When Zach Gallin wants to hang out with some of his closest friends on any given day, he knows to show up at the Bishop John Carroll Statue in Georgetown at 5 pm.
That’s where the Georgetown University Running Club, which has about 80 active members this year, meets to log some miles and have lots of fun along the way.
“It was one of the first things I joined at Georgetown,” said Gallin, a junior who recently became the club’s president. “It became the centerpiece of my life.”
For college students like Gallin who love to run and crave a team-like environment, club running has become a popular alternative to joining the varsity track or cross country team.
When Jennifer Hickey completed last year’s Oklahoma City Marathon, there was a big surprise waiting for her at the finish line.
Hickey had dedicated the race to Army Sgt. Daniel Eshbaugh, a member of the Oklahoma National Guard who was killed in September 2008 in a helicopter crash while serving in Iraq.
He was one of the dozens of fallen soldiers honored by the D.C.-based runner last year, in her quest to run at least 53 marathons in 2018 to remember those who died serving their country.
Allison Bourg Sauntry works in social media marketing for a hospital and has been writing for RunWashington since 2019. She dissected road race t-shirt design earlier this year.
Read more of her work here.
Name: Allison Bourg Sauntry
Self-described age group: One year away from being able to run in the Masters category
Residence: Edgewater, Md.
Occupation: Social media marketing for a local hospital; freelance writer as time permits
Volunteer roles in the running world: I’m an ambassador for Rip It Events in Howard County, helping to spread the word about our races on social media and volunteering at events, too.
Why you run: It’s a stress release, it’s a way for me to set goals outside of work and I think it’s really fun!
When did you get started running: In my 20s, I ran on the treadmill and took aerobics classes to stay in shape, but wasn’t particularly serious about it. When I moved to Annapolis in 2011, I joined a local gym (coincidentally, I met my husband there while he was training for his first marathon!) and religiously hit the treadmill every day as an escape from my stressful job as a newspaper reporter. However, I was intimidated by running outside and thought that was something “real runners” did. In 2012, my friend Staci wanted to do a Halloween 5K, so I signed up for that with her. I had a blast and registered for a Turkey Trot in my hometown the next month. The following year, I decided to run the Annapolis Ten Mile Run, which was the first “big” race I had ever done. That race has a special place in my heart for that reason. Now, I run outside more than I do on the treadmill.
Have you taken a break from running: Nope! Hope I never have to!
Training shoe: Brooks Ghost
Coach or training group: 5 Peaks Martial Arts Academy in Millersville, Md. — I’ve been taking kickboxing classes there for five years, and my friends from there and I run a lot of races together, too.
The hardest race you’ve ever run: The Asheville Half Marathon in North Carolina. I think that whole race was uphill.
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I think choosing to run my first marathon (the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon) was an adventurous decision. It was never something I thought I would do– 26.2 miles is really far! As mentioned above, I met my husband at the gym while he was training for the Baltimore Marathon, and he clearly remembers me telling him “I could never do that.” But I did! And now I have run seven marathons, including Boston.
Running mentors: My friend Matt, owner of 5 Peaks, has been a huge source of encouragement to me throughout my running journey (as well as to many others in our school). This extends beyond running — he and his wife Kree, another close friend of mine, even talked me into doing my first triathlon this summer and were there to support me throughout my training and on race day!
My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: The C&O Towpath is a really nice place to run when I am in D.C.!
Favorite local trail: B&A Trail in Annapolis, Quiet Waters Park, also in Annapolis
My best race was: The 2017 Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. I went in with a goal of getting a Boston Qualifer for 2019 and I ran 3:35:00, five minutes faster than my qualifying standard of 3:40. It was the kind of race where EVERYTHING went my way. Awesome weather, I felt great, and I think I even ran a negative split. It was the perfect marathon.
Favorite local race: Annapolis Ten Mile Run, hands down, no question. I look forward to it all year.
Ideal post-run meal: Varies, but I love a nice cold craft beer after running.
Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Gu’s Toasted Marshmallow!
Pet peeve: Drivers who honk at me when I am running! If I know you, half the time I can’t tell who you are anyway. And if I don’t know you…. don’t honk at me.
Goals: Right now, I have my sights set on a sub-1:40 half (sub-1:40 by 40 is my new motto), and a 2021 BQ at Coastal Delaware Running Festival in April.
Your advice for a new runner: Don’t worry about your speed and try not to compare yourself to others. Just get out there. New to racing? Finishing is the most important part! Improvement comes with experience.
Favorite running book: I really enjoyed Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Fascinating story and would recommend to any runner, whether you are new to the sport or have been running for years.
Song in your head during a run: When I am running outside, I don’t listen to music, but Living on a Prayer sneaks into my head a lot– it’s a good running anthem. On the treadmill, I listen to a lot of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, ’90s R&B and Earth Wind and Fire…… I’m not the biggest fan of most of today’s music, haha!
Have you dealt with a major injury: Nothing major, though I did strain my calf last fall and was out for a few days. I’ve been lucky with injuries and I think my cross-training at kickboxing helps with that.
Running quote: Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Applicable to all areas of life, not just running!
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: Lots of races to choose from, good competition and people here love to run and stay fit and motivate others to do the same — it’s just a great community to be a part of!