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.