Washington, DC

Name: Dr. Joseph Spears, Jr

Self-described age group: 50-54

Residence: Brandywine, Md.

Occupation:  Associate Professor Sport Mgmt. at Bowie State University.

Volunteer roles in the running world: Help out with races, very active in my church and serving local community service groups for males, youth sports and mentorship outreach.

Why you run: Running, for me, is a lifestyle that influences my spirit, soul and body; it’s as equal to me as a life of prayer.

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Name: Abby McIntyre

Self-described age group: F30-35

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Assistant managing editor for Slate magazine

Why you run: Running makes me feel strong and reminds me that I can do things I never thought I could.

When did you get started running: My first year out of college back in 2011, a few months after I moved to D.C. I had never been athletic growing up, but I’ve always loved being outdoors. I lived in Dupont Circle at the time, and there were always so many runners everywhere, so I thought I should try it. I started a walk-to-run plan, taking advantage of the Rock Creek Trail off of P Street and things just … escalated from there.

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Name: Daniel Trettel

Self-described age group: M 25-29

Residence: Adelphi, Md.

Occupation: Grad student, PhD – Biochemistry

Why you runI run to be the best me I can be. That applies directly to athleticism and indirectly to my academic/professional life. I don’t think I could excel in my studies without a physical output balancing it out.

When did you get started running: I started running track as a freshman in high school to get in better shape for soccer, but ended up quickly quitting due to some bronchitis. I returned the next year and it stuck. Next thing you know, I started doing soccer to get in better shape for track! I just found myself innately having a more competitive mindset for running. 

Have you taken a break from running: Yes, for about six months after college. I found myself rather disillusioned by the sport, and myself, so I just stopped. It was not a happy period for me. Eventually, however, the voice inside my head started nagging me “That’s it? You’re going to waste your efforts, all that training, what potential you have left?” so I started up slowly. Shed some (a lot of) weight, made a plan, and stuck to it training myself completely alone for over a year. In hindsight, that process is what I needed to become a much healthier athlete today.

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Name: Natalie Atabek

Self-described age group: F 25-29

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Director of Communications at AFS Financial Group

Why you run: I run because I never feel more like myself than when I’m running. No matter what kind of day I’m having, I know that once I start my run, nothing else matters and everything else can wait until I hit stop on my watch.

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Name: Adam Lesser

Self-described age group: 35-39

Residence: Fairfax

Occupation: IT Consultant

Volunteer roles in the running world: 5k Fun Run Committee member for my son’s annual elementary school 5k fundraiser event

Why you run: This has changed over the years, but anything from: pushing myself toward big goals, stress relief, to solve the world’s problems, for health and to motivate others to be active (especially my kids).

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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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Name: Norman B. Reich

Self-described age group: M 50-54

Residence: Arlington

Occupation: Owner of an IT Consulting Company

Volunteer roles in the running world: (as applies) I have been an active member of the DC Front Runners for 3.5 years, and serve on the board as co-race director finishing up my second term.

Why you run: I started running for health reasons.  I continue running because I love it and because I’m addicted.  During my March 2015 physical I was given some news about some serious health issues.  I immediately changed my lifestyle including healthier eating and walking.  At some point I decided to try running.  I thought it was just for my health, but a few weeks later I fell in love with it.  It has completely reversed the health issues that I was concerned about and lost over 50 lbs.  Running is not only good for me, but it’s a good way to clear my head, challenge myself, and also to enjoy the social aspects of doing many of my runs with the DC Front Runners and with friends.

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Name: Olivia T.

Self-described age group: Dang millennial (25)

Residence: Silver Spring

Occupation: Scientist – I work in an applied biology lab

Why you run: I really like carbohydrates and it helps keep me (somewhat) sane. My long runs alone with a good podcast are often the highlight of my week.

When did you get started running: I ran cross country in high school, but didn’t pick up the longer distances until after college, when I started training for my first marathon in the summer of 2016.

Have you taken a break from running: I didn’t really run at all for most of college. Studying and beer were way more interesting to me at the moment. Looking back on that time though, I don’t know how I just didn’t run at all. Since 2016 though, I don’t think I have taken more than five or six days off in a row, and that is only after hard races – otherwise, I am out there 5-6 times a week.

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Name: Kelly Buroker

Self-described age group: F 35-39

Residence: Alexandria

Occupation: Attorney specializing in litigation of government contracts

Volunteer roles in the running world: I have been involved with Girls on the Run, and I spend a lot of time mentoring fellow runners and pacing them in races.

Why you run: In my high-stress life, running is the one part that is completely mine. I (half) joke that my runs are often the only time I get to myself all day long. Running started as, and remains, an outlet for me.  I love that I can customize every run to what I need on any given day.  If I’m super stressed and just need to find some peace, I can run easy.  If something really got under my skin that day, I can throw on some angry music and push my limits with speed work or hill repeats.  I always return from a run in a better state of mind than when I left, and I never get less out of it than I put in.

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Name: Daniel Ahern

Self – described age group: 50-54

Residence: Logan Circle

Occupation: Public Affairs

Why you run: To beat my little brother. Every summer we meet in Falmouth, Mass., with family and friends to race seven miles through the shady early hills, then the exposed beach segment towards the mile five Allen Avenue cheering station, while turning for home up to the hill with a fast finish on the downslope. The loser has to adorn the champion with a medal and recite “you are the better runner this year, and I only hope to be your equal.” I haven’t had to say those words in many years. I could probably slow my pace and make these races competitive, but I only know one speed. And before you start feeling sorry for him, he’s a Jets fan. He’s used to losing.

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