Dustin Whitlow leads Mike Wardian in the second mile of the Marine Corps Marathon 50k. Photo: Charlie Ban

Liz Ozeki told people that she would retire when she broke 3:00 for the marathon.

She lied. 

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. 

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Brittany Charboneau leads the Marine Corps Marathon coming off of the National Mall. Photo: Ed Lull

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.” 

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Jordan Tropf holds his Marine Corps Marathon lead coming off of the National Mall. Photo: Ed Lull

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.”

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More runners than I can identify head up Lee Highway during mile two of the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Charlie Ban

 

Marine Corps Marathon

Oct. 27, 2018

Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C.

7:30 50k start
7:45 Handcycle start
7:55 Runners start

Race website
Course map
Runner tracking

With the introduction of a 50k and a likelihood of rain for the first time since 2015, the Marine Corps Marathon will have enough curveballs to keep everyone on their toes this year.

The marathon course will weave through Arlington County before crossing the Key Bridge into Georgetown, taking a trip up and down Rock Creek Parkway, around Hains Point and the National Mall before crossing back into Arlington, where runners will finish by climbing the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn. The 10k follows the last 6.2 miles of the marathon route. The 50k will add just short of 4k out and back on Canal Road to the west after runners cross the Key Bridge.

You can track runners here.  Read on to learn about the best way to watch the race, why you shouldn’t run using someone else’s bib, who has run every Marine Corps Marathon and find out about the time the race was a day away from cancellation.

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Elvin Kibet trails Patrick Koskey in the fifth mile of the Army Ten-Miler. Photo: Dustin Whitlow

Army Spec. Elvin Kibet did in her first try what her husband, Olympic 10k runner Shadrack Kipchirchir, couldn’t in three — win the Army Ten-Miler.

And thanks to cool weather that was a treat to runners who had suffered through the last two muggy editions, she broke Kerri Gallagher’s event record, running 54:05 to Gallagher’s 54:50 from 2014 on a course that was altered last year to avoid the deteriorating Arlington Memorial Bridge. She and men’s winner Lawi Lalang (48:38) are both members of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. They were also college teammates at the University of Arizona.

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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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Name: Lisa Romanzo

Self-described age group: my mornings fueled off coffee, my evenings off wine and ice cream, my current bosses can’t even complete full sentences, and I’m in bed by 930… i must be in the 30-35 range. waiting to move on up to the next age group!

Residence: Ashburn

Occupation: Physical therapist, but currently on hiatus to be home with my kids.

Why you run: Running makes me a better person. It’s my “quiet” time. With a traveling husband and family states away, running serves as my hobby but also my self care time. It allows me mental clarity, to work through things in my head or to just be in that meditative, steady state where I am free of thought. I love the endorphin release. How strong it makes me feel. And for the invaluable lessons it continues to teach me about self acceptance, resilience and hard work.

When did you get started running: Once college soccer came to an end, I needed an outlet to maintain some sanity and release some energy to get through graduate school so I picked up running. When I was deployed to Afghanistan, about three years later, my love for running grew deeper. Not only was it one of the only things for me to do, it filled the void and served as my therapy at a pretty low point in life. I carried it with me during the transition home and ran my first marathon, Marine Corps, that same year. I haven’t turned back since and running has never given up on me!

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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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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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