What it Takes

Chris Raabe breaking away from the pack at the 2009 Grandma's Marathon. Photo: Jeff Frey and Associates
Chris Raabe breaking away from the pack at the 2009 Grandma’s Marathon. Photo: Jeff Frey and Associates

Running a marathon isn’t that hard, is it? You dedicate yourself to training for a few months, build up mileage and aim for a good effort on race day. I mean, some four million Americans crossed a marathon finish line last year, right?

Finishing, however, is one thing, and running well is another. How do you know if you’re ready to do more than simply endure? How do you know if you’re prepared to give it your best effort and run the marathon of your life?

Answers from some of this area’s best marathoners range from serendipity to grindingly hard work. The common thread is a confidence born of having done the workouts and logged the miles.

Better to Be Lucky …

While the science of training, diet, psychology and physiology — not to mention digital watches — have advanced over the decades, the surest way to run a good race remains to have good luck. Phil Stewart, now the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race director, is a case in point. Stewart ran his personal best 2:19:58 at the 1975 Boston Marathon, knocking more than six minutes off his best.

“That was a tailwind year,” Stewart says matter-of-factly. “I felt good throughout the race and at the finish thought I might have run 2:22 or 2:23, but I had no idea. In those days, splits were given in the middle of the various towns, like 6.7, 9.8 or 14.3. They didn’t even have a clock at the finish line.”

So Stewart finished what felt like a solid effort and relaxed in the depths of the Prudential Center parking garage, where race officials posted results as they became available. “I absolutely shrieked when I saw that I had broken 2:20,” Stewart says. “Years later I ran three hours exactly but never complained that I hadn’t gotten under — I had my two seconds when I needed them. I picked a good day to run well. People remember the time but they don’t remember the tailwind.”

Still, Stewart is too modest: he was 22nd that year and 15th at Boston in 1977, a hot year when he ran 2:22. “My [performance] curve was improving,” he admits. “I had been training well and was ready to run fast.”

Confidence is a given but hardly a guarantee for running well. The opposite, however —  a lack of confidence — almost always ensures disaster.

“Most times going in you feel confident,” says Chris Raabe, who bettered his marathon best by almost two minutes when he ran 2:15:13 to win the 2009 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn. “But it took me a long time to figure out that what you think you can run only happens when everything is absolutely perfect. And that actually never happens.”

Call it Raabe’s Rule: “Now I say if everything goes bad I should still be able to do this well.” And that philosophy worked for him at Grandma’s, where he won by more than three minutes. “It was not ideal,” he says of the conditions that day. “Seventy-five degrees and a headwind [on a point-to-point course]. But I was in good shape, knew what I could do and was able to hold it together at the end.”

It’s not as if Raabe came out of nowhere to win at Grandma’s. He competed at North Dakota State and in 2002 moved to D.C., where he often dominated local events and finished 16th at the 2009 U.S. Olympic trials marathon. He has a reputation as a monomaniacal trainer, regularly logging weeks of up to 150 miles. Raabe, now 35, qualified for the trials again in 2012 but injuries and a car accident kept him from competing.

Pick Your Spots

Karl Dusen, who lives in Ashburn, profiles as more of an optimist. As a husband and the father of two toddler girls who is trying to compete at a high level, a sunny disposition is probably required. But the story of Dusen’s breakthrough marathon isn’t complete without the background of his first, which was an unmitigated disaster.

Dusen had just graduated from Columbia University, where he had run 29 minutes flat for 10,000 meters, and felt ready to up the ante and the distance in his first marathon that fall. That it was his hometown race amid the hoopla and bedlam of New York City seemed like a good idea at the time.

“Everything went wrong,” Dusen says. “A bunch of friends were out watching, some were running, along with alumni, and we’d all been talking trash for weeks about who was going to do the best.”

Warm weather compounded the problem. Spurred on by Big Apple hype, Dusen went through halfway on his goal pace at 71 minutes. But he crashed in the second half and slogged home in 2:38.

“Despite a week of limping around [after the race], it didn’t take long to diagnose the problem,” Dusen says. “I wanted to get back at it and do it right.”

While working in New York’s financial district, Dusen ran mornings and evenings with the Manhattan Track Club in Central Park. About eight weeks prior to the Chicago Marathon, he completed a 23-mile training run, his longest ever, with the middle 11 miles at 5:15 per mile – just better than race pace.

“That run felt smooth and I knew in my heart that I was ready to go for it, despite what had happened before,” he says. His goal was to meet the 2007 Olympic trials qualifying standard of  2:22.

This time, Dusen escaped the fishbowl of New York for the relative anonymity and pancake-flat course of Chicago, where a group of some 20 men, all running to qualify, worked through 5:20 splits for the middle 15 miles of the race.

“That group pulled me through the hard part. But at the end, I was tired and slowing. I kept doing the math in my head, calculating what I needed to run [each of the final miles] to still qualify,” he says. Dusen needn’t have worried: he finished in 2:20:35, with splits of 70:17 and 70:18. The trials race itself — back in Dusen’s familiar Central Park stomping grounds — was mostly forgettable but for the accomplishment of participation.

Talent Never Hurts

Another area runner balancing competitive running with family life is former Georgetown University all-American Kristen Gordon Henehan, who lives in Kensington with her husband Michael and two young sons.

While Henehan won the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in her first attempt at the distance, she could hardly be counted as a surprise. Her many accomplishments and drive throughout her collegiate career boded well for further success on the roads.

“Basically, I just brought up my mileage for the marathon,” says Henehan, who averaged 75 miles per week throughout much of college. “It was the marathon distance that I was unsure about.”

Her Marine Corps debut went smoothly enough – 2:51:14 – and she decided almost immediately to pursue a follow-up and attempt to meet the Olympic trials qualifying time of 2:48. So for 10 weeks after Marine Corps, she recovered, upped her mileage even further and increased her hard training efforts for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Arizona.

“Marine Corps was such a positive experience, I was ready for more,” she says. “I thought with good conditions and the right effort, I could go faster.”

Unburdened by having answered the question as to distance, Henehan worked on speed throughout her tempo runs. Even after the marathon, her six-mile tempo runs felt easier and passed faster. “Quality in everything, including my long runs, went way up,” she says. “I was pretty sure I would have a good race in Phoenix.”

And she did, popping a 2:45:12 and qualifying easily for the Boston trials three months later. There, however, the rigors of progressing from a novice to an elite marathoner and her third marathon – all in the course of six months – caught up and Henehan finished 96th in 2:49:42.

“That race, I did have expectations,” she says. “I had run a 1:16 half one month earlier” – a time that translated to a very quick marathon – “and I started out too fast, finished too slow. The marathon isn’t like the track. It’s a whole different game.”

Kristin Henehan at the Olympic Trials. Photo:  Tony Yang
Kristin Henehan at the Olympic Trials. Photo: Tony Yang

And the Answer Is…

This writer has run a number of marathons and if I had the answer as to how to run your best, I’d gladly share it. I’d also be a very rich man. Mostly, what I heard from the runners quoted above resonate with my marathon reality: train hard, be smart and get lucky.

More specifically, I ran Grandma’s on a tailwind day — unlike Raabe and embracing the luck of Phil Stewart — and rode that wave to an at-the-time personal best of 2:16. It should be noted that of the dozens of marathons I’ve run, that was the only one in which I ran negative splits.

I was also fortunate — or well prepared, take your pick — when I ran 2:16 and finished eighth at the 1992 Olympic trials marathon. That dispassionate and clinical description belies the fact that it was the race of my life.

I had determined early on to do everything within my control to make those trials my best marathon. Most importantly, and inexplicably to many of my friends and family, I quit my job in order to make training my sole focus. For several months, I ran twice a day and averaged more than 125 miles per week, which was manageable with a limited racing schedule, plenty of rest and the help of training partners and a great coach.

One month prior to trials, half a dozen of the best distance runners in Maryland gathered at a track in Rockville to knock out five repeat miles. A different runner led every interval but each mile was consistent at 4:45; I remember a group of high school kids apparently annoyed we were hogging their track but too intimidated by our effort to say anything.

Any lingering doubts regarding my fitness after that workout were dispelled when I finally raced 10K and easily beat a good field. I ran 30:16, 18 seconds off my PR.

But I was confident enough to pick myself  to finish eighth in my best friend’s trials pool (yes, marathon geeks do that). On race day, I started conservatively while many others gambled that their best race would come off a fast pace on a warm morning. Anyway, I’ll always be proud of maximizing my marathon talent on the day and in the race when it mattered most.

So is there a secret to the marathon? Sure, lots of them. Always start with the Holy Trinity of miles, speedwork and long runs. Repeat for 10 weeks. Then add the equanimity and work ethic of Chris Raabe, the moxie and drive of Kristen Henehan, the talent and thoughtfulness of Karl Dusen, and most importantly two parts of Phil Stewart’s luck. With all that, you’re guaranteed to have a great race.

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2014 RunWashington.

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Boston Benny

Phil Stewart and Ben Beach stand on Boyleston Street after the crowds cleared from the truncated 2013 Boston Marathon. Photo: Carter M. Beach
Phil Stewart and Ben Beach stand on Boyleston Street after the crowds cleared from the truncated 2013 Boston Marathon. Photo: Carter M. Beach

Don’t feel sorry for Ben Beach.

Yes, his goal of a string of 45 consecutive Boston Marathon finishes seemed to end on a closed course just miles from the finish line last year, where two bombs rocked the city and the nation. And yes, a 46th consecutive finish would have made Beach, from Bethesda, the sole record holder for consecutive finishes, an achievement he had worked toward all of his adult life. He didn’t get to cross the finish line as planned and for two months, his streak’s fate was in limbo.

But the Boston Athletic Association decided to consider the more than 5,000 runners on the course after the race was cut prematurely short, “finishers.”

“I think all of us with long streaks take the BAA’s view that our streaks grew by one year in 2013,” he said, a week before he starts number 47.

But Beach, a man who embodies the tradition and ideals of the Boston Marathon, is defined by neither the race nor his remarkable streak. Given the gravity of that day, he can look past what would have been a culmination of 1,205.2 racing miles on the same stretch of roads.

“First of all, we’re talking about a day on which three people lost their lives and 270 others were injured, many severely,” Beach says. “So for me to talk about my run and the streak feels hollow.”

Perhaps. But the Boston Marathon, before the bombs, anyway, was a nice little race in its own right, with champions – anyone remember Lelisa Desisa and Rita Jeptoo? – thousands of qualifiers and hallowed, not hollow, history and records.

Beach was set to own outright a remarkable piece of that history with this year’s run. Since his first Boston as an 18-year-old Harvard freshman in 1968, Beach competed in lockstep – albeit one year behind – with Pennsylvanian Neil Weygandt, each runner doggedly starting and finishing every year. But age and injuries finally caught up to Weygandt, who ended his streak by sitting out the 2012 race. Upon completion of the marathon last year, Beach tied Wygandt’s record at 45 straight finishes.

As if it were that easy. The early decades featured a string of sub-2:40 finishes, including his Boston-best of 2:27 in the 1983 race. But 11 years ago Beach developed a hitch in his stride, diagnosed as dystonia, a neurological disorder related to Parkinson’s Disease. The problem made training difficult and forced Beach to curtail his weekly mileage. In more recent years, pre-marathon long runs have been no longer than the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington just prior to Boston.

Beach credits the streak’s current longevity to treatment at the nearby National Institutes of Health, where he is part of a long-term study and receives regular Botox injections that partially block spasm signals from the brain to the left hamstring. Beach walks with a slight limp and his training runs have grown necessarily shorter; these days he maintains most of his cardiovascular fitness through cycling and an elliptical trainer. Fifteen days before this year’s Boston, Beach completed his Cherry Blossom long run in 1:30:33. Would anyone be surprised to learn that Beach is the only runner to have completed every Cherry Blossom race since its inauguration in 1973?

So with family and friends scattered along the Boston course, Beach set out from Hopkinton with longtime friend, training partner and Cherry Blossom race director Phil Stewart. “We had planned on running in the 4:30 to 4:45 range, a time that would have put us at the finish a half hour after the bombs went off,” Stewart said. “But Ben was nursing a calf problem, and at 10 miles he felt a sharp jolt of pain through his calf, reducing us to a quick walking pace. At 17 miles, two of his three kids and a daughter-in-law joined us – I felt as if we had a guided escort into town.”

But by the time the entourage reached the 21 Mile mark, it was past 2:50 p.m. and the area around the finish line had devolved into chaos. As Beach and his crew passed Boston College, volunteers joined hands in the middle of the road, halting the race and announcing a temporary suspension.

“We had heard something about explosions near the finish line,” Beach said. “At first we didn’t know how seriously to take it. Then we heard sirens, saw police motorcycles, trucks and cars blow by us. Something was clearly not right…. We were on pace to finish in less than six hours, which is the last official time recorded. When the course was sealed off, we gathered, stood, sat and scratched our heads.”

The gravity of the situation slowly became clear. With a fading cell phone signal and before all such transmissions were halted, Beach’s son Carter accounted for Beach’s wife, brother, sister-in-law and friends waiting near the finish line. “That was a tremendous relief,” Beach said. “We had some close calls but overall we were very lucky.” But for a blown-out calf, Beach, his family and friends could have found themselves in the middle of serious trouble.

“It was a good day to be bad,” Stewart said.

“I’ll abide by whatever [BAA officials] say,” Beach said. “Boston has been such a wonderful part of my life and the BAA is always so accommodating for those of us who don’t technically qualify anymore. No matter what happens to the streak, I’ll be back.”

Actually, when pressed, Beach admits he’s got his sights set on another Boston milestone – one perhaps even more Ruthian than consecutive finishes. The great Johnny Kelley started 61 Boston Marathons and finished a record 58 times; depending upon how the 2013 race is officially recorded, and, of course, what the future holds, Beach would be 76 when he lines up for what could be his 59th finish.

“Now I’m not comparing myself to Johnny Kelley,” Beach added quickly. “He was a two-time Olympian and twice won Boston. [His starts and finishes] are a mind-blowing pair of numbers, in a different era, with different shoes, different everything.”

Beach has already matched Kelley at 17 for the number of sub-2:40 finishes. “But I don’t expect to run an 18th,” he said.

Look for Ben Beach at the starting line of next year’s marathon. And the one after that, and after that, and….

“My plan has always been to run Boston as long as I can do it,” Beach said. “It’s conceivable I’ll still be going but the body’s got to hold up. At each stage, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Now he’s in his best condition of the last few years. On April 21, he’ll get that chance to do what has hasn’t in two years — cross the finish line.

“It’ll feel better than usual, I know that,” he said. “It’ll feel a lot better.



By Jim Hage
Rockville, MD
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kenyans Julius Kogo and Risper Gesabwa took advantage of a prevailing tailwind to set men’s and women’s course records of 28 minutes 6 seconds and 32:07 at the 16th Kaiser Permanente Pike’s Peek 10K in Rockville.

And while the point-to-point course notably features a net loss in elevation, give the winners, four new age-group record holders, the many who lowered their PRs, and all of the 2,558 finishers their due: Rockville Pike rolls down and up and the early-morning wind was gusty and changeable. The day the wind blows steadily from the north, even these formidable records will fall.

But for now, Kogo, 25, and Gesabwa, 22, are at the top of their games; gone are the old marks of 28:30 by Tesfaye Bekele (2009) and 32:45 by Jen Rhines (1998).  Last year at Pike’s Peak, Kogo was the runner-up – by one second–to Ethiopian Bado Worku, who won in 28:43.

Photo left: The men’s lead pack about 3.5 miles into the race. “I didn’t want to be second again,” Kogo (Bib #2) conceded, and with a quick third mile he winnowed a pack of 15 to just three. Only Nicholas Kurgat (#21), who trains with Kogo in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Abiyot Endale (#10), the affable Ethiopian from the Bronx, stayed close. Kurgat finished second in 28:14 and Endale took third in 28:19, a 55-second personal best established at last year’s race when he finished ninth.

“My dream was to break 29 minutes,” Endale said, “so I am very happy. I am recovered from a knee injury [chondromalacia] and am training good again.” Endale, 24, ran 29:18 and finished third at the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond on April 4.

Another surprised but happy runner was Jeffrey Eggleston, 26, seventh and the first American in 28:34, a personal best by a whopping 83 seconds. “My PR was kind of soft, but I’m really excited,” said Eggleston, primarily a marathoner who is training for the World Championships in South Korea this summer.

“My plan today was to hang as long as I could. And we needed someone to represent the U.S.!” Eggleston added. “It was a great field but I wasn’t afraid. I beat Girma Tola [eighth in 28:45] who ran 10K at the Sydney Olympics. So that’s cool.”

Former Georgetown University track standout and now medical student Maggie Infeld, 25, was the top American woman, 10th in 34:07.

Gesabwa’s one-second win over Ethiopian Alemtseha Misganaw was another in a series of close races between not-quite-friendly rivals. Gesabwa complained afterward that Misganaw ran too close, clipping her heels repeatedly.

“She was right here!” Gesabwa said, slapping her hip. Gesabwa nearly won this year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, where Misganaw took fourth. Gesabwa also bested Misganaw by two seconds at the Azalea Trail 10K Run (Mobile, Ala.) in March.

Denise Knickman (photo left), 42, ran 37:02 to win the women’s masters race and Joseph Ekuom, 41, took the men’s masters title in 31:39.

Some 15 members of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase rescue squad–emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and paramedics–completed the race. Two more members rode bikes along the course to provide first aid support.

The rescue squad’s Craig Pernick, 50, from Chevy Chase, ran his first 10K, competing admirably if not quite finishing alongside team members such as Oliver Vickery, 18. “It was good to finish,” Pernick said. “I’ll do it again as long as my knees hold out.”


Award Winners

Open & Masters By Gun Time, Age Groups By Net Time 
 No Duplicate Prizes

 MALE OPEN Gun Time                                       $$$
 1     2 Julius Kogo           25 Chapel Hill NC       28:06# 1000 
 2    21 Nicholas Kurgat       31 Chapel Hill NC       28:14#  750 
 3    10 Abiyot Endale         24 Bronx NY             28:19#  650 
 4     7 Kumsa Adugna          24 Bronx NY             28:23#  600 
 5     4 Deresse Deniboba      28 Bronx NY             28:28#  550 
 6    13 Reuben Mwei           26 Marietta GA          28:32#  500 
 7     5 Jeffrey Eggleston     26 Flagstaff AZ         28:34#  450 
 8     6 Girma Tola            35 New York NY          28:45#  400 
 9    22 Kipyegon Kirui        30 Chapel Hill NC       28:47#  350 
 10     3 Tesfaye Assefa        27 Bronx NY             28:57# 300 
 # Under USATF OPEN guideline    

 1    16 Risper Gesabwa        22 Marietta GA          32:07# 1000 
 2    17 Alemtseha Misganaw    30 New York NY          32:08#  750 
 3    32 Aziza Aliyu           25 New York NY          32:22#  650 
 4    18 Malika Mejdoub        28 Jackson Heights NY   32:42#  600 
 5    20 Hirut Mandefro        25 Flagstaff AZ         32:48#  550 
 6    24 Hellen Jemutai        29 Chapel Hill NC       32:54#  500 
 7    35 Yihunlish Bekele      29 Washington DC        33:20#  450 
 8    23 Divina Jepkogei       25 Chapel Hill NC       33:22#  400 
 9    34 Tezeta Dengersa       30 Burtonsville MD      33:39#  350 
 10  1465 Maggie Infeld         25 Washington DC        34:07  300 
 # Under USATF OPEN guideline    

 1    41 Joseph Ekuom          41 High Falls NY        31:39*  250 
 2    28 Elarbi Khattabi       43 Westchester PA       31:58*  200 
 3    43 Curtis Cox            43 Trinidad WI          32:02*  150 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 1    42 Denise Knickman       42 Baltimore MD         37:02*  250 
 2    45 Alisa Harvey          45 Manassas VA          37:45*  200 
 3    25 Elena Orlova          41 Gaithersburg MD      38:12   150 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 MALE AGE GROUP:  15 - 19 Net Time
 1  2593 Dagmawi Abebe         17 Gaithersburg MD    34:10    75 
 2  2507 Patrick Ochoa         17 Derwood MD         40:14    50 

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  15 - 19 Net Time
 1  1760 Allison Marella       15 Damascus MD        42:22    75 
 2  2485 Alex Starnes          15 Manassas VA        46:01    50 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  20 - 24 Net Time
 1    56 Andy Sovonick         24 Gaithersburg MD    32:16    75 
 2  2738 Benjamin Bartlett     23 Columbia MD        34:03    50 
 3   234 Alex Booth            23 Bethesda MD        34:29    25 

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  20 - 24 Net Time
 1  1923 Rebecca Parks         22 Reisterstown MD    39:14    75 
 2  3029 Alison Case           23 Rockville MD       41:15    50 
 3   607 Amy Greenberg         23 Potomac MD         46:41    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  25 - 29 Net Time
 1    36 David Berdan          29 Owings Mills MD    29:30#   75 
 2    75 Birhanu Feysa         28 Silver Spring MD   29:34#   50 
 3    71 Tarikii Bokan         29 Herndon VA         29:34#   25 
 # Under USATF OPEN guideline    

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  25 - 29 Net Time
 1    31 Dirbe Hunde           27 New York NY        34:09    75 
 2    69 Keneni Chala          29 Washington DC      34:36    50 
 3    33 Muliye Gurmu          27 Bronx NY           35:33    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  30 - 34 Net Time
 1     8 Kitema Nigusse        30 Bronx NY           29:24#   75 
 2    38 Mark Stallings        30 Atglen PA          30:06    50 
 3    15 Wilson Komen          33 Washington DC      30:18    25 
 # Under USATF OPEN guideline    

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  30 - 34 Net Time
 1    30 Michelle Miller       30 Damascus MD        35:36    75 
 2   603 Elizabeth Young       31 Washington DC      37:30    50 
 3    60 Lynn Knothe           33 Wilmington DE      39:03    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  35 - 39 Net Time
 1    14 Michael Wardian       37 Arlington VA       30:21*   75 
 2    40 Troy Harrison         35 Waterfall PA       31:38*   50 
 3  1804 David Wertz           35 Arlington VA       32:03*   25 
 4  1295 Kris Simms            39 Baltimore MD       35:08    25 
 5  1113 Keith Freeburn        37 Centreville VA     35:49    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  35 - 39 Net Time
 1  2680 Brenda Schrank        39 Winchester         36:56    75 
 2  1256 Sandra Bonilla        35 Kensington MD      42:03    50 
 3  2657 Christie Yang         39 Falls Church VA    42:57    25 
 4   274 Kaari Lii Linask      37 Rockville MD       43:29    25 
 5  1651 Kimberly Price        38 Gaithersburg MD    44:26    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  40 - 44 Net Time
 1  2767 Mike Colaiacovo       41 Ellicott City MD   33:30*   75 
 2    44 Jordan Snyder         44 Rockville MD       33:52*   50 
 3  3008 Brian Davis           40 Rockville MD       36:39    25 
 4  1913 Joerg Schroeder       43 Rockville MD       37:04    25 
 5  2101 Eric Lawrence         43 Potomac MD         38:02    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  40 - 44 Net Time
 1    47 Paula Pels            43 Bethesda MD        40:34    75 
 2  2159 Cheryl Young          41 Reston VA          42:14    50 
 3  1639 Janice Lunenfeld      41 Rockville MD       42:52    25 
 4  2612 Theresa White         41 Annandale VA       43:36    25 
 5  2807 Alida Anderson        41 Potomac MD         44:18    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  45 - 49 Net Time
 1   382 Mark Neff             49 Derwood MD         34:41*   75 
 2    48 Jhonny Camacho        48 Torrington CT      36:55    50 
 3  2797 Howard Frost          45 Falls Church VA    37:40    25 
 4  1033 George Lane           45 Ashburn VA         37:43    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  45 - 49 Net Time
 1    49 Linda Foley           49 Oak Hill VA        39:08    75 
 2  3254 Leslie Anchor         48 Rockville MD       44:12    50 
 3   633 Lynn Zipf             46 Silver Spring MD   45:29    25 
 4  3018 Kris Barner           45 Rockville MD       46:06    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  50 - 54 Net Time
 1  1699 Henry Wigglesworth    53 Washington DC      34:20*   75 
 2    65 Dave Berardi          50 Baltimore MD       34:43*   50 
 3    51 Greg Cauller          51 York PA            34:44*   25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  50 - 54 Net Time
 1  1359 Deedee Loughran       52 Oak Hill VA        40:01*   75 
 2  2420 Win Persina           51 Washington DC      42:09    50 
 3  1460 Paula Galliani        51 Gaithersburg MD    45:59    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 MALE AGE GROUP:  55 - 59 Net Time
 1    59 Chuck Moeser          59 Sterling VA        35:55*   75 
 2  1285 Roland Rust           58 Bethesda MD        37:36*   50 
 3    55 Peter Darmody         55 Gaithersburg MD    37:48*   25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  55 - 59 Net Time
 1  2672 Betty Blank           58 Falls Church VA    44:11*   75 
 2  2571 Heather Sanders       55 McLean VA          45:14    50 
 3   324 Linda Mattingly       56 Hyattsville MD     48:17    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 MALE AGE GROUP:  60 - 64 Net Time
 1  2117 Timothy Morgan        60 Damascus MD        39:17*   75 
 2  1751 Richard Adams, Jr.    60 Herndon VA         40:06    50 
 3  2676 Jim Wright            61 Gaithersburg MD    40:42    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  60 - 64 Net Time
 1  2176 Nancy Avitabile       63 Bethesda MD        48:28    75 
 2  2458 Alice Franks          62 Rockville MD       48:28    50 
 3  2276 Anne Forsha           60 Derwood MD         50:53    25 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  65 - 69 Net Time
 1  2095 Donald Hensel         66 Gaithersburg MD    44:35    75 
 2   684 Michael Golash        67 Washington CA      45:19    50 
 3  1345 Gregory Chaconas      65 Washington DC      46:38    25 

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  65 - 69 Net Time
 1  2517 Dee Nelson            67 Gaithersburg MD    49:37*   75 
 2   914 Joann Szczepkowski    65 Rehoboth Beach DE  49:44*   50 
 3  2143 Chris Craun           65 Bethesda MD        49:45*   25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 MALE AGE GROUP:  70 - 74 Net Time
 1  2624 Gerald Ives           71 Washington DC      44:26*   75 
 2    61 John Elliott          72 Columbia MD        46:18*   50 
 3  2675 Chan Robbins          73 Arlington VA       51:39    25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  70 - 74 Net Time
 1  2473 Betty Smith           70 Rockville MD       70:03    75 
 2  2189 Jamie Wollard         72 N.Bethesda MD      76:17    50 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  75 - 79 Net Time
 1  2515 Skip Grant            75 Chevy Chase MD     48:07*   75 
 2  1717 George Yannakakis     79 Sparksglencoe MD   51:31*   50 
 3  2725 Henry Guyot           76 Washington DC      54:03*   25 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  75 - 79 Net Time
 1  3016 Jacquelin O'Neil      79 Washington DC      77:37    75 

 MALE AGE GROUP:  80 - 99 Net Time
 1  1419 Jack McMahon          80 Silver Spring MD   54:39*   75 
 * Under USATF Age-Group guideline

 FEMALE AGE GROUP:  80 - 99 Net Time



Bridesmaids No More

By Jim Hage
Washington, DC
April 3, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

After nine miles of a back-and-forth battle with Allan Kiprono at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, Lelisa Desisa (left) appeared headed for a second straight photo finish. Last year’s race came down to the wire and ended unhappily for Desisa when he was literally pushed aside by the winner, Stephen Tum, in a pell-mell sprint. Desisa finished second.

So this year the Ethiopian made his move with 800 meters to go, decisively dropping Kiprono and cruising alone to the tape as the undisputed champion in a event record 45 minutes 36 seconds – Ismael Kirui set the record of 45:38 in 1995.

Kiprono, from Kenya, finished second in 45:41.

“Last year I was happy,” said Lelisa Desisa, 21, whose claim of interference in 2010 was denied. “Today, I am more happy.”

Similarly, Julliah Tinega, the women’s runner-up last year, earned vindication with her one second win over fellow Kenyan Risper Gesabwa. Tinega’s time of 54:02 better reflected the cold and breezy conditions that made Desisa’s record even more impressive.

Tgist Tufa ran 54:13 to finish third in a truncated women’s-only field of just eight, who started 10 minutes before the men’s and open field. Three-time defending women’s champion Lineth Chepkurui was a late scratch.

Two-time men’s champion (2008 and ‘09) Ridouane Harroufi, 29, from Morocco, ran with the leaders until seven miles before losing contact and finishing third in 46:27. “Today is my first race this year,” Harroufi said. “The pace was very fast and my legs felt heavy. Maybe next race I feel better.”

Lucas Meyer, 27, a third-year law student at the University of Connecticut, ran 48:26 and finished 13th. As the first American, Meyer earned $1,000. Local (D.C.) resident David Nightingale, 25, was one place back in 48:39 and earned $500.

Claire Hallissey, 28, (left) a native of Britain who lives in Arlington, finished fifth among the women in 56:17, good for $1,000 in prize money. Late-blooming Kelly Jaske, 34, from Portland, Ore., was the first American, sixth in 57:06. Jaske, a criminal defense lawyer, has been running competitively for less than five years. She was fifth at last year’s race.

Nianxiang Xie, 83, from Rockville, was the oldest finisher in 1:58:26.

Ben Beach, 61, from Bethesda, ran 1:37:18 to extend his streak as the only runner to have completed every Cherry Blossom race. This year’s 39th edition featured a record 15,968 finishers.


Top 25 Finishers


Place Div  /Tot   Num    Name                   Ag Hometown             5 Mile  Gun Tim Net Tim Pace  
===== =========== ====== ====================== == ==================== ======= ======= ======= ===== 
    1     1/398        3 Lelisa Desisa          21 Ethiopia                       45:36   45:36  4:34 
    2     2/398       13 Allan Kiprono          21 Kenya                  23:08   45:41   45:41  4:35 
    3     1/1466       5 Ridouane Harroufi      29 Morocco                23:10   46:27   46:27  4:39 
    4     3/398       17 Lani Kiplagat          22 Kenya                  23:09   46:30   46:30  4:39 
    5     2/1466      27 Macdonard Ondara       26 Kenya                  21:41   46:52   46:52  4:42 
    6     3/1466      29 Tesfaye Sendeku        28 Ethiopia               23:15   46:53   46:53  4:42 
    7     4/1466      21 Stephen Muange         29 Kenya                  23:24   47:30   47:30  4:45 
    8     4/398       23 Simon Cheprot          21 Kenya                  23:14   47:32   47:32  4:46 
    9     5/1466      31 Josphat Boit           27 Kenya                  23:24   47:50   47:50  4:47 
   10     1/1075      25 Girma Tola             35 Ethiopia               23:27   47:56   47:56  4:48 
   11     5/398       47 Ezkyas Sisay           22 Ethiopia               23:34   47:58   47:58  4:48 
   12     6/1466      51 Tesfaye Assefa         27 Ethiopia               23:42   48:03   48:03  4:49 
   13     7/1466      33 Lucas Meyer            27 Ridgefield CT          24:06   48:26   48:26  4:51 
   14     8/1466     296 David Nightingale      25 Washington DC          24:10   48:39   48:39  4:52 
   15     9/1466      45 Augustus Maiyo         27 Colorado Springs CA    24:18   49:56   49:56  5:00 
   16    10/1466     107 Karl Dusen             28 N Bethesda MD          25:13   50:06   50:06  5:01 
   17     1/1326     105 Bert Rodriguez         31 Arlington VA           25:08   50:25   50:25  5:03 
   18     6/398      297 Sam Luff               24 Rockville MD           25:22   50:45   50:45  5:05 
   19     7/398      106 Jerry Greenlaw         23 Alexandria VA          25:19   50:55   50:55  5:06 
   20    11/1466     112 Brian Flynn            27 Weyers Cave VA         25:24   51:08   51:08  5:07 
   21    12/1466      49 Birhanu Alemu          28 Ethiopia               25:09   51:10   51:10  5:07 
   22     2/1075   20510 Michael Wardian        36 Arlington VA           25:20   51:16   51:16  5:08 
   23    13/1466     304 Joe Wiegner            29 Rockville MD           25:25   51:34   51:34  5:10 
   24    14/1466     109 Dirk De Heer           29 Silver Spring MD       25:44   51:40   51:40  5:10 
   25    15/1466     108 David Burnham          26 Arlington VA           25:37   51:49   51:46  5:11



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