Bringing Running With Her

exporting running (1)
Nina Brekelmans (left) with friends in Jordan.

Ibrahim Abu Asbeh was driving on a sunny day in Amman, Jordan, when he first saw Nina Brekelmans running.

“Wow, she is really good,” the running coach thought to himself. “I need to know her.”

Seeing a female runner in that country was rare, something Nina hoped to change.


She was in Jordan through the Center for Arabic Study Abroad while a graduate student at Georgetown and Abu Asbeh just happened to see her during one of her training runs along Amman’s Sport City trails. After picking up running at the insistence of a friend, she had competed for Dartmouth and kept it up after moving on to grad school.

As the General Secretary of the Jordan Athletics Federation, Abu Asbeh became a valuable resource for Nina when she looked to connect with the local running community, coaching her during her year abroad. She returned to D.C. in 2014 to finish her masters, but planned to work with her friends researching Jordanian women’s distance running under her Fulbright fellowship. Sadly, they never had the chance.

That excitement turned to grief when Brekelmans was killed in June 2015 in an electrical fire in her building near Dupont Circle.

But her work is still far from complete.

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Half marathoners Pedro Aponte and Mark Drosky climb Harvard Street in Columbia Heights as half marathoner Marcello Mannino and marathoners Jason Apple and Rob Halliday give chase. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography
Half marathoners Pedro Aponte and Mark Drosky climb Harvard Street in Columbia Heights as half marathoner Marcello Mannino and marathoners Jason Apple and Rob Halliday give chase. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

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Mother Nature must have been feeling merciful. A radiant sunrise turned to overcast skies, 50-degree temperatures and a slight breeze, providing ideal conditions for over 19,000 racers at the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. marathon and half marathon.

Runners at the starting line were happy to avoid a repeat of last year’s cold rain.

“Perfect. This is perfect,” said Alex Smith, who flew in from Milwaukee for the race. He chose Rock n’ Roll because it was the closest big marathon that would motivate him to keep training in Wisconsin’s harsh winter.

Vincent Reddish and Joshua Cowan said they were excited, nervous, and ready to start. Cowan was one of 518 runners at today’s race running on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; the team raised over $200,000 for the charity.

Martha Nelson, though, missed the rain. The defending champion said last year was the smoothest marathon she’s ever run whereas this year proved to be more of a mental challenge.

“Getting the F1 [bib number] puts a lot of pressure on. I knew as much as I told myself you don’t have to win, you’re always going to have that defending champion bullseye on your back.”

Nelson, who lives in D.C., relaxed by helping pace a friend to a sub-3:00 finish and taking advantage of her hometown advantage. “It’s a fun race for me because I get to see a lot of friends along the course, she said.

Nelson reeled in the eventual runner-up, Lori Nedescu (2:59:55), on the big hill in Fort Dupont Park near mile 21. “I felt if I could pass her going up the hill, that meant that I had more strength. It’s a hard thing to take the lead when you’re that exhausted.”

She struggled in the final miles, but gutted it out to finish in 2:58:02. Katie Moran (3:04:33) finished in third.

Bethany Sachtleben on her way to the Rock 'n' Roll D.C. Half Marathon title. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography
Bethany Sachtleben on her way to the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon title. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

The closest 1-2 finish of the day came during the women’s half marathon. Bethany Sachtleben (1:19:43) and Kerry Allen (1:20:07) raced together for the first half,  with Laurel Le Moigne joining for part of the Rock Creek Parkway portion, but Sachtleben pulled away around mile eight and never gave up the lead.

“It was fun to have our little pack for a while,” Sachtleben said. Today’s race helped her prepare for the U.S. half marathon championships in late April.

Hannah Eckstein (1:19:24) finished third in her first half marathon.

Both men’s races were blowouts. Mizael Carrera (1:06:16) went in knowing he could be the top finisher and left no doubt as he led from the gun, two minutes under his PR and over a minute-and-a-half ahead of his nearest competitor.

He slowed from his goal pace of 5-minute miles as he got into the race. “I didn’t look at the course elevation, so I didn’t know there were hills. I kind of backed it off because I didn’t want to hit the wall.”

Carrera is training through this race to prepare for an April marathon in Germany, where he hopes to qualify for Puerto Rico’s Olympic team.

D.C.’s Carlos Jamieson edged out Bethesda’s Andrew Brodeur for second place. At the awards ceremony, Brodeur said “the wheels just came off” in his final ten steps. Jamieson won last year’s race and later qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but a hot day in Los Angeles forced him to drop out halfway through. He wore his old high school uniform, that of North Rockland, N.Y., which saw its girls distance medley relay team with the New Balance Nationals Indoor title the day before, in a national record time.

Alfredo Arevalo Reyes, who signed up for the marathon this week, ran a lonely 2:30:04 to win by over four minutes. Even with the commanding lead, the two-time Olympian glanced over his shoulder throughout the race to make sure no one would catch up to him. To his surprise, no one ever did.

Reyes, 40, was excited to win a marathon on U.S. soil, even if he didn’t get his qualifying time for the 2016 Olympics. At the finish, he hoisted the flag from his home of Guatemala, one of 47 countries represented by Rock n’ Roll racers this morning.

Steve Chu (2:34:09) finished in second while Dirian Bonilla (2:37:25) finished third.

Dickson Mercer (16:10) and Kendahl Melvin (20:54) each took first place in the 5k. Guler Koca (2:16:38) and Salomon Vazquez (3:34:39) won the marathon’s wheelchair division; Daniel Hagarty (2:12:15) was the top wheelchair finisher for the half marathon; Amanda Strite (33:23) and Erin Kelman (26:45) won the wheelchair 5k.

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D.C.’s weather also made an impact on the finish area this year. Race organizers added changing tents after soggy runners went home shivering in 2015 and moved the finish line because the original spot was still covered in stubborn snow piles.

Aimee Price of Williamsport, Md., said the mild winter this year made training for the half marathon a little easer. She and Tamara Krumm both loved the course. “It’s always good. You can see all of Washington,” Krumm said.

Brigitte Todd said her half marathon time wasn’t her best because she’s coming back from injury. “I took it easy, I stopped a couple times, I drank champagne and margaritas on the way” courtesy of some roadside fans in the middle of the race.

“I wasn’t taking it very seriously,” she said with a laugh.

Neither was the runner dressed as a slice of pizza.
Wheeled marathon winner Darrin Snyder checks out his competition. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography
Wheeled marathon winner Darrin Snyder checks out his competition. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography
Runners and walkers head down Pennsylvania Avenue to start the PurpleStrides 5k. Photo: Maggie Lloyd
Runners and walkers head down Pennsylvania Avenue to start the PurpleStrides 5k. Photo: Maggie Lloyd

Freedom Plaza was a sea of purple June 14 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Purple Strides 5k. With little humidity and a light breeze, the weather was perfect for thousands of runners and walkers to make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] 5k Results [/button-red]Griffin Mackey, 16, of Pittsburgh easily won the race, crossing the finish line in under 17 minutes. Just coming off his track season at Sewickley Academy, Mackey broke away from the field after the first mile and ran unchallenged for the rest of the race. Brian Mahoney of Washington, D.C. finished second.

The women’s race also featured a landslide victory, as Cindy Conant of Kensington pulled away from her competitors after a first mile of 6:04. Michaela Peterson of Bethesda-Chevy Chase didn’t meet her goal of beating her time from last year (19:25), but still placed second.

As runners filtered through the finish area, the crowd was full of support and celebration. Purple tutus, purple wigs, even purple viking horns decorated participants’ outfits. One finisher was ambushed by friends with purple silly string.

Everywhere you looked, signs declared the event’s call to “Know It. Fight It. Beat It.” Saturday’s race raised over $680,000 for pancreatic cancer research and patient support.

Susana Berger was the top fundraiser, raising nearly $30,000 as one of about 60 members of teamBERGER, which raised over $60,000 as the top fundraising group. Camille McIntosh, a survivor and the second top individual fundraiser, raised over $10,000 as a member of JIMBO’s BIMBOS.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a severe lack of funding for pancreatic cancer research has limited advancement in detection and treatment of this disease, which is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the US with a five-year relative survival rate of six percent. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network estimates there’s a new diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. every 12 minutes.

With Father’s Day the following day, the weekend was particularly emotional for families celebrating survivors or honoring those who have passed away. Bernard Beidel of Centreville beat cancer a few years ago, and walked today’s course holding a large sign with his team, Bern’s Whipple Walkers.

“You don’t get this far without your family,” he said.

Nick (Washington, D.C.) and Rick (New York, N.Y.) Desloge signed up with family and friends in honor of their father, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012 a year after his diagnosis. Their team raised over $2500 simply through corporate and individual donations.

Tori Selimis of Woodbine, Md.,  a breast cancer survivor, recalled undergoing treatment with her father, who had a recurrence of breast cancer last year. She called it a “very bizarre daddy-daughter date.”

Selimis says she had wanted to be healthier to reduce the chance of a recurrence of her breast cancer, so she signed up for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adult’s Cancer to 5k program with the encouragement of her friends.

“Since I was 37 when I was diagnosed with a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old I had no choice but to try anything that can help increase my survival rate.”

Saturday’s date marked the one-year anniversary of the funeral for Craig Irving’s sister, Viola, who passed away within five months of her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at age 53. Viola had wanted to participate in the Purple Stride 5k last year, so this year her family traveled from Mississippi and Tennessee to honor her as Team Vi’s Victory. Irving, who lives in Alexandria, has learned a lot about pancreatic cancer since last year.

“Getting information is important,” he said. “The first few weeks is when a family needs the most support. Those are precious days, hours, and minutes.”

Irving and Margie Nides, who walked the race in honor of her sister Anne, agreed that meeting other families was one of the most inspirational parts of the day.

“When you look around, you see different stories,” Nides said. Anne Nides showed no symptoms and had no family history of the disease before her diagnosis. Her other sister, Jane, said it was great to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, “targeting the bodies in there who can get the funding” for pancreatic cancer, she said, pointing to the Capitol.

The Desloge brothers said their dad wished for better testing for early detection of pancreatic cancer while he was undergoing treatment. It’s a critical solution that would improve the chances for patients with the deadly disease and their families to know it, fight it, and beat it.


Dropping Baggage

Carl Klein takes the Annandale track team through their drills. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography
Carl Klein takes the Annandale track team through their drills. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

Carl Klein woke up one night to a police officer knocking on the window of his Ford Explorer. He was parked in a lot right off the highway, and the officer told him he couldn’t sleep there. Carl started his car, drove to another location and fell asleep again.

He was 17 years old.

It was an unusual high school experience, one that running helped him endure. Now in his first year as an assistant track and field coach at Annandale High School, Klein’s love of athletics is still strong.

Klein was born and raised in Perry, Mich., a small town northwest of Detroit with a little over 2,000 residents. Klein excelled in soccer, wrestling and track at a high school where each graduating class had about 30 students.

“I just fell in love with running,” he said, although he didn’t always feel that way. “I was honestly only doing it to keep in shape for other sports.”

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Oakton's Jack Stoney winning the Concorde District cross country meet. Photo: Ed Lull
Oakton’s Jack Stoney winning the Concorde District cross country meet. Photo: Ed Lull

For one last time, Jack Stoney took a bite out of a pineapple with his cross country teammates this fall. A captain of the Oakton High School team, Jack continued the quirky tradition of biting into (“not cutting!”) a pineapple during a postseason meet. It marked the end of a chapter in what has already been an impressive running career.

Jack noticed his running talent at a young age, when he ran purely for fun. Once he joined his high school cross country team, he was hooked.

During the summer, Jack says he lives a low-key lifestyle of hanging out with friends and training. His off-season mileage paid off this year with a first place finish at the Virginia High School League 6A state championships. At the 2012 state meet, he finished 11th overall, but knew there was room for improvement.

“This is my last race, basically,” he thought going into this year’s race.  With this confidence, Jack pushed the pace for a 15:24 finish on what he says is one of his favorite race courses in Virginia.

“It hurt a lot,” he said of his 11-second margin victory. “Quite painful.”

Jack was the first male runner from his school to win the state meet since 1978, leading Oakton to a sixth place team finish. That performance was followed by Jack’s second trip to the Foot Locker South Region Championships, where he finished 22nd and set a 5k PR of 15:15. Still, he admits he could have run faster.

Now that cross country is over, he’s looking forward to the spring: “I like track a lot better,” he said. “I’m more of a miler. The shorter the better, really.”

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”]More of the All-RunWashington team[/button-red]An aspiring lawyer, Jack’s coursework includes AP courses in Government, Macro- and Microeconomics and Calculus. He’s still considering college choices, but two things are certain: he wants to major in business or economics, and he will continue running wherever he winds up. Twenty years from now, he imagines himself working as a lawyer, as long as he can be somewhere warm.

“I like snow,” he said, “but I don’t like the cold aspect, so I have mixed feelings about it.”

Given the hypothetical choice to run with any person, living or dead, Jack gave a peculiar response:

“I would like to go on a group of run with my friends, the BCO, and we would have a great time talking of adventures,” he described with mischief. BCO doesn’t stand for anything in particular, he explained; it’s just a term that’s stuck with his buddies since freshman year.

Oakton's Allie Klimkiewicz at the Concorde District Championships. Photo: Ed Lull
Oakton’s Allie Klimkiewicz at the Concorde District Championships. Photo: Ed Lull

Oakton Junior Allie Klimkiewicz is still buzzing from her team’s first state cross country title last fall. She has raced the VHSL 6A State Cross Country Championships every year since she was a freshman, but the team win made this year extra special.

“It feels very unreal,” she said. “We had the talent this year and everything just came together. We all shared [the win] together. I think our team dynamic was really good this year. Everyone just clicked.” 

The team dynamic goes beyond the team’s post-season tradition of coordinated polish on their nails and “crazy bows” in their hair.

Klimkiewicz said fellow team captain Hailey Dougherty has been a big inspiration, along with Jordan Hasay–“it’s very interesting to see how she progressed. I love keeping up with running news.”

Klimkiewicz, too, has come a long way from the freshman who tried cross country to get in shape for soccer. Last season she ran a sub-5:00 mile PR and competed in several top-notch meets, including the New Balance indoor nationals in New York and the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Now, she’s all-too familiar with the distance runner triple–the mile, two-mile, and 4×800 relay–even at championship track meets.

“The more running, the better I usually do,” she said. 

This might explain her disdain for the stationary bike in her basement, even on Virginia’s worst snow days.

“Biking on the stationary bike is not fun, and I try to avoid that at all costs. I love running outside compared to staring at a wall for 30 minutes.” Sometimes she’ll try to break up the monotony with an old episode of Gilmore Girls or The Office (“all my favorite shows keep getting canceled!” she noted).

And while she loves the running trails that DC has to offer, McAlpine Park in North Carolina is her favorite course, where she has raced Foot Locker South Regional for the past three years. This year, she finished 12th in 17:34.

“I don’t really like [the hills in McAlpine Park], but I think I do better on them so in the end they’re more beneficial for me,” she said.

That attitude translates well to the classroom. Klimkiewicz thrives off of variety, and is just as likely to enjoy her AP English Language and Composition course as much as a lecture on environmental science.

“Junior year has been hard, but there’s really no class I dislike,” she said.

If she had free time, she says she’d visit D.C. for a trip to the National Gallery and Georgetown Cupcake. But that’s a very big “if.” Outside of running, Klimkiewicz is involved in three honor societies, studio art club, and the Best Buddies club — a community service program in support of special education students on the Oakton campus. Klimkiewicz is a writing buddy with another student, and they write back-and-forth like old pen pals. During the football season, she tries to make it to all the games at her school.

“With all the school and running it’s sometimes hard to have a life outside,” she admitted.

Her diverse interests are largely influenced by her Oakton teammates. When she isn’t tutoring her teammates, sometimes they attempt pinterest-inspired crafts together or work on projects from their ceramics class after school.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”]More of the All-RunWashington team[/button-red]Then, there’s traveling. Klimkiewicz says she’d love to travel the world when she’s older, but for now she’s saving up for a ski trip next winter. Last summer involved a family vacation to Paris and London and several beach trips with friends. Through it all, she remained fiercely committed to her running: “I was running during all of this, but it was really cool getting to go all over the place during the summer. If I don’t go in the morning, it usually won’t happen or I’ll go at some weird time like 9:00.”

Looking to the future, Allie says she hasn’t made any decisions about college yet, but welcomes the opportunity to balance school and running at a high level.

“My career path is wide open for now,” she said. “Whatever opportunities are presented I’m going to take full advantage of them.”

As if she’d ask for anything else.

naked mile
Moise Joseph outleans Baisa Ktesa, ahead of Kevin McNab, to win the Nearly Naked Mile. Photo: Potomac River Running

Halloween has come and gone, but last Saturday Reston Town Center was full of Chippendales dancers, shirtless superheros, and other barely clad runners ready for the third annual Nearly Naked Mile.

Thankfully, no one ran completely au naturel (this is a family-friendly event, after all), but a few racers pushed the limits with skin-tone bodysuits or Speedos. Some bib numbers took up more real estate than clothing.

The fun setting aside, Saturday’s perfect weather made for some serious competition. In the men’s elite race, Moise Joseph, Baisa Ktesa, and Kevin McNab broke away from the field by the half-mile mark, with Moise (4:20) barely holding off Ktesa (4:21) and McNab finishing a second later. But it was 24-year-old Nahom Mesfin of Alexandria, starting farther back in the pack, who claimed the fastest “chip time” of the day with 4:19. The following day, Mesfin placed third at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, in 1:05:16.

The women’s elite race also came down to the wire, as Desta Tadesse outkicked Kristin Swisher of Alexandria for a 5:00 finish. Susanna Sullivan of Falls Church took third in 5:01. Tadesse finished second (1:13:54) in Sunday’s Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. Sullivan, preparing for next week’s Richmond Half Marathon, is a member of the Capital Area Runners, which took home the team prize.

Swisher used the short race to gear up for next week’s USATF 12K road race championships, but also recognized the good cause behind this event thanks to a friend who is a volunteer firefighter. Runners agreed to shed their layers on a breezy November afternoon to support burn victims and show what it means to be comfortable in one’s skin.

The first two Nearly Naked Miles raised $15,000 for the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the only adult burn treatment center in the Washington metropolitan area. Now in its third year, the event is bigger than ever. So big, in fact, that Potomac River Running expanded the field from two to four “open” divisions grouped by time.

Jason Kuehler volunteered for the event alongside fellow firefighters and members of the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (FOOLS), a fraternal organization for firefighters. A burn victim himself, he saw this event as an opportunity to give back. He explained that burn victims often feel self-conscious about their looks, so the race’s message was a valuable one.

Austin Bigdely, Secretary and Treasurer for the Northern Virginia FOOLS chapter, explained that this race is their banner charitable event and that it illustrates how local companies and groups can become involved in their mission. According to Bigdely, future partnerships might involve Wounded Warriors, which supports severely injured veterans, and Second Watch, an organization that provides services for firefighters in need.


Potomac Valley Track ClubWhen it comes to Fourth of July racing, the Potomac Valley Track Club (PVTC) Go Fourth 8k is about as humble as a summer family barbecue. There are a number of Independence Day road races in the DC area, but PVTC’s 8k is the D.C. area’s best mile-per-dollar deal.

The weather was merciful early in the morning. Cloudy skies and a gentle breeze kept things fairly comfortable in the mid-70’s despite the humidity.

“Well, we’ve got about 10 minutes. Maybe we should mosey on down to the start line.” With those words from a race official, the crowd walked from the registration site to the race’s starting point, a simple sign standing over a chalk line near the 12-mile marker on the W&OD trail. Brian O’Hara of Arlington liked this race for its distance; according to him, 8k is a good distance, especially for the $8 early registration price (race-day registration still only cost $20). He and his group of three other Arlington residents ran at the Go Fourth 8k last year, when it was in Bluemont Park.

The decades-old race has jumped around the D.C. area, with former locations in Alexandria, Hains Point, and Arlington before this year’s debut in Vienna. PVTC President Craig Chasse said the W&OD trail worked well for the expected crowd size of 100-150 racers. Caitie Meehan of Alexandra liked the location. “Vienna is beautiful,” she said, adding that she liked to get up and do something fun before the holiday celebrations.

The PVTC hosts five road races each year and a series of popular all-comers outdoor track meets throughout the summer. The Go Fourth 8k is third in the road race series, with the Cranberry Crawl 5k and 10k scheduled for November 23 and the Christmas Caper 5k and 10k in December.

The club has about 250 members, and race volunteers noted that it’s nice to see regulars at events. The Go Fourth race itself was started decades ago by racewalkers in the club, a group still represented in this year’s Go Fourth. John Morrison of Essex was the first place racewalker.

This is definitely a no-frills race. Participants were assigned leftover race bibs from past local competitions. The group sang the national anthem together on the starting line, while bikers and other trail runners stopped and joined in. The water station featured a single volunteer standing on the side of the trail. The short finish chute allowed another volunteer to string finishers’ tags in order. The post-race festival offered cookies and watermelon.

Kristin Lubeck was in town for the holiday, and said she chose this race to fulfill her “one race a month” goal; plus, she used to run on the W&OD trail when she lived in Falls Church. She looked forward to a day of barbecue, pools, and, her favorite, fireworks.

Jonathan Baker of Cambridge, Mass., had at least a 60-second lead with two miles left, and opened the gap to win by nearly 3 minutes to finish in 27:15. Craig Chasse of Reston and Luis Navarro rounded out the top three finishers. DC’s Rachel Clattenburg also won handily with a time of 33:16, finishing fifth overall. Macy Louise Warren of Springfield came in second place (35:55), closely followed by Gillian Livingston of Vienna (36:02).

There were almost 100 racers scattered along the trail, but you couldn’t miss Irene Gillenwater. Decked out in red, white, and blue from head to toe, he visitor from Wheelersburg, Ohio, said her wide skirt and patriotic headband didn’t slow her down; the spirited runner said she always dresses up for the holidays. After the race, she planned to go forth and watch the fireworks downtown that night.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]

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Claudia Seglas of Miami Springs, Fla. shows off her prize at the finish line.     Photo: Brian Knight  Swim Bike Run Photography
Claudia Seglas of Miami Springs, Fla. shows off her prize at the finish line. Photo: Brian Knight Swim Bike Run Photography

Yes, you can learn a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse, but I think it’s more telling to watch the way she reacts at a finish line, and I saw the whole emotional spectrum while volunteering for DC’s inaugural Nike Women’s Half Marathon.

My job was simple: scan runners’ race bibs as they filed through the finish area towards some seriously glamorous swag. Between the volunteers offering water bottles and foil blankets, a squad of ROTC men in tuxedos hand-delivered Tiffany’s pendant necklaces housed in that iconic baby blue box tied with a simple white ribbon. Whenever there was a lull in the crowd, all it took was a “who wants their Tiffany’s necklace?” yell to get exhausted finishers to smile and “woohoo!”

I saw the proud. Scores of half-marathon rookies exchanged high-fives and hugs with complete strangers; they then asked me if I knew their time yet.  Oh, and where are the necklaces? I saw women run to those necklaces, as if the previous 13.1 miles were the warm-up for this moment.

I saw the relieved. One woman marched right up to me, stuck her bib out, and exclaimed “scan me!” before marching on to the food and foil blankets.

I saw countless Boston shirts, hats, pins, and bracelets that I couldn’t help but feel Boston strong and Boston proud all morning.

I saw some interesting nutrition theories being tested. At the start of the race, a woman set a can of Diet Coke by my feet as the crowds inched forward. Another strapped a bag of chocolate chips to her belt. Perhaps they’re on to something.

I saw tutus. Actually, I saw a lot of tutus.

I saw more iPod headphones in that three-hour span than I have in my entire life. Finishers showed no shame when doing a little dance in the middle of the crowd as race-day playlists came to a close. How they still had the energy to dance after their race is beyond me.

The finish line may have featured high-fives from Joan Benoit Samuelson and Shalane Flanagan, but those ROTC guys were definitely the center of attention. I asked one of the dashing young gentlemen how it felt, and he said it was like the Grammy’s.

But instead of red carpets and extravagant gowns, we had pavement and all those tutus.


Maggie Lloyd

Name: Maggie Lloyd

Self-described age group: Millennial

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Chemical Engineer

Volunteer roles in the running world: Cleaning up trails in D.C.

Why you run: The reason has changed over time but running has always been a part of my identity. I was a nerdy kid, so it helped me feel cool. I moved to another state for high school, so it helped me find new friends. I was stressed in college, so it helped me feel accomplished and manage my time. Today, I tend to have a lot on my mind, so it helps me chill out and untie some mental knots before they become too complicated.

When did you get started running: In middle school when I was copying anything my older sister did. I would bike next to her on her training runs and was really inspired by her consistent training and hard work. My family also did these weekly two-mile races in San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park. Watching my times improve did a lot for my self confidence.

Have you taken a break from running: Once for an injury, a couple other times when I had reached the point of burnout.

Training shoe: It changes as favorite designs come and go. No loyalties to any brand in particular.

Coach or training group: I ran with great teams in high school and college. Currently I run with an incredible group of friends in DC but I tend to do the big workouts solo so that I know I can trust myself on race day. I’m afraid that if I do anything more formal than that it’ll feel like a second job and I’ll forget it’s supposed to be fun.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: My second steeplechase. The first one was whatever because I didn’t know what it was going to be like but the second one was dreadful. I fell a lot, the water was cold, and I almost quit, but there were literally only a few women in the race so all I had to do to score points was finish.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: My triathlete friends in my running group convinced me to enter the lottery for the 2017 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, which crosses 4.4 miles underneath the Bay Bridge, and to my horror I got in. I had only started swimming laps in 2016, but the challenge and potential for bragging rights excited me. I know it’s not a running example, but man was it fun and it encouraged me to be bolder when setting goals for future races.

Running mentors: Ouch… where do I begin. It’s a mix of former teammates, coaches, and friends who have been extremely patient with my training questions and extremely encouraging when I’m in a rut.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  Depends on my mood and the time of day but I have a soft spot for the Tidal Basin/Hains Point area.

Favorite local trail:  Currently it’s W&OD.

My best race was: This might be recency bias but I’m going to say the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in San Antonio. It took a lot of training and encouragement from friends and family to walk up to that starting line and think “I am going to run my fastest marathon today.” And I did, in my hometown with my family!

Favorite local race: Army Ten-Miler if and only if I’m hydrated

Ideal post-run meal: Tacos and a milkshake.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Chocolate Coconut. That’s not even a contest.

Pet peeve: Poor track etiquette.

Goals: I have to run a marathon in D.C. to say that I have run one in every city that I’ve called home.

Your advice for a new runner:  There are going to be times you make progress and it’s exciting, and there will be times you don’t and that is fine, too. Write down how you feel when you reach a big milestone or goal so you can look back on it later. Learn from your setbacks. Don’t let your goals take over your life. The decision to try running in the first place and the training and learning that go along with it are all accomplishments themselves.

Favorite running book: Once a Runner

Song in your head during a run: I tend to run without music.

Have you dealt with a major injury: I finished my senior year of college with a foot injury. I graduated in a boot. That was difficult.

Running quote: “There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first…but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” – Teddy Roosevelt, who has quite a nice island in the Potomac if I might say.

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  Workout clothes are acceptable errands attire here.


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