians in a hit-and-run in East Potomac Park near Hains Point on April 24. One of whom was Waldon Adams, who RunWashington had featured eight years before.
- The Virginia High School League held a shortened cross country season in between indoor and outdoor track seasons, with a championship spread out over three days at the Oatlands course in Leesburg. McLean sophomore Thais Rolly won the 6A girls individual title, Colgan senior Bryce Lentz won the 6A boys individual race and the Oakton boys won the 6A team title. Junior Ava Gordon repeated as 4A winner, leading the Loudoun Valley girls to another title. Her teammate senior Matt Smith won the boys’ race, though the Viking boys’ title streak ended at five.
- Georgetown alumna Rachel Schneider won the USATF Road Mile in 4:30.3 in Des Moines, Iowa.
- Everyone had an outdoor track season, with the following local champions in distance events:
- 800 Fajr Kelly Roosevelt 2:20.08
- 1600 Meredith Gotzm an St. John’s 5:09.94
- 3200 Gotzman 11:25.86
- 4×8 Sidwell Friends 10:07.95
- 800 Patrick Donnelly Gonzaga 1:57.45
- 1600 Damian Hackett St. Albans 4:16.77
- 3200 Donnelly 9:48.26
- 4×8 St. John’s 8:27.18
- Maryland 4A
- 800 Jahmei Wyatt Clarksburg 2:16.19
- 1600 Grace Finnegan Richard Montgomery 4:57.88
- 3200 Finnegan 11:07.18
- 800 Tinoda Matsatsa Northwest 1:57.62
- 1600 Matsatsa Northwest 4:15.57
- 3200 Andrew Schell Walter Johnson 9:32.55
- Virginia 6A
- 1600 Anna Macon Corcoran Yorktown 5:07.95
- 3200 Gillian Bushee Herndon 10:51.35
- 4×8 W.T. Woodson 9:33.86
- 800 Xavier Jemison McLean 1:52.97
- 1600 Jemison 4:17:26
- 3200 Bryce Lentz Colgan 9:11.12
- 4×8 West Springfield 8:01.89
- Virginia 5A
- 3200 George Alexander Stone Bridge 9:29.23
- Virginia 4A
- 800 Ava Gordon Loudoun Valley 2:17.27
- 1600 Gordon 4:55.07
- 800 Matthew Smith Loudoun Valley 1:53.27
- 1600 Smith 4:16.78
- Virginia 3A
- 1600 Charlie Blundell Independence 4:27.25
- 3200 Blundell 9:30.29
- 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.
- Several locals made the Olympic Trials in the steeplechase, including Tuscarora alumni Derek Johnson and Fistum Seyoum, Lake Braddock alumna Katy Kunc and Chantilly alumnus Sean McGorty.
- Georgetown’s Robert Brandt probably raced more in Eugene, Ore. at the NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials than anyone.
- University of Maryland Associate Head Track Coach Danielle Siebert served as event manager with USATF during the Olympics.
- Georgetown alumni raced at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, with Rachel Schneider running the 5,000 meters for the United States and Amos Bartelsmeyer racing the 1,500 meters for Germany.
- Sidwell Friends alumna and D.C. cross country champion Taylor Knibb made the Olympic triathlon team.
- Abbabiya Simbassa and Nell Rojas won U.S. 10-mile championships during the fall Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.
- Almost 350 locals finished the fall Boston Marathon. Reston’s Susanna Sullivan finished as the fourth American at the Boston Marathon, running 2:33:22 and D.C.’s Nathan Bickell, an Annapolis native, was the fastest local runner in 2:29:54.
- 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.
- St. John’s swept the D.C. state meet, and St. Albans’ Pierre Attiogbe and Maret senior Marissa Poe won individual titles.
- Walter Johnson’s girls and Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s Varri Higgins won Maryland 4A titles, and Poolesville won the 2A boys title and had the 2A girls champion in Daisy Dastrup.
- In Virginia, Oakton’s boys and Loudoun Valley’s girls repeated as team champions in 6A and 4A, with Yorktown senior Owen McArdle, Battlefield sophomore Sailor Eastman (both 6A) and Loudoun Valley seniors Graham Mussmon and Ava Gordon (4A) winning individual titles.
- McArdle, Gordon and McLean junior Thais Rolly qualified for the Eastbay Cross Country Championships.
- As winners of the Stone Mill 50 Mile Saturday in Montgomery County, Nicolas Crozier and Kristen Kelman won RRCA Ultrarunning titles for 2021.
- The George Washington and Georgetown women’s teams won their respective conference cross country championships.
- A slew of college runners raced the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
- After a year off, RunWashington named its postseason All-RunWashington team.
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.
Born in 1984 as the George Washington Parkway Classic, it is among the most scenic and spacious distance races on the East Coast. From the serene beauty of our spacious course meandering through the finest spring bloom in the DC