Runners make their way down Clarendon Boulevard. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography
Runners make their way down Clarendon Boulevard. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

Run and repeat.

That’s what 286 runners opted to do at the Clarendon Day 5k and 10k, both of which started with a more-than-one-mile drop down Clarendon Boulevard into Rosslyn. The brave 5k runners were on the clock to get back to the top of the hill by 9:05 at the latest to start the 10k.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Double results [/button-red] Rachel Schneider ambitiously opted for both and her combined time of 51:40 not only easily outdistanced second place doubler Kayley Cerney‘s 1:03:41, but she broke both course records in the process. Her 16:26 5k shaved off Katie Read‘s 16:54 from 2009, and her 35:14 10k gouged almost 90 seconds from Lisa Baumert‘s 36:42 the same year.

“I just finished five years of running at Georgetown University for cross country and track, and I still train under women’s head coach Mike Smith,” Schneider, 23, said. “So we just kind of figured that we would use this as a good workout to see where I’m at. The crowd here is so awesome. It really made me feel good and got me pretty fired up.

Schneider also used the opportunity to speak about her alma mater and its track and cross country program.

“Georgetown has such a phenomenal team. There is a great group of girls over there who are just working so hard. I feel lucky to be able to train with them and help them out.”

Alexandria’s Landon Peacock broke Steve Hallinan‘s 14:43 course record with his 14:37 win over Mike Franklin. Marathoner/ultramarathoner Mike Wardian proved he isn’t out of speed at 40 by running a 15:17/32:13 double, leading the male doublers. Kevin McNab just missed Matt DeBole‘s 30:24 10k record with his 30:37 winning time.

The highly-trafficked Clarendon neighborhood received a dramatic makeover on September 27 as street vendors and exhibitors’ tents replaced vehicles and littered typically-busy Wilson Boulevard for Clarendon Day 2014.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] 5k results [/button-red]“I think it’s a very festive atmosphere – beginning with the run and ending with the daylong street fair here in Clarendon,” John Brittain said. There are a good combination of fun runners and competitive runners. We’ve seen families running together, recreational runners and a few speedsters. Everything blends well on a morning like this.”

Cousins Candace Inghram (30:52) and Janelle Freeman (30:35) made Clarendon Day 2014 a family affair as the two participated in the 5k event. For Inghram, the race was a first. The cousins donned matching gray-and-pink T-shirts emblazoned with “Will Run for Wine” and set out on the three-mile course.

“I found out about the race from Janelle. She runs a lot and is always posting pictures of her races on Instagram, so I wanted to participate,” Inghram, 33, an Indianapolis, Ind., resident said. “I was nervous all week but Janelle told me that it was just a 5K – I had no idea even how long that was –   and that I would make it. I made it.”

Freeman, 31, said she hopes Saturday’s race is the first of many the two will run together.

“I’m glad she made it through her first race. Pacers always puts on good races. I knew that it would be a fun, easy event for her to do. It was a lot of fun and today was a great day for running,” the Alexandria resident said.

The fun did not end with the adults.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] 10k results [/button-red]Stephen Lagarde slowly walked along Fillmore Street as he shepherded his two young daughters, Cate and Evie. Both girls’ sets of eyes remained locked on the gold medals they just received, and their little fingers tightly gripped the trinkets.

After a bit of confusion at the start of the race, Lagarde said the family was finally on its way.

“We lined up by age – there was a little chaos as everyone tried to figure out where to go – and when the dust settled and it was time to run, we fell to the back of the pack,” Lagarde, 35, who lives in Clarendon, said. “We’re proud to say that we were dead last out of the two hundred or so people that were in the race.”

And although Lagarde’s five, and two-and-a-half year old daughters were far too preoccupied with their medals to speak for themselves, their father said the three will likely run again.

“I suspect we’ll be back again next year. We didn’t know what to expect today, but now we do,” Lagarde said.

In early May of 2010, Anthony Cook sat in one of the rooms at Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center. Cook, a lifelong asthma sufferer, had just become the world’s first successful bronchial thermoplasty procedure patient. Prior to three-operation procedure, Cook said mere breathing was a daunting task.

“I was on oxygen, I was in bed and I was on tons of medication,” the 51-year-old Herndon resident said.

On Saturday, he stood in front of Whitlow’s on Wilson, barley able to contain his excitement. He set a personal best with a time of just over 22 minutes in the 5k event. It was a fitting ending to an already-remarkable day.

“The morning has been emotional. I love Arlington because I had the procedure here and it saved my life,” Cook said. “To be able to come across the finish line in the fastest time that I’ve ever run, just added even more emotions to it. I love to speak about the procedure because I want other asthmatics, who want to run, to be able to know about it. It really means a lot to me.”

15May 2013
Waldon Adams. Photo: Jimmy Daly

Waldon Adams was killed, along with Rhonda Whitaker, April 24, 2021 in a hit-and-run while the pair was walking in East Potomac Park near Hains Point.

Waldon Adams’ body went numb while the words poured from the physician’s mouth. As he sat aghast on a gurney in the emergency room at the Howard University Hospital, each word uttered by the doctor drove the invisible dagger deeper into his rapidly-beating heart.

To him, it just was not fair. While he admitted to routinely using freebase cocaine – cocaine dissolved by heat to be purified before use – for nearly two decades, he adamantly denied ever injecting the drug intravenously. But he said he did have an idea of how he contracted the deadly virus.

This was not really happening. Surely, it must be a mistake. The only health obstacles Adams faced up until this point in his life were infrequent bouts with asthma. Now, he listened as a stranger gave him the somber news that would ultimately alter his life. Adams had tested positive for HIV.

“When I first received the diagnosis, I was really upset. I was really devastated,” said Adams, who recently celebrated his 52nd birthday. “I cried and was admitted to the psychiatric ward. When I was released from the ward three days later, the first thing I did was get high. I figured that I was going to die anyway.”

Adams said he initially wanted to commit suicide to escape the shock and pain caused by the seemingly finality of his 2004 diagnosis.

“I was going to get a hotel room, take some pills, drink and die. That was my plan,” he said.

“I had a girl who I used to know come over to my apartment and use drugs,” Adams recalled. “I never used IV drugs, and I didn’t know that she used them either. I remember putting something in the trash one day and I felt something prick my hand. When I checked, I noticed that [the needle] drew blood. I never saw her again after that.”

A lifelong District resident, Adams grew up in the Riggs Park neighborhood of upper Northeast with two brothers he still remains close with to this day. His father worked for the United States Postal Service and mother as a beautician. Adams said although he hated running as a child because of his asthma, he enjoyed the football games against the other neighborhood children at the Lamont-Riggs Park Boys Club where he usually played running back or wide receiver because of his blazing speed.

“We used to have this game we played in elementary school where someone would throw the ball up in the air and we’d all go after the person who caught it,” Adams recalled with a laugh. “I was pretty good at it so they all recommended that I play running back for our local little league team.”

However, those days were now behind him. The innocence was gone. With his new diagnosis, life as he knew it appeared to be over. But his inspiration to live came in an unlikely form: running.

Running not only allows Adams to remain active and healthy, it also serves as his therapeutic outlet. He initially committed himself to the sport four years ago during a month-long hospital stay. “The first week I was in there I’d run for at least 40 minutes, just around the hospital bed,” he said. “I did it every morning. The hospital staff got used to me and it was like I was going out for a jog. I felt good. I felt confident and stronger. I hadn’t felt like that in years. All of sudden, I felt like a human again.”

In January, Adams competed in the Goofy Challenge during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in Florida – his seventh marathon coupled with a half marathon the day before- and intends to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll U.S.A. Marathon March 16 in Washington, D.C.

That race, then the Sun Trust National Marathon when he ran it in 2010, was his first, and most memorable, marathon.

Adams receives treatment from the Whitman-Walker Health Clinic and has formed close bonds with many of the clinic’s staff members over the years. Several attended the race to show their support.

“They made such a big deal about it. I remember getting to around 22 miles and my previous long was 20. I had never broken that before. When I got mile to 22, Whitman-Walker had set up a table and [staff members] were cheering me on,” Adams said. “I said to myself that if I could just make it through mile 22 and their table, I could fall out somewhere on the grass afterwards.”

Adams finished the race in 4:48.

“When I crossed that finish line, I was in tears,” he said. “A lot of people, after running their first marathon, end up in tears.

It’s like [accomplishing] the hardest thing you’ve ever done and you can’t believe that you’ve actually done it. I was running on fumes at the end. I didn’t know how I was still running at that point, but I was determined not to stop. When I crossed the finish line, it was the best experience you could feel in your life.”

Adams’ HIV developed into AIDS in 2009, but thanks the new outlook life he discovered by running, the news did not affect him as negatively as did his HIV diagnosis five years prior.

When asked if he believes that running serves as his therapy, Adams said without hesitation: “It’s a cure all. Running gave me hope and continues to give me that feeling.”

His mood and tone, however, turned somber when he began to speak about his own mortality. He talked about the emotional pain he felt after the loss of numerous friends to HIV/AIDS related complications. And although his body remains in good enough physical condition to compete in marathons, he realizes that every morning that he is able to wake up is gift that should not be taken for granted.

“Out of the 40 members of my support group who signed the shirt I wore for my first marathon, half have passed away,” Adams said. “It’s scary. I know that I’m running and my health seems to be pretty good, but [the future] does scare me. I still have trouble dealing with it.”

Although life has not dealt him a fair hand, Adams said he harbors no ill will towards the woman he believes left behind the infected needle that changed his life. He views each day alive as a blessing and vows to make the most of his time on earth. And while his humble personality will not allow him to consider himself a role model to many, he does offer some advice to those facing adversity and in need of inspiration.

“Take your time and never give up,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to keep on moving. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t give up. Don’t listen to your mind or your body when it tells you that you can’t do something. Just do it anyway.”

This story was originally published in the April/May 2013 issue of RunWashington.

Ever met an Irish cowboy? Say hi to Kramer Keller. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography
Ever met an Irish cowboy? Say hi to Kramer Keller. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

Despite meeting just two weeks ago, Andrew Brodeur and Landon Peacock have established quite the rivalry. The Pacers-New Balance teammates participated in last week’s St. Patrick’s Day 8k, where Brodeur edged Peacock to claim a first-place finish (24:30).

Saturday’s Four Courts Four Miler yielded similar results for the two as Brodeur once again bested Peacock to earn first-place honors in the fifth annual St. Patty’s Day weekend race.

But the two former collegiate runners claim that their competitive running days are behind them.

“I’m done with that part of my life,” Brodeur, 23, said with a laugh. “I don’t want any more rivalries. I’m just trying to have fun right now. We’re on the same team.”

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] 4M Results[/button-red]Brodeur (19:33) averaged 4:54 per mile to set a course record previously held by Frank DeVar, who finished the 2011 race in 19:44. Brodeur recently moved to Bethesda, Md., from New Jersey, and Saturday’s Four Courts race was his first.

“I went out really quickly because the first mile is all downhill,” the former Duke University cross country runner said. “If my watch was correct, I came through in 4:16. I really like the fact that it’s an out-and-back course. You have people cheering for you the whole way back so that makes it really cool and easy to keep going.”

More than 1,550 runners converged on Wilson Boulevard to participate in the fifth annual Four Courts Four Miler in Arlington, Va., on Saturday, March 15. The race, which earned its fifth consecutive sellout, attracted both competitive and casual runners from around the area. The course ended just a few yards from Ireland’s Four Courts restaurant, where an awards ceremony awaited runners at the conclusion of the race.

Saturday’s Four Courts Four Miler was also Peacock’s (20:17) first. The former University of Wisconsin at Madison runner said he found the course challenging.

“I didn’t really know what to expect; it’s kind of an extreme course because the first half of the race is downhill, and then it goes right back uphill,” he said. “I was a bit deceived in that I felt really good running downhill, but I was just hurting on the way back up. That part of the course was a little less fun.”

Arlington resident Claire Hallissey (23:19) finished first among females runners and averaged 5:50 per mile. The 2012 Great Britain Olympic team member had an additional reason to celebrate an already special weekend.

“I’ve always enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day weekend, especially since I was born on St. Patrick’s Day,” Hallissey, 30, said. “It’s nice to kick the weekend off with a good race. It’s such a fun atmosphere out here today.”

Hallissey said she was well-prepared to tackle the course’s daunting uphill finish.

“I ran the race last year and I live nearby, so I’m kind of used to running up and down the hill,” she said. “I kind of knew what to expect. I tried not to go out too quickly, but you really can’t help yourself. It feels nice and easy, but then you remember that you have to run right back up it at the end.”

The race wasn’t exclusive to competitive, seasoned runners like Hallissey, Peacock and Brodeur.

Jackson Gurdak (31:58) and his father Mike stood near one of the orange traffic cones on North Wilson Boulevard shortly after Jackson finished just his second competitive race. The two watched as others crossed the finish line.

“He has a very nice running stride, so I thought this would be a good race for him,” Mike Gurdak, 51, said. “He runs at home, but races like these are fun for him and he gets to see what these types of races are like.”

Jackson Gurdak, 12, said the race offered a nice change of pace from the usual running he does around his family’s Vienna, Va., neighborhood.

“There weren’t that many turns and the downhill part of the course really helped a lot,” the young runner said. “This is only my second competitive race. I like running because it lets me see how fast I can go; it’s something I want to continue to do.”

Mike Gurdak was pleased with his son’s effort.

“He set a time for himself and he beat it by a couple of seconds. He wanted to break 32:00, and he did. So that’s a good baseline. Running allows him to stay fit and healthy.”

As with any St. Patrick’s Day weekend event, runners went heavy on the Kelly green and sported everything from green shamrock earmuffs to green-and-black running tights.

Jonathan Harvey showcased perhaps one of the more unique outfits as he donned a Kelly green kilt. The Franconia, Va., father of two ran the race with his two-and three-year-old son and daughter, who he pushed along in a tandem stroller.

“I really enjoy running. It’s something I get a lot out of, so I try to expose my children to it every chance I get,” the 36-year-old Army reservist said. “This is the first time they’ve done a race with me, but I run with them all of the time in my neighborhood. My daughter will go to the track sometimes and just run in circles. She has a pair of running shoes that she’s proud of. She’s competitive, so when we race I always have to lose.”

Amy Laskowske (23:55), a Pacers employee, placed second among female runners. The Midwest transplant thoroughly enjoyed her first Four Courts Four Miler experience.

“This is definitely a great community race and it’s just really fun to be a part of it,” Laskowske, 26, said. “I moved here about a year ago from Minnesota and wanted to get back into racing. My roommate is really good and I saw how much fun she was having with doing all of the different races, and I decided to do it too. I hope to run it again next year.”

Paul Thistle glances over his shoulder seconds before winning the Jingle all the Way 8k. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography
Paul Thistle glances over his shoulder seconds before winning the Jingle All the Way 8k. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

Carissa Lee (48:11) and Pete Sumner (48:10) first met in 2004 at the West Point Triathlon in West Point, N.Y. Their love for running brought them together, and four years later, they married.

The Sumners participated in this year’s Jingle All the Way 8k. Only this time, they brought with them a new addition to the family.

With Chris Van Allsburg’s Polar Express as their inspiration, the Sumners donned pajamas and decorated their young daughter’s stroller with Christmas lights and silver tinsel to resemble the train in the famous children’s book.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“She didn’t really enjoy the last mile, so we were just running as fast as we could so we could finish the race and take her out of her stroller,” said Carissa, 30, when talking about her 23-month-old daughter Eloise. “We might pick some shorter races for her in the future. I think we were having a better time than her.”

More than 4,400 braved the frigid, 30-degree weather and snow to run the Jingle All the Way 8k Dec. 8.

They dressed in festive holiday attire that featured everything from elves and candy canes to reindeer and Santa Claus costumes and raced through the downtown Washington, D.C. course that took them past landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol and National Mall, before ending just a few hundred yards from Freedom Plaza.

Middle school social studies teacher Paul Thistle, who runs for the Pacers-New Balance team, raced Jingle All the Way for the first time. He decided to try his hand at the popular December event  and did quite well, winning in 24:14.

“It feels really good,” Thistle, 26, said. “I’ve been doing a lot of training and it’s paying off. I’m running faster than I’ve ever run before and these races are great opportunities to test the waters.”

While Sunday’s race was Thistle’s first, it was hardly such for Arlington resident Kerri Gallagher. She earned her second first-place finish among women runners in as many years after posting a time of 27:28. Gallagher said she monitored weather reports leading up to the race.

“I was kind of expecting the worst, so I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t raining when I started my warm-ups,” she said. “I just love how many people come out (for the race) and how they’re setting and accomplishing goals. I really love amount of support from the spectators who are part of the running community who are happy to see the women race. It’s just a great atmosphere.”

The inclement weather had minimal impact on course conditions and runner turnout.

“We watched all week and worked with the municipality partners,” race director Kathy Dalby said. “We were really lucky that the storm hit when it did. (The snow) actually added a bit to the festive feel of the event. This race always grows – we try to cap it at 6,000 – but the turnout was just a little lower than normal, because of the weather.

The fun wasn’t limited to veteran runners. The race was a family affair for the Kulps of Falls Church, who dressed as elves in a package, complete with shiny silver wrapping paper and green bows. The family of four participated in its second-consecutive Jingle All the Way 8k, but this year’s race was extremely memorable for 11-year-old Rachel (55:31).

“There were so many people dressed up in costumes. There was a guy who juggled and it was really cool,” she said. “There weren’t just all adults; there were a lot of kids who ran. And it’s really cool that it’s snowing too.”



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