Name: Dale Learn
Self-described age group: 45-49
Residence: Washington, DC
Occupation: Attorney, Law Partner
Volunteer roles in the running world: I have volunteered at several race water stops, finish lines, etc. for my running club, the Potomac Runners. I have also volunteered to coach track and interval training for my club. The most rewarding volunteer roles have been when I have helped get once non-runners into the sport by given advice and training tips.
Why you run: There are SO many reasons why I run. It is SUCH a central element of who I am – It grounds me, makes me feel like I have done something good for myself, is great stress relief, and is a good way to venture out into a new place. Plus, you are never as free as when you are out there and you body is in a good running rhythm and just humming along.
When did you get started running: My oldest brother was a good runner and I enjoyed watching going to his meets, especially cross county. I did local youth track, but started full time running in junior high school and continued through high school and in college (Go Dawgs!!).
Name: Kristen Serafin
Self-described age group: 30-34
Residence: Gaithersburg, MD
Occupation: Associate Director in Market Regulation Technology at FINRA
Volunteer roles in the running world: I was recently elected as a Board Member At-Large for Montgomery County Road Runners. I also volunteer as the assistant director and pace coach for MCRRC’s Summer Half Marathon Training Program. You’ll often see me at MCRRC’s low key races, volunteering for everything from course marshaling to parking.
Why you run: I find that no matter how I’m feeling, running is always there for me. I can run alone or with friends, on trails or road, fast or slow. The reliability of this sport and a love of being outside motivates me to get out the door.
When did you get started running: In the spring of 2014 I was rushed to the emergency room with pneumonia so bad that I was initially tested for a pulmonary embolism. After years of repeatedly getting pneumonia and bronchitis I was finally diagnosed with severe asthma and GERD. My pulmonologist put me on six different medications and asked me to build up my lung strength through running or swimming. I picked running because I figured that if you stop swimming, you drown, but if you stop running, you just walk. The first day I was well enough to run I made it two blocks, sat down on the sidewalk in Pentworth, and cried. I was wheezing and had to take my emergency inhaler. After a few minutes I decided that the next day I would try to run three blocks. Eventually I worked my way up to a 3 mile loop, and decided on a whim to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon.
Name: Dave Beltz
Self-described age group: 50
Residence: Arlington, Va.
Occupation: Federal Government Manager
Why you run: I run because I love it. It is a great stress reliever, easy to do almost any time of year, and if you don’t enter races, a cheap form of exercise. I also really like the running community – at races, online, and just out on the local running trails. We’re all in it together, and I like that feeling.
Name: Amanda Pinzon
Self-described age group: 25-29
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Public school teacher
Volunteer roles in the running world: Girls on the Run coach at my school!
Why you run: I run because it makes me feel powerful and makes me push myself. I’ve never been the most competitive person, but I do love setting new goals for myself. Even on days when I feel lazy, I finish my runs feeling happier, healthier, and fulfilled for the day.
When did you get started running: I started my freshman year of high school when I joined the cross country team. I had always enjoyed running the mile in middle school and felt like running was the only sport I felt comfortable doing. Spoiler alert, I threw up after my first practice. But it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This is when my love of distance running began (back when I considered 5k distance!). That team holds a special place in my heart.
Name: Marc Wolfson
Self-described age group: Men 65-69 (and looking forward to “aging up” to the 70-74 age group in November!)
Occupation: Retired Coast Guard Officer and civil servant for a total of 42 years of federal government service
Volunteer roles in the running world: I’ve volunteered for numerous MCRRC races at water stops, course marshal, and finish line announcer. I have also served as a pace group leader for the Baltimore Marathon several times
Why you run: I love the way running makes me feel physically, mentally and emotionally. My training runs are often an exercise in what I like to call “moving meditation.” Racing is the icing on the cake. Its an opportunity to gather with fellow runners and celebrate the sport that brings us together.
Name: Sara Burback
Self-described age group: 33
Residence: Washington, DC
Occupation: Nonprofit, international development sector
Volunteer roles in the running world: Leader of D.C.’s Christ City Church mission team to Israel and Palestine, where nine team members completed the half marathon.
Why you run: I run to process my day. I run to set goals and realize I’m capable of more than I think I am. I run to bond with my sister and nephews when I visit them. I run to exercise my right to movement. I run because I want to set an example that girls and women can do this, and there is power in our numbers. I run because it is act of nonviolent resistance. I run because it is an embodied metaphor of overcoming, endurance, and being a bad-ass when facing new and ongoing challenges. I run because it’s a way to explore the world. I run because I love the friends I have made in the running community. I run to tell a different story.
Name: Tyler Kameh
Self-described age group: 20 somethings
Residence: Falls Church
Occupation: Cardiac Technician (think EKG’s and stress tests)
Volunteer roles in the running world: I am a volunteer/mentor with Teens Run D.C., an awesome D.C.-area non-profit that facilitates youth mentorship and healthy habits through running. I also try to volunteer at local races when I can. I hope to pace in local races to come.
Name: Laura Cloher
Self-described age group: 35-39
Volunteer roles in the running world: Girls on the Run coach, fun run leader for the former Pacers Running store in Silver Spring, 3x pacer for Parks Half Marathon, coach for XMP (Experienced Marathon Program)
Why you run: Running makes me feel alive and is a wonderful stress reliever.
When did you get started running: I started running my senior year of high school to get into better shape. I made a goal by the time I turned 30 to run 5 marathons and I surpassed that goal by 12, running a total of 17 marathons (three were 50K’s) by the time I turned 30!
Name: Mike J. Grinnell (@MikeJGrinnell)
Self-described age group: My head says 20’s, but my last race told me I was the second fastest in the Master’s Division
Residence: West Springfield, Va.
Occupation: Design and Construction Consultant
Volunteer roles in the running world: Water bottle holder/ iPhone DJ for my wife and daughters in their races
Why you run: It’s a great way to stay in shape and long runs serve as great therapy for anything going on in your life.
When did you get started running: I was late to come over to the sport. As I got into my 30’s I needed to find sports that didn’t take a toll on my body as much. That’s when my friends Amy and Kate invited me to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach with them. Immediately after the race, I swore I was done. Now here I am.
Name: Meg Ryan
Self-described age group: F 35-39
Residence: Takoma Park
Occupation: Designer at darbstudio, mother, creative maven
Volunteer roles in the running world: I started a local running club – Takoma Park Road Runners – this past fall to bridge a connection to many of my fellow neighbors I would pass along our footpaths and trails. Since my return to running last spring, I was excited to grow my running community all over again and feel a sense of camaraderie in numbers. I also co-captain the spring running club at my daughters’ elementary school which aims to get kids ready to participate in the TKPK Safe Routes to School race in early May. We work on the basic FUNdamentals of running but most of all its exciting to see them enjoy racing each other down the field.
Why you run: I believe the majority of the reasons remain the same but now as a mother of two little energetic girls, it’s added new meaning. I run as meditation (never been a sit down “ohm” type). I run to reclaim my time and embrace the power of me. I run to be a stronger, more positive and supportive member of my family. I run to challenge the extent of my capabilities and of course, we all love the fact that here in the district the journey is sometimes best done on foot.