A former West Point classmate needed a new kidney, and Dave Ashley did a blood test to see if he was a match.
After further testing, it turned out he was. But when he tried to research whether he’d be able to keep doing endurance sports, which helped him with anxiety issues resulting from deployment, he wasn’t able to find answers.
“So I really had to make this decision kind of blindly, hoping that on the other end I’d still be able to do at least some of the activities that I’m really passionate about and are therapeutic for me,” said Ashley, now 46, who lives in Arlington.
This coming January will mark four years since the now-retired U.S. Air Force colonel donated his kidney — and he’s showing that living with one kidney isn’t stopping him as he completes athletic feats, from ultramarathons to bike rides.
Though she put away her jumping spikes a few years ago, Lake Braddock alumna Maddie Manhertz Swegle is still flying through the air, this time in a navy fighter jet. On Friday, she will become the first African American tactical air pilot.
Though she was primarily a long and triple jumper at Lake Braddock and later at the U.S. Naval Academy, Swegle was willing to pitch in on the track too, including running a leg of the 2012 AAA state champion outdoor 3200 meter relay team that finished with a six-second lead over West Springfield in 9:20.9.
“My guess is that she enjoyed jumping more than she enjoyed the 400 and 800, but if we needed her on a relay, she was always in,” said Bruins Coach Mike Mangan. “That tells you a lot about her, doing that for the state championship. She was super team oriented and her teammate adored her. People felt good just being around her.”
The race tried to go on, to fight to the end. But with a little more than three months to go, the Marine Corps Marathon reached a point where the reality of the coronavirus pandemic was too much to face on Oct. 25. It followed other large marathons in canceling, including Chicago and New York. Marine Corps will offer a virtual racing option. A day later (July 21), the Army Ten-Miler announced that it too would not hold an in-person race. It had been scheduled for Oct. 11 but had delayed registration.
“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” said Race Director Rick Nealis. “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines. While we are unable to celebrate in-person this October, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the 45th anniversary event to the homes of runners around the world through a rewarding and engaging virtual experience.”
The bottleneck for the race came in the start and finish areas near the Pentagon and United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington County. Virginia limits gatherings to 250 participants and the starting line can see crowds of more than 20,000 runners in close quarters. In an attempt to reduce the roughly 28,000 runners who show up ever year on the last weekend of October, the race tried to shed runners, canceling the in-person 10k (good for 5,000 – 8,000 finishers annually). An attempt to stagger starts would run up against the deadline to reopen the 14th Street Bridge, forcing the race to tighten pace restrictions to 12:00 per mile, which would have cut nearly 8,000 of 18,000 who didn’t maintain that pace in 2019 and nearly 7,300 of more than 20,000 finishers in 2018.
The drew criticism from runners who questioned the race’s self-appointed moniker as “the people’s marathon.”
“Health and safety are our top priorities during this challenging time,” said Libby Garvey, Arlington County Board Chair. “The Marine Corps Marathon is a treasured event and tradition in our community that Arlingtonians look forward to each year. As we celebrate the race’s 45th anniversary this year, we will be enthusiastically and virtually cheering on each runner. We can’t wait to welcome these dedicated athletes and fans back to Arlington in person in 2021.”
A little farther away, the Baltimore Marathon (Oct. 17) and Richmond Marathon (Nov. 14) remain on schedule as of their most recent updates.
Just seven years ago, Marine Corps came within a day of canceling supply orders, and the race, in the face of the federal government shutdown that would have prevented runners from using most of the course.
As her World Class Athlete Program team stood victorious in winning the 2015 Army Ten-Miler, Kelly Calway lowered her five-month-old daughter, Hattie, into the trophy. She fit perfectly.
Four months later, when Calway came home from Los Angeles with a stress fracture, it was her eight-year-old, Hazel who told her, “Mom, I love you,” and helped ease Calway’s fears that she had let the family down when she dropped out of the 2016 Olympic Trials.
As Calway, of McLean, nears the 2020 Trials, she’s counting on pushes from her family to help her get closer to the 25th place finish she notched at the 2012 Trials or her 2013 Marine Corps Marathon title than to her injury-shortened 2016 race.
“My dream is to get my whole family running together,” she said.
She’s close to it. Her husband, Chris, is training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon. Hazel, now 12, has been running 5ks since she was a four-year-old in Girls on the Run, and Hattie, now 4, has run a mile. The three set up water stops and cheering stations on her long runs as she puts the finishing touches on her training.
It took U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Lindsay Carrick two hours and 43 minutes (and 43 seconds) to run the Military World Games marathon in Wuhan, China. It took more than three weeks to find out her effort was good enough to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
But the course and race management checked out, and it made the fall and winter a lot simpler for Carrick, who had been aiming to run under 2:45 for two years.
Her coach, Patrick Gomez, said the Olympic Trials qualifying time was a larger goal, but he wanted her to be able to do well at the Military World Games without overdoing it. They had a backup race planned if needed.
“We went into the race saying let’s set ourselves up to be as successful as possible, and it just happened to be an Olympic Trials qualifying mark,” he said.
After running his 16th Army Ten-Miler, Gen. Dennis J. Reimer, the former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, reflected on the role that physical fitness plays in today’s military, his career in the Army and his life as a runner.
This year, at age 80, he ran the course in 2:07:07. During his tenure as chief of staff from 1995-1999, he ran the course, in 1998, in 1:10:45, finishing 1,207 out of 7,933 men.
Liz Ozeki told people that she would retire when she broke 3:00 for the marathon.
Two weeks after setting a big marathon PR in Chicago, she ran, and won, the inaugural Marine Corps Marathon 50k.
Ozeki, of Rockville, ran 3:42:04 to outpace Judy Doldorf, of Manassas, who ran 3:52:00. Lisa Reichmann, of Gaithersburg, ran 4:15:10 for third.
Brittany Charboneau tells her fair share of jokes, but she made a serious play for the Marine Corps Marathon record.
Aiming for 2:37:00, the Colorado-based comedian, actress and improv instructor took off after a few easy miles, grabbing the lead from 2015 and 2018 MCM winner Jenny Mendez and hitting the halfway mark at 1:18:05. Mendez eventually dropped out short of 20 miles.
The second half of the race was also not kind to Charambou, who ran 2:36:34 at the 2018 Los Angeles Marathon. She won Marine Corps, running 2:44:47, but given her goal, she wasn’t happy.
“I just didn’t feel great today,” she said. I felt good all week. Everything went heavy. It was a mental battle from the beginning.”
Jordan Tropf just wanted to see what he could do.
Turns out, he could win the Marine Corps Marathon.
Leading from the start, the 27-year-old Silver Spring resident built a lead of a 1:26 at the halfway point and went on to win by 70 seconds in 2:27:43, much of the second half coming in a driving rain.
“I felt good, so I went early, but nobody went with me,” he said. “I got a little worried after a while, because there are always a lot of good people back there and they can get you in the second half.”