Washington, DC

Running Shorts

 

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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.

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A former civilian employee of the Army Ten-Miler pled guilty in June to stealing vendor funds from the Army Ten-Miler expo.

Darryl Gale, 52, faces a possible sentence of 15-21 months and will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $124,758.21, and a forfeiture money judgment, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The government’s case alleged that between Jan. 1, 2017 and Nov. 30, 2018, Gale deposited money into his personal bank accounts from race vendors who purchased boths at the expo. He told vendors to make payments to him, explaining that his director was allowing him to personally sell a certain number of booths as a bonus.  Gale worked for the race as a civilian between 2012 and 2018.

 

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Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

On July 12, Silver Spring’s Shlomo Fishman will be running 40 miles around Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington D.C. to raise money for the Kids In Action programs at the HSC Pediatric Center, providing inclusive recreation services for kids with developmental and physical disability. Find out more and donate here.

Name: Shlomo Fishman

Self-described age group: Competitive Open Male Division

Residence: Silver Spring

Occupation: Wellness Fitness Specialist

Volunteer roles in the running world:  My volunteering ranges from being course marshal, to assisting with the City of Rockville youth track meets, and any other roles as needed within the Montgomery County and D.C. area.

Why you run: Running allows me to be the best person I can be. When I push myself during a workout or a run, it allows me to apply it to any challenges or stressors I may face in day-to-day living.

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Miranda DiBiasio in July 2019. Photo: Niamh Brennan

Miranda DiBiasio fell in love with running while she was in high school, relieved to find an activity that was so personally rewarding. Running allowed her to breathe, calm her nerves and find peace.

She didn’t feel as seasoned as other runners her age, and she was drawn to George Washington University, which was also growing — the Colonials were debuting track teams when she would start school. She could grow as a runner alongside a new team.

Throughout her time at GW, DiBiasio learned a lot about being a competitive runner. The track program demanded more time and energy than she had ever experienced, but she took it in stride. She quickly learned that it was no longer just about showing up for runs, it was about putting in the work off the field too — a hard lesson for a lot of runners to learn. This required more work on flexibility and a ton of work on strength to correct her form. She watched her diet like it was a religion.

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The DMV Distance Derby will add two new segments starting July 1:

  • Smelling Big Stinky – 1.2 miles: Starting at Michigan Ave NE, head up John McCormack Road NE, pass the Fort Totten transfer station and finish a few steps short of the gate.
  • Colorado 1.5 miles: Starting at 16th Street NW, run on the south lane of Colorado Ave NW, follow the outside of the cul de sac clockwise and take the north lane back to 16th Street NW.

See June’s results for the previous 20 segments here.

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Alexandria’s Patrick Murray takes a gulp of water during the Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Dustin Whitlow

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer — which can mean one big thing for the running community: more runners are taking to the region’s sidewalks, paths and trails.

As more runners ditch the treadmill in favor of running outside, there are health and safety reminders to consider. Chief among them is knowing the correlation between warmer temperatures and running risk, said Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the medical director of MedStar Sports Medicine for the Washington region. Spring can yield some warm-but-not-too-warm running conditions, but “just because the air feels [cooler], you have to be careful,” he said.

Temperatures can feel comfortable and quickly get dangerous as you exercise, he said. Runners need to be careful with outdoor exercise when temperatures are between 73 and 82 degrees, but with higher humidity levels — a foregone conclusion in the D.C. area — temperatures as low as 73 can be high risk, Dr. Douoguih said.

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Johnny Gregorek, son of two Georgetown track alumni and a professional mid-distance runner, talks about his record blue jeans mile and the fundraising he did for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in his brother’s memory.

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For almost nine months, a giant paper map of D.C.’s streets took up a good bit of Jarad Schofer’s floor like an oversized jigsaw puzzle. Now, to his wife’s delight, he can pick it up for good. After almost 2,500 miles of running, Schofer put in the last piece of the puzzle June 13 — filling in a 2 kilometer route near Logan Circle — and met his goal of running every public street and alley in Washington, D.C.

But he didn’t achieve his unwritten dream. 

“I really wanted someone to see me running and invite me to their barbecue, to offer me a beer,” he said.

As the weather and grills heated up, Schofer instead found himself running through streets of a city dealing with a deadly pandemic, one that kept people from approaching him the way they did before and while it made it easier to navigate the streets, he couldn’t be as friendly and open with people he met along his way. He also worried public health restrictions could approach some in Europe, where people couldn’t stray too far from home.

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