Name: Judy Doldorf
Self-described age group: I am pretty deep into the Masters Division at this point
Residence: Manassas, Va.
Occupation: Public Safety GIS Manager for Fairfax County Department of Information Technology
How has your running changed in the last year: As races started to get sucked up in the COVID vacuum, I went into more of a maintenance mode. Instead of following a schedule, I ran when I wanted and I didn’t stick to any set mileage or pace goals. The flexibility and not having any set goals was actually kind of nice.
Why you run: Running is just a part of my life. Not running doesn’t feel normal to me. Sometimes I run for mental clarity. Sometimes I run to feel the sun and wind and rain. Sometimes I run to spend time with friends and sometimes I just run to simply run.
When did you get started running: I’ve been running my entire life, but after having kids, I started running and racing on a regular basis. I think it had something to do with needing some “me” time.
Have you taken a break from running: I have, but not by choice. See my answer below for the major injury question.
Training shoe: I am all Altra! For road, my go to is the Altra Escalante. For trail, Altra Superior.
Coach or training group: My coach is Devon Yanko with Chaski Endurance Collective. I cannot say enough about her and this group! My training group is DQTC and again, I cannot say enough about this group!
The hardest race you’ve ever run: Maybe because it is still fresh in my head, but I’d have to say the Terrapin Mountain 50K. It is a great race that offers a bit of everything from forest roads, jeeps trails, single track, etc. with the bonus of about 7,000 feet of elevation gain which is no joke. So. Much. Climbing. This race had me walking sideways to get up/down stairs for a couple of days.
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: I’ve been heading toward the ultramarathon distance for some time now and have a few 50K races and one 50 miler under me. So, I am going to take it a bit further and see how the 100K and 100 miler feel.
Favorite local trail: I frequent the trails in Prince William Forest, so those trails are at the top of my list. I love running on the Appalachian Trail, although I don’t get the opportunity to do so often.
My best race was: I ran the 2015 NYC Marathon. This race wasn’t the best because of my result (it was actually my worst marathon time), but the experience of the race itself. The energy and excitement at this race is like no other!
Favorite local race: I am a big fan of the EX2 Adventure trail races. I’ve run a number of them over the years and they never fail to disappoint.
Ideal post-run meal: In an ideal world, my post run meal would be a huge veggie omelette with a side of home fries and bacon. But until I get my own personal chef, a fruit and protein smoothie, it is!
Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I am a fan of Spring Energy. All the flavors are excellent, but my favorite is Speednut.
Pet peeve: Runners that come to a dead stop at aid stations. I have smashed into many a runner that have done this.
Goals: I am training for my first 100K in June. I am hoping to run a 100 miler in the fall but have not decided on that just yet. It just seems so far to run. Haha.
Your advice for a new runner: Do not compare yourself to others. Run for yourself.
Song in your head during a run: I did go through a phase when my kids were younger and songs from their various shows would repeat in my head. Try running to the Team Umizoomi theme song in your head and not breaking into some sort of dance in the middle of your run. Or better yet, the Baby Shark song. Admit it, now it is in your head. You’re welcome.
Have you dealt with a major injury: Unfortunately, yes. In 2017, I suffered a pelvic fracture due to a misstep into a pothole to avoid an oncoming car. This basically transformed me into a couch potato for six months.
Running quote: “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far…”
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: The DC area has so much to offer for all kinds of runners. There are a ton of trails and paths that offer many many miles. And on any given (normal) weekend, you can usually find multiple races at various distances.
Name: Omar Ali
Self-described age group: 50-55 (but I’m on the very low end of this age group)
Residence: Kensington, Md.
Occupation: Clinical scientist for a small biotech company
Volunteer roles in the running world: I usually volunteer for various roles with my running club (MCRRC). Most of the time, you can find me working as a course marshal or serving food at the end of a race. My favorite role is handing out bibs to runners – it’s fun to see the excitement on people’s faces, especially if it’s their first race.
How has your running changed in the last six months: I usually run with the club’s Experienced Marathon Program (XMP) in the summer and the club’s Winter Trails program in the…well winter (and I really miss running with these groups). With nothing in the immediate future to train for, I’ve just been maintaining some base mileage. I’ve definitely gotten slower during the pandemic, which has been discouraging. But I figure I’ll regain the speed once I start training for a race again. The time off from training has forced me to get a little more serious with strength and cross-training, which I’ve always neglected.
Name: Megan Schoffstall
Self-described age group: 30
Residence: Montclair, Va.
Occupation: Stay at home mom to four kids, part-time admin for Honorable Service Realty
How has your running changed in the last six months: I went from training for a mile on the track to training for a 50k!
Why do you run: To challenge myself
When did you get started running: I’ve only been running for two years. I started running after seeing my husband run his first marathon in Richmond in 2018. Seeing all the runners cross the finish line that day was so inspiring. I ventured out one evening with my sights set on four miles, not actually sure I would be able to make it back home. Well, I made it back home, and I’ve been running ever since.
Name: Don Laub
Self-described age group: 60s
Residence: Cabin John, Md.
Occupation: Retired for now
Volunteer roles in the running world: None in running, although I worked with The Phoenix for some of their climbing and CrossFit activities in Boulder and Denver. The Phoenix is a sober, active community that started in Boulder in 2006 and now serves recovering alcoholics and addicts in 44 cities.
How has your running changed in the last six months: It is more consistent.
Why you run: I love running. It bolsters my emotional health especially given the stresses of the pandemic.
Name: Shannon O’Neil
Self-described age group: 25-29
Residence: NE, DC
Volunteer roles in the running world: I’ve previously volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run, and when I’m not running them myself, I can often be spotted spectating my heart out at local races.
How has your running changed in the last six months: I’ve battled a couple of injuries and basically given up on running with other people, but I’m also more grateful than ever for the days that I’m able to start my morning with a run.
Why you run: To experience something bigger than myself. Sometimes that’s the thrill of a race, or the camaraderie from a group workout. But sometimes it’s just getting to see the sun rise over the Anacostia River.
Name: Chris Denno
Self-described age group: 30s? Mid 30s? … Late 30s 🙁
Residence: Suitland, Md.
Occupation: Special Assistant at the U.S. Census Bureau
How has your running changed in the last six months: Covid running has been unique, that’s for sure. My main running groups have met less frequently, so I’ve been relegated to the treadmill a bit more. That said, I have been fortunate to still have a small core group of people that are safe and responsible enough to continue to meet up. I had been training for two marathons in Fall 2020 (Bmore and Philly), so I had been in great shape. I’ve mostly been trying to maintain and not fall to far behind (the Covid 15 is real!!).
Why you run: I call running my asphalt therapy. Running literally saved my life and I continue to do it to maintain my sanity, especially during these sideways times. It is a great way to both spend time outside with some friends, but also spend some time alone, with few distractions, really focusing on yourself. Running gives you back whatever you put in, and you can push yourself as much as you want. I also run so I can maintain my beer and bread consumption, which is obscene.
Name: Michaela Guerin Hackner
Self-described age group: The “faster as a master” crew
Residence: Arlington, but soon-to-be Bozeman, Mont.
Occupation: Design director, Upwork
How has your running changed in the last six months: For the past six years I’ve trained for triathlon and road races pretty much year-round in hopes of getting faster and hitting milestones like completing an Ironman and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I achieved both those goals, and at the start of the pandemic I was about a month away from running the Boston Marathon for the second time. That was postponed and well, most of life was postponed. So, while I started out doing challenges like the Yeti 24-hour Ultra, I quickly made the decision to give my body a much-needed break and take all goals off the table. That’s turned into running for fun and making time for other kinds of outdoor activities, like 15-mile hikes and cross-country skiing. We’re in the process of moving across the country to a place that is covered in snow, but my plan is to resume training more regularly once we’re settled again.
Name: Josh Lasky
Self-described age group: “No longer spry but not yet seasoned” aka 30-39 (I’m 36)
Residence: Kingman Park
Occupation: Managing Director and Chief Strategist, LINK Strategic Partners (communications and social impact consultancy)
Volunteer roles in the running world: Member of the Board of Directors, Climate Ride
How has your running changed in the last six months: My running during the pandemic is mostly about maintaining my mental health. Running has created a much needed calm, focused space away from Zoom calls, my Twitter feed, and the non-stop 24-hour news cycle.
Name: Emma Miller-Cvilikas
Self-described age group: 25-30
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Healthcare consultant
How has your running changed in the last six months: Since the pandemic, I’ve actually been running more. Running really brings a sense of normalcy in my day and we all need a little normal right now. I’ve also become more of a morning runner to beat the heat. That was a BIG adjustment as I am not a morning person. However, I had to adapt since treadmills aren’t available to me.
Why you run: I run for my mental health, for fun, for a challenge, for sanity and really because I love it. The beauty of running is that your relationship evolves over time and running is always there. Even if you step away, you can always come back.
When did you get started running: When I was 13/14.
Name: Exavier Watson
Self-described age group: 41
Residence: Montgomery County
Occupation: Government Contracting
Volunteer roles in the running world: Was the track meet director for four Tommie Smith Youth Track Meets in Washington, D.C., which brought over 25 youth track teams to D.C.; hosted by former U.S. Olympic track athletes in a full day of track competition and health awareness.
How has your running changed in the last six months: I have transitioned from running to stay in race shape, to running for the enjoyment of it. Before the pandemic I was racing regularly and my runs and workouts were more intense; whereas now I actually enjoy the scenery and stop regularly to take pictures of things I see.