Twenty-one years of distance didn’t make the recent explosion at the Beirut seaport any easier for Zé Dagher.
Though he has been away from his native Lebanon for roughly half of his life without plans to return, the explosion, which killed more than 180 people, injured 6,000 others and caused more than $15 billion in property damage prompted the Falls Church resident to do something.
At this same time, his friend, Patrick Vaughn, had been making nearly-annual trips to the country over the last two decades, mostly with his Lebanese ex-wife and their children. Their commisseration led to inspiration.
“It was a pretty rough moment, we decided we had to do something together,” Dagher said.
Jarad Schofer shares stories from the streets during his nine-month journey around all of D.C.’s public streets and alleys.
For almost nine months, a giant paper map of D.C.’s streets took up a good bit of Jarad Schofer’s floor like an oversized jigsaw puzzle. Now, to his wife’s delight, he can pick it up for good. After almost 2,500 miles of running, Schofer put in the last piece of the puzzle June 13 — filling in a 2 kilometer route near Logan Circle — and met his goal of running every public street and alley in Washington, D.C.
But he didn’t achieve his unwritten dream.
“I really wanted someone to see me running and invite me to their barbecue, to offer me a beer,” he said.
As the weather and grills heated up, Schofer instead found himself running through streets of a city dealing with a deadly pandemic, one that kept people from approaching him the way they did before and while it made it easier to navigate the streets, he couldn’t be as friendly and open with people he met along his way. He also worried public health restrictions could approach some in Europe, where people couldn’t stray too far from home.
Ashley Donovan is used to starting off her ultramarathons with a low-key command. “Go” usually suffices. But the start of her latest 24-hour run was accompanied by sirens.
At 6:01 a.m. May 9, as she started on a day’s worth of solitary 0.2-mile loops around the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad building and parking lot, an ambulance rolled out on a call. That service, and her fundraising run, hammered home the 24-hour nature of emergency response and demonstrated why she was doing this. The secretary on BCCRS’ Board of Directors, Donovan, of Upper Northwest D.C., has been a volunteer EMT since 2015.
“People have been surprised when they hear I’m still volunteering,” during the coronavirus pandemic, she said. “This was a fine opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our emergency response system.”
The fundraising effort around her feat totaled more than $11,000, which will be split between the rescue squad and Feed the Fight, a nonprofit that feeds emergency and healthcare workers meals from local restaurants and caterers.
Tysons’s Chris Gellene, 58, spent his Easter Sunday differently than most. While families around the country were asleep in bed, Gellene was finishing up a 100-mile run sometime between 3:30 and 4 in the morning. But after some rest and a good night’s sleep, he says, “I got up the next day, it was Easter morning. I got and went about my Sunday.”
Originally signed up to run the Pistol 100-Miler in Tennessee, Gellene was worried when he learned that he would not be able to run the race. Gellene is no stranger to the 100-mile distance. The Pistol 100-Miler would have been his 12th.
“I trained for it and I was in shape and I’d run a lot of mileage,” he said.