Washington, DC
Runners cruise down Wisconsin Avenue during the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Dustin Whitlow

The inaugural MCM50K was going to be Melisa Augusto’s first ultramarathon and her ticket into the MCM Runners Club.

But Augusto, who is 36 and lives in Washington, suffered a hamstring injury in the spring, which led her to see numerous medical professionals before she found the right fit in a doctor. In a previous marathon, she had a tough time with the mental aspect, she said, and she wanted this experience to be a good one.

“I love the sport, and I don’t want to hate the sport,” she said.

So, Augusto decided to defer her MCM50K entry to 2020.

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Danielle Siebert waits for Maryland runners to pass her on a cross country course. Photo: courtesy of Danielle Siebert

Danielle Siebert goes to races all the time. But she’s normally not the one racing.

On Oct. 27, the University of Maryland cross country and track coach plans to toe the starting line in Arlington with thousands of other runners at the Marine Corps Marathon.

“It’s not that easy to race when you’re a coach, because most weekends you’re away ’cause your athletes are racing,” said Siebert, 35, who lives in Rockville.

When she decided on the Marine Corps Marathon for her second marathon, she said she needed to choose a race that wasn’t on a weekend of a competition for her team or a weekend recruits were visiting. The Marine Corps Marathon is the weekend before the Big Ten Championships, she said, which would work with her schedule.  

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U.S. All-Marine Running Team member Lt. Col. Joseph Galvin. Photo: Courtesy of Galvin

Many runners represent their running clubs or teams by wearing a singlet featuring the group’s name at races. For some runners, that team is the United States Marine Corps.

 The U.S. All-Marine Running Team provides both competition and camaraderie, said Lt. Col. Joseph Galvin, who said he’s been on the team since about 2006. The team competes against other U.S. military branches and other nations.

 “When you see runners over and over again, you get to know more about them and they get to know more about you, and it’s a great community, as most running communities are,” Galvin said. “It’s very encouraging.”

 Unlike other running groups, the team doesn’t get to train together regularly, because Marines are stationed across the world, said Galvin, who recently moved from Florida to the D.C. area. Bill Stearns and Dave Davis, coaches at Colgan High School, coach the the runners online.

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Roy Englert pauses briefly after setting the world record for 95-99-year-old men at the USATF Masters Championships in Ames, Iowa July 11. Photo: Courtesy of Jay Jacob Wind

Springfield resident Roy Englert, 96, ran 42:20.33 to shatter the 5k world record for men 95-99 at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships July 11 in Ames, Iowa. The previous record was 50:10.56.

This article was initially published in June 2018.

At age 95, Roy Englert may not have competition in his age group. But he does have the clock.

“I was running against time, actually,” Englert said of his recent performance at the USATF Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, where he broke three age group world records.

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The team arrives at the Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, N.C.

Tim Schleining agreed to take part in the White House to LightHouse Relay before he knew anything about it.  

His friend Jennifer Miller just asked him if he was free, and after checking his calendar for the dates she’d asked about, he said yes.

A day or two later, Schleining learned more. And his reaction?

“Initially shock at the audacity of it, but I was really intrigued and excited to participate,” he said.

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Race in Arlington or Washington often? Michael Lynch may be a familiar face.

In addition to running races regularly, Lynch leads weekly group runs from Lululemon in Clarendon, served as the running coordinator for Team RWB’s Washington, D.C., chapter for two years. 

Jason Taylor, the current running director for the local Team RWB chapter, described Lynch as an “amazing asset in the running community, both for Team RWB but also for Pacers as well.”

Lynch, 40, of Arlington, served in the Air Force from 1998-2007 and now works for the Department of Defense as an IT contractor. He ran a little during his time in the military, but he really got into it after being drawn to the Crystal City Twilighter 5K and its tech shirt in 2008.

Now, he has a bunch of race bibs and medals from years of racing. He said running also serves as a stress reliever.

“It’s my vice, but I consider it a good vice,” Lynch said.

Team RWB — which stands for Team Red, White & Blue — helps get veterans engaged in the cities and towns in which they live, and the Washington, D.C., chapter offers numerous group run opportunities. The run that Lynch leads at Lululemon is one of the Team RWB runs. Some runs, like that one, were existing store-based runs that Team RWB members are invited to join, he said.

Those runs are Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. and attract about 15-20 people during the warmer months, he said. He’s been leading the group runs for about a year and attended them for about two years before that, he said.

Rather than split off at individual paces, Team RWB members generally stay together or form smaller groups at group runs, he said.

“We try to be very social on our runs, so a lot of the group runs are actually literally groups,” Lynch said.

And, people don’t have to be members of the military — or even have a military connection — to join Team RWB, he said. It’s free to join, and the D.C. chapter is made up of about half military and half civilians, he said. Veterans get the team’s well-recognized red shirt for free, and civilians can purchase one.

Lynch has been a member of Team RWB since 2015. He said he considers his “crowning achievement” as running coordinator for the local chapter to be bringing Pacers Running and Team RWB together for a partnership that includes Pacers race discount codes, store events and VIP treatment at the Parkway Classic. Team RWB, which is a nonprofit, also benefits from Pacers’ Veterans Day 10K.

“I’ve enjoyed seeing it continue on as I left the role I was in,” Lynch said.  

Taylor now has that role, and the person who held the role in between them moved, so Lynch has been able to help Taylor when he has questions, Taylor said. Falling under his position are the fun runs, which are led by run leads like Lynch, and coordinating opportunities with different races, Taylor said.

Taylor, who also works as a senior salesperson at Pacers Running and as a running coach, missed being part of a group once he retired from the Air Force after 21 years in 2016.

“I think that’s something that Team RWB is great at is giving people that sense of community that are no longer in the military,” said Taylor, who lives in Alexandria.

Lynch served as an ambassador for Pacers Running, and even though the program no longer exists, he hasn’t changed his tune. When heat forced the cancellation of the inaugural Wayfarer’s Annapolis Half Marathon, Lynch battled back on social media when naysayers criticized race management.

“He was just so nice and I feel like that is such a snapshot of who he is,” said Heather Jeff, event manager for Pacers Running. “Where he shows up, he brings a great energy, he encourages others, yet he’s very loyal and thoughtful about his own voice and where he puts it in, and I think that’s really cool.”

Jeff said she sees him often at events and he’s the kind of runner that has goals but that is also able to not take running too seriously — a good thing.

He also makes sure to express his love for the organizations he’s involved with when he’s out there on the roads.

“One thing I think is really sweet about him is when you see him racing or running, he is very cognizant to rep all of his brands, so he often is in RWB shirt, a Pacers hat and maybe Lululemon shorts,” Jeff said. “He is loyal to a fault and I think the way he presents himself is absolutely adorable.”  

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Stefania Falconer with mother Jolanta Blazaite and father Andres Falconer.

There are nearly half a dozen free, timed parkruns every Saturday in the Washington area.

But there was something special about one recent parkrun — complete with cookies, cupcakes, a balloon with “100” on it and a poster that said “Go Stefania.”

Stefania Falconer, 12, recalled those things about her recent milestone-hitting 5K. The D.C. resident became the first United States parkrun participant under the age of 18 to complete 100 parkruns this April. For the occasion, she wore a parkrun milestone shirt with a “10” on the back for completing 10 parkruns with an extra “0” added to make “100.”

“It was a big deal,” said Stefania’s dad, Andres Falconer, event director for the Fletcher’s Cove parkrun, of her accomplishment.

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Runners pass through the Blue Mile during the 2018 Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon. Photo: Charlie Ban

Joshua Harmon started running while serving in Iraq. His wife, Kristin, wasn’t a runner, but she told him she’d run with him when he came home.

He didn’t come home.

Harmon was killed in action on Aug. 22, 2007, at the age of 20.

Kristin, who remarried in 2012 and now has the last name Johnson, has been able to run in Harmon’s honor through wear blue: run to remember, a nonprofit with communities across the country, including in Northern Virginia, Bethesda and Quantico. She lives in Alexandria.

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Christine Westcott runs the 2019 Boston Marathon. Photo: MarathonFoto

Christine Westcott started out the Boston Marathon with a 2:59:59 pace band on her left wrist and a 3:03:16 pace band on her right wrist. She wanted to break three hours at the race, but a secondary goal was to set a personal record.

She was about five seconds off for the first mile, and it felt like she was running a little too hard, she said. Around the five-mile mark, she made an adjustment.

“I actually literally took the 2:59:59 band, swapped it onto my right wrist, took the 3:03:16, put it onto my wrist with my watch on the left wrist, and settled in and said, you know what, I’m just going to try to PR,” said Westcott, 49, who lives in Chantilly.

And then, she just decided to run, checking her watch every so often, but not focusing on a pace band.  

Westcott finished in 2:58:48.

In addition to earning a new personal record and her first sub-3:00 time, Westcott was the fastest Washington-area woman to finish the race on April 15. She also earned third place in the female 45-49 age group at Boston.

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Jackie Gruendel catches her breath after the mile at the Patriot Games. Photo: Phil Bond

It’s been more than two decades since Jackie Gruendel was in college, but the 44-year-old runner still competes — and excels — at college meets.

Gruendel, who lives in Clifton, is able to participate in meets as an unattached runner, and she ran 5:17.51 to place fifth in the women’s mile at the George Mason Patriot Games in January.

“I literally get on the line and I could, no joke, be these girls’ moms,” Gruendel said.

She said she’s slowed down some since she ran as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, but she feels like her post-collegiate running career has been better than her college one.

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