Washington, DC

On Feb. 29, runners competing in the Olympic Marathon Trials will race a rough, hilly course in downtown Atlanta. Caroline Bauer will feel right at home, having started her journey there on similar terrain.

Four years and one day prior, she took off on the RRCA Club Challenge course in her then-hometown of Columbia, Md. It’s one of the tougher courses in Maryland, one that forces runners to scrap relative time goals and focus on the race’s inter-club competition. That didn’t shake Bauer, though, as she ran 1:01:33, finishing less than one minute behind Julia Roman-Duval, her Howard County Striders teammate who had finished 50th at the Marathon Trials two weeks before.

“I thought if I could run 65 (minutes) and change, that would be awesome,” she said. “I was trying to tuck into a pack, but at four miles I felt like it was too slow. I ended up negative splitting every mile on the course. I didn’t know where that came from.”

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Running Shorts

  • The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is having a community meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss designs of the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel and surface route through Bethesda.
  • Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich did not include any money in his budget proposal for the county’s for a tunnel to carry the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Avenue.
  • The Marine Corps Marathon has permanently banned a 55-year-old woman from its race series after an investigation showed she had cut several race courses over four years. A consistent absence of on-course photos and timing mat data helped the race organization come to that conclusion.
  • St. John’s College High School’s Desmond Dunham was named the National Federation of High School Associations Coaches Association’s girls’ track and field national coach of the year.
  • Dunham and Gonzaga College High School’s John Ausema were named cross country coach of the year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Name: Nate Rathjen

Self-described age group: slowly admitting I’m not a recent college grad anymore (25)

Residence: Historic downtown Leesburg!

Occupation: IT guy

Volunteer roles in the running world: Treasurer, Loudoun Road Runners

Why you run: What’s not to love? It’s free. I love exploring on foot. I meet awesome people. It’s a really time-efficient way to stay in shape. Also, I’d be lying if I said part of it wasn’t being able to eat whatever I want. Food’s a big motive.

When did you get started running: Actually, it all started when I ended up on UVA’s club quidditch team in 2012, my first year there. If you’re wondering what that looks like as a sport, combine basketball, rugby, and dodgeball, move the whole thing outside, and you’re close! Later that fall someone started group runs to work on the team’s conditioning, we became training partners, and the rest is history.

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Sarah Anyan’s feet hurt, and her shoes weren’t going to make things much better. But as much as she and Tyler loved running, they weren’t going to walk down the aisle in cushioned trainers. 

So, months of plantar pain be damned, she danced and had a great time at her wedding. And when she woke up, she felt…better. 

It was a little more than three months until the California International Marathon. 

“I felt like I could for a run and it didn’t hurt all the time, something changed,” she said. “I can at least run through whatever I felt — before it hurt to walk.”

When the couple got back to their Arlington home, Sarah joined Tyler for their family goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. 

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Name: Hannah A.

Self-described age group: Millennial (25)

Residence: Crystal City

Occupation: Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist

Why you run: Because I can! Running has not only helped keep me in shape but also allowed me to achieve some of my biggest dreams and goals. Plus, living in this area, it’s the perfect excuse to do some local sightseeing!

When did you get started running: I ran JV cross-country all four years in high school and ran here and there throughout college until the summer before my junior year when I decided to train for a half marathon. That was August 2014, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

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Chip time doesn’t mean a thing while chasing an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. It was going to be up to Rachel Viger to hurry across the starting line at the California International Marathon, then run the 26.2 miles even faster than the 2:45:00 qualifying time. 

She wound up taking 12 seconds to get across the starting line because she didn’t make the elite start, coming into the Dec. 8 race with just a 3:03:59 personal best, set a year before at the Marine Corps Marathon. From that alone, running under 2:45, plus those extra seconds, would seem daunting. But she did it, with 46 seconds to spare.

“She was a 3:03 marathoner but she wasn’t really a 3:03 marathoner,” said Capital Area Runners Coach George Buckheit. “It looks shocking to a lot of people, but most people don’t realize how good she was in high school and college.” 

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Running along the C&O Canal Towpath last fall, Dan Meteer bumped into Arlingtonians Mike Crozier and Clint McKelvey. Typically a solo runner, Meteer joined them, and listened to the two discuss a friend’s marathon training.

By Meteer’s retelling, they expressed skepticism their friend was running enough to help him break 2:19 and qualify him for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Approaching his own debut marathon at California International a few months later, Meteer, 24, was eager to hear their opinions, then horrified.

“I’m just like oh god, they’re basically talking about me,” he said. “I decided, ‘screw it, I’m going to run 100 miles a week.'”

It was a risky move for a guy who spent most of five years at Brown going from injury to injury, still new to having consecutive months’ worth of training. But the gamble paid off, and he ran 2:17:43 in his first marathon.

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Do you want want to start 2020 with a race? Establish a standard for running for the new year? Lean into the punch after a New Year’s Eve party? Want to enjoy some unseaonable warmth? Do you just want to run with some other people? A variety of races and running events are yours for the striding, and three – The New Year’s Day 5k in Reston, the New Year’s Day 5k in Gaithersburg and the Predicitions and Resolutions 5k – are among RunWashington’s 2020 ranked races.

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Photo: Swim Bike Run Photography

Name: Tyler Eckhoff

Self-described age group: 30-34

Residence: Alexandria

Occupation: 6th/7th grade history and science teacher in the International Academy at Francis C. Hammond Middle School (ACPS) and boys’ long distance coach for T.C. Williams High School (cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field)

Why you run: This is a very loaded question. I could answer it differently every time I’m asked. Right now I’ll say for me running is nostalgic and uplifting. It’s hard to be in a bad mood post-run.

When did you get started running: I ran 400’s and the 4X100 my junior year of high school but moved to bigger and better distances my senior year. I have been running since.

Have you taken a break from running: After every marathon, I take about a month off to focus on pizza consumption. I also catch up on things that I have let running prioritize over leading up to the marathon, but mainly I eat pizza.

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Jenna Goldberg leads the senior race at the DCXC Invitational. Photo: Dustin Whitlow

With two 10th place teams at Nike Cross Nationals, another individual qualifier and two girls in the top 20 at Foot Locker, the annual report for the D.C. area’s cross country circuit was quite strong. Loudoun Valley’s girls return much of their team, as do Lake Braddock’s girls, Oakton’s boys, Walter Johnson’s girls and St. John’s boys and girls. The season lacked 2018’s rain-related meet cancellations, and on a personal note, I was pleased to have state meets on three consecutive weekends, rather than two in one day.

Their pant cuffs still soaked with mud from a season that barely gave them time to dry off, our coaches panel of John Ausema Jim Ehrenhaft, Emily Farrar, Kevin Hughes, Mike Mangan, Kellie Redmond,  Giovanni Reumante, Chris Pellegrini, Chad Young all had input into the selection of post-season honors for 62 of the D.C. area’s top cross country runners. While races at the end of the season held the most weight, the coaches did not discount mid-season achievements.

They chose the top 10 boys and girls overall, along with second teams — seven each from — Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and the Maryland suburbs.

I’ve begun moving our photos from cross country races (there are a few college and open races in there too) and road races to a SmugMug page – you can see them here. You can also read all of this season’s cross country coverage here.

See all the post-season picks for  Maryland   Washington, D.C.   Northern Virginia

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