Dylan Hernandez (left) finishes the Boston Marathon. Photo: Johnny Pace

Rockville’s Dylan Hernandez (2:26:02) and D.C.’s Madeline Hartlieb (2:57:52) were the first D.C.-area runners across the finish line at the 127th Boston Marathon.

Roughly 500 local runners finished – I go by residence at the time of a runner’s registration, so some have come and gone since. Please let me know, because I imagine I made a transcription error somewhere in the process.


Despite facing strong headwinds in the closing miles of the race, Hillary Bor broke the men’s American record for 10 miles at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Sunday, running 46:11 for second overall. He trailed Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kidanu by three seconds. Bor ran the 3,000 meter steeplechase on the U.S. Olympic team in 2016 and 2020, finishing seventh in 2016. Greg Meyer set the previous record of 46:13 at Cherry Blossom in 1983. Results Photos  

Once again, the race served as the USATF 10 mile championships, and Sara Hall won the women’s division in 52:37, finishing behind second overall Uganda’s Sarah Chalangat’s 52:04. Vienna’s Perry Shoemaker broke the American record for women ages 50-54 with her 1:00:37.

Reston’s Susanna Sullivan, last year’s overall winner, was the D.C. area’s top finisher in seventh place, running 53:25. D.C.’s Zach Herriott was the top local man, running 48:57 for 14th place. Herriott won the race’s virtual competition in 2020. Bethesda’s Ben Beach completed the race, having run each Cherry Blossom dating back to when the race was started by the D.C. Road Runners

The race’s 50th running brought a new focus to the 5k race, which had previously been held as an alternative to the 10-mile distance. The race was held a day earlier and moved to a flat course starting at Freedom Plaza, where Baltimore’s Johan Fagerberg (15:03) and D.C.’s Casey Greenwalt (18:13) each won their respective races.


Running Shorts


Running Shorts

  • Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon will include changes to the latter miles of the race, with the finish moving to Judiciary Square from its longtime home at RFK Stadium. The start of the race will include a trip over the Arlington Memorial Bridge after several years away.
  • The Potomac Valley Track Club was a close second at the USATF Masters Indoor Track Championships. Vienna’s Perry Shoemaker ran 10:07.36 to set an American record for the indoor 3,000 meters for the 50-54 age group.
  • Registration has opened for this year’s Army Ten-Miler.
  • The Chocolate City Relay is accepting applications for the group’s June 10 event around Washington, D.C. Apply here
  • After its winter hiatus, the District Running Collective will resume its Wednesday night runs this week. RVSP here
  • South Lakes’ girls 4×800 team finished second at New Balance Indoor Nationals.

RRCA Club Challenge photos

Runners kick off the RRCA Club Challenge. Photo by Charlie Ban

Runners from local clubs including the D.C. Road Runners, Georgetown Running Club, Prince George’s Running Club, Montgomery County Road Runners Club and more raced the RRCA Club Challenge Feb. 26 on Howard County’s hilly 10-mile course. The Georgetown Running Club won the overall, women’s and men’s team competitions, along with overall titles for Sam Doud and Kerry Allen, who set the course record. Check out photos here




Note: This profile was written by Wake Forest University student Cooper Sullivan, I just can’t get his name to show up on the byline.

It’s only a few minutes after 11 o’clock. For what seems like an hour, they wiggle their fingers over their wristwatch’s START/STOP buttons. They twist their toes digging their metal spikes deeper into the dry Oklahoma dirt. It’s completely silent if you ignore the 255-heart drumline beating heavily in anticipation. Everyone is waiting for the trigger.

From a bird’s-eye-view, the cluster of collegiate cross-country runners could easily be confused for a bunch of scarecrows. They are standing quite still in a field in the middle of flyover country. But unlike the ragdolls that are just placed wherever the farmer so chooses, these lanky but fierce athletes have fought extremely hard to place themselves in this field. This is the race that will crown a national champion.

Luke Tewalt is somewhere in that cluster below. He’ll be there for the next half hour, give or take a minute, and hopefully towards the front. An individual title is out of reach today, but frankly, that’s okay. A team trip to the top of the podium would be more rewarding to Luke than a solo summit. It would be naive, however, to see his humility and think he runs the same way. For the junior from Wake Forest University, just making it to the national championship meet isn’t enough, otherwise, he would have been content with last season’s 140th-place finish. He’s worked tirelessly, all season, ending his days exhausted, all for this very race. He’s a hungry competitor and he’s going to prove it. But first, Luke is going to run a 10k.




Starting blocks

In 2013, Jamille Callum graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C. and moved north to Washington D.C. He traded in his spikes for a whistle and began coaching track at Washington Latin, a public charter school for fifth through twelfth graders. Callum would coach the high schoolers — until one spring day in 2015.

Tewalt was a seventh grader at this point. Running on the middle school track team was just something to do when he wasn’t on the pitch chasing a soccer ball or deking defenders with a lacrosse stick. Nothing more than a way to pass the time. Although Callum was running a varsity practice, he couldn’t help but pay attention to what was happening on the middle school side of the track. 

“I was just mesmerized for some reason. It was nothing extravagant that he was doing, nothing out there that much, but just the way he was running, the way he handled himself and the way he separated himself from the entire [group], other classmates, or other teammates that he had been practicing with.” As his future coach, Callum was determined to reach Tewalt and help him along the path to becoming a high-class runner. There were only two hurdles in the way. 

The first was his age. At only 12 years old, Tewalt was still a full year and a half removed from competing with the high school team. Even when he would be eligible for the varsity team, he would still be at least a year younger than his competition because Tewalt had skipped the fourth grade. Whereas most people would see this discrepancy as a disadvantage, Callum and Tewalt saw this as an opportunity. Callum brought Tewalt, now an eighth grader, to an exhibition meet at one of the area schools. Everyone else was a high schooler, but because the races were hand timed and unofficial, the middle schooler was “thrown into the fire” and allowed to compete. 

“I put him in the 800, nothing super long, but just to see what he could do. He went out there, man, and he just demolished the heat he was in. He had a great race,” Callum said. “The time [overall] wasn’t super, but the time for his age was good. It wasn’t so much in the top tier but maybe in the middle section of what a high schooler should be running an 800 meter race. I remember talking to his mom, who came to the meet, and I said ‘He’s gonna be a really good runner next year.’”

After this, the Washington Latin duo was convinced that age would not be an issue. Starting then Tewalt trained with older runners, raced against older runners, and won over older runners. It’s still the case today as Luke is in 28th place after the first two kilometers. It is early and by no means a guaranteed result, but things are looking good for the kid. Eight kilometers of rolling dirt roads and dusty hills in Stillwater are still ahead, but if Luke keeps at his current pace, he will cross that finish line soon. 

The path that Coach Callum had helped form to take the young runner to the next level was clearly mapped out, but there was still one last hurdle in the distance. A tall one at that. Did Luke Tewalt even want to keep running?


Getting in stride

At first, the question emerged from a busy schedule. During the school year, running is an every-season sport — cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring — and all the seasons are crucial for young athletes to keep improving their times and techniques at all distances. This level of dedication would be a necessity if Tewalt ever dreamed of running in college. 

But that wasn’t the dream. The dream was to play lacrosse for Johns Hopkins University in nearby Baltimore. It was the first sport Tewalt took seriously and had to put it to the side because of his size. “Everyone was so much bigger than me and I was just getting slapped. They would dish it out here with their sticks and I’m like ‘Maybe this isn’t for me.’” 

During his freshman winter in what was supposed to be the first season Callum would officially coach Tewalt, the 120-pounder went out for the wrestling team. As the lightest person on the Washington Latin wrestling team and the only one in the 120-pound weight class, Tewalt was often paired up to spar with the only other kid on the team who didn’t have a partner — a 285-pound heavyweight. “He would just pick me up. I would try to do stuff, but… It was stupid, but I’m glad I did it. It was fun.” This was the only winter that Tewalt wore a singlet, returning to a more passive sport in the spring. Tewalt spent the rest of his high school days solely focusing on running. 

Tewalt was committed to becoming the runner Callum knew he could become. With more dedication each season, Tewalt’s times got faster while his accolades grew. By the time he graduated high school, he had won 11 state championships, broken countless meet, state, and even national records (he held the AAU’s 3k record for a 14-year-old), and earned two Gatorade Player of the Year Distinctions for the District of Columbia. Pretty soon, colleges began popping up on Tewalt’s recruiting radar. 

Georgetown, the school only a few blocks from where he had grown up, and Wake Forest, a school Tewalt had only heard of because of their soccer prowess, were the final two. Whichever running program Tewalt ended up choosing would be receiving a true student-athlete, as he was determined to earn a degree in politics and international affairs above any other accomplishment. Tewalt decided to move south to Winston-Salem, wanting to experience something new. Although he was leaving the District, the success he found on the tracks didn’t stay in Washington.

Tewalt’s sophomore track season at Wake Forest was one he will never forget. In late January, the 19-year-old claimed the American U20 3000m record. Two weeks later, he ran the first four-minute mile in Wake Forest history. He also qualified to represent the United States in the U20 World Championships in Cali, Colombia over the summer. His own expectations for running rose tremendously. The amount of effort he was prepared to put in this upcoming year would increase substantially.


Staying on track

Luke’s days are scheduled to the minute around being the best possible runner he can be. At 11:24 a.m., 14 and a half minutes after the starting gun went off, Luke runs past the halfway point of the race. He’s slipped a few spots to 33rd but overall he is still in good shape. Wake Forest, which went into the race ranked 12th in the nation, is currently in 5th place. Luke is still in All-American territory, the top 40 runners, and the Demon Deacons are looking at their best team finish in over three decades.

But now is not the time to celebrate. The mental race is just beginning.

At Wake Forest, there isn’t a lot of time for Luke to do anything else besides focus on running. For cross-country, he wakes up at 5:30 a.m., hops in the team van for the short drive over to Salem Lake, runs anywhere from eight to 10 to 12 to however many miles Coach John Hayes has planned that morning, comes back to campus for a full slate of politics classes, squeezes in a quick study hall before afternoon lifts and meetings, and then goes straight back to the books. Even before Luke goes back to his room in Poteat Residence Hall, he is absolutely exhausted. Some nights it’s hard to tell if the 9:30 p.m. bedtime is because of recovery and being rested for the next day’s early workout or if it’s just because of exhaustion. 

Kyle Merber, one of Hayes’ former runners turned pro, was providing color commentary for the television broadcast. “I know their training. These guys are strong. They were built for a 10k.” Merber may have been referring to Hayes’ attention to physical strength and stamina, which is no joke. The Sunday after winning the ACC Championship, Hayes had the team running 16 miles on dusty roads an hour south of Wake Forest’s campus. But what Merber was alluding to was Hayes’ devotion to stengthening the team’s mental fortitude. 

“[Cross country] is really a mental sport,” Tewalt said. “The physical aspect is kind of easy because in practice we show that we are consistent and strong and capable every day. But it’s on these days when there’s pressure that we have to be our biggest supporters mentally.” 

Each runner must find the balance between a cutthroat competitor’s edge and a subdued state of sanity. Too much of one can lead to complacency, while too much of the other can spiral toward a destructive hyper fixation. This all needs to be taken into account within one’s physical feelings (a nagging knee, heavy breathing, etc.) as well. They also need to know where their teammates are in comparison to them and how their individual performance impacts the team. It also means forgetting the outcome of the previous race, but trying to sustain any confidence or momentum. Volunteer assistant coach Brandon Lawrence describes it more simply as “a mindfuck.” 

Hayes and his staff do their best to keep stressors at bay, especially before a meet. The last on-campus practice before the team travels to a meet always ends the same way. Hayes gathers the guys who are racing and talks strategy with them. They’ll speak about the course, they speak about the weather, they speak about who to watch out for, they speak about specific tactics, they speak about running a race. They speak about how to stay focused during moments of blinding pain, how to maintain composure during moments of frustration, how to feed off the energy of others, how to somehow just keep running. 


Running through the finish line

ESPN’s cameras are set up at the 9k checkpoint. The runners turn the corner, aching from the previous 26 minutes, and are met with more agony, a hill sprint. It’s like the camera at the top of a rollercoaster, except everyone’s face is far less flattering. The pain is very visible in Luke’s face, but he’s not stopping his stride. It’s picking up speed. There is a look of determination in his eyes. He is going to push through and keep running. 

The overall pace is increasing. Charles Hicks of Stanford is starting to pull away with a lead. The tiny town on the Greiner Family Cross Country Course is the loudest it has been all day. The overall pace is increasing. Northern Arizona and Oklahoma State are dualing for the team title. Luke can see the finish line at this point. Everyone is sprinting now. It’s going to come down to one final kick. Every last place will count. Hicks wins. For Luke, the race will be over. One hundred meters away. 

The previous week at Southeast Regionals, Luke Tewalt ran a sub-30 minute 10k for the first time. Today, Luke Tewalt smashed that personal best by 30 seconds. Ten kilometers in 29:22.5, good enough for 22nd place and All-American honors. The entire team finished 5th overall, the highest mark ever. 

As the racing directors calculate the final standings, Luke Tewalt, Hayes, and the rest of the team huddle together. They hug, they laugh, they smile, they shed a tear, they gasp for air, and they head off for a cool-down jog. Just like that, the season is over. 

Next week, Luke Tewalt will take a break, go home for Thanksgiving and rest. He’s earned it. He’ll run again in another week, but not any longer. He can’t keep still for too long.


Running Shorts

  • The National Park Service will close East Potomac Park for one week in early December to divide the road on Hains Point to add a dedicated bike and pedestian lane to the inside half of the road.
  • NPS will hold a virtual public meeting a 7 p.m. Dec. 6 to address planned safety improvements along Arlington County’s portion of the Mount Vernon Trail.
  • The entry lottery for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile will run from Dec. 1-5.
  • Herndon’s Gillian Bushee, McLean’s Thais Rolly and Good Counsel’s Leah Stephens qualified for the Champs National Cross Country Championship (formerly sponsored by Foot Locker).
  • Georgetown’s women finished 10th and the men 31st at the NCAA DIvision I Cross Country Championships, with Washington Latin’s Luke Tewalt (Wake Forest) finishing 22nd and John Champe’s Bethany Graham (Furman) finishing 27th to lead D.C.-area natives. Gonzaga’s Gavin McElhennon (Johns Hopkins) finished 27th and George Marshall’s Sophie Tedesco (Chicago) finished 60th at the Division III championships.
    • Division I
      • 21 Maggie Donahue – Georgetown
      • 27 Bethany Graham – Furman, John Champe
      • 39 Grace Jensen – Georgetown
      • 59 Chloe Scrimgeour- Georgetown
      • 86 Sami Corman – Georgetown
      • 123 Melissa Riggins – Georgetown
      • 190 Chloe Gonzalez – Georgetown
      • 216 Katy-Ann McDonald – Georgetown
      • 22 Luke Tewalt – Wake Forest, Washington Latin
      • 77 Bryce Lentz – Air Force, Colgan
      • 105 Derek Johnson – Virginia, Tuscarora
      • 132 Parker Stokes – Georgetown
      • 137 Antonio Lopez Segura – Virginia Tech, Colgan
      • 150 Sean Laidlaw – Georgetown
      • 171 Sam Affolder – Washington, Loudoun Valley
      • 178 Camden Gilmore – Georgetown
      • 184 Rohann Asfaw – Virginia, Richard Montgomery
      • 210 Matthew Rizzo – Georgetown
      • 225 Lucas Guerra – Georgetown
      • 250 Abel Teffra – Georgetown
    • Division III
      • 60 Sophie Tedesco – Chicago, George Marshall
      • 71 Sarah James – Lynchburg, Brentsville District
      • 155 Katie Hirsche – Haverford, Edmund Burke
      • 166 Genevieve Dibari – Pomona, Stone Ridge
      • 202 Ilana Zeilinger – Bates, Georgetown Day School
      • 27 Gavin McElhennon – Johns Hopkins, Gonzaga
      • 91 Aaron Bratt – Haverford, Walt Whitman
      • 144 John O’Rourke – Catholic
      • 160 Timothy Boyce – St. Lawrence, Northwood
      • 187 Daniel Ferrante – Christopher Newport, Fairfax Christian
      • 190 Sean Enright – Johns Hopkins, Sherwood
      • 203 Sam Llaneza – Lynchburg, Brentsville District
      • 262 Aidan Nathan – Case Western, Briar Woods
      • 272 Tor Hotung-Davidsen – Lynchburg, Oakton
  • Sidwell Friends alumna Taylor Knibb won the Ironman world championship 70.3 in St. George, Utah.

Jim Ehrenhaft has coached his share of fast runners in his career, but the runners who made up his DCSAA-winning St. Albans team have been ahead of the curve.

Senior Pierre Attiogbe and sophomores Sebi Hume and William Strong, the first (15:52), second (16:43) and fourth place (15:50) finishers, have all been varsity contributors since their freshman years, and those strong finishes, along with sophomore Laszlo Wolfe in 10th (17:43) and seniors John Rhee and Jack Thomas in 13th (18:01) and 14th (18:03) helped the Buldogs to their first DC title, a 30-54 win over resurgent Gonzaga.

“I’ve never had guys that are ready to race so early in their careers,” Ehrenhaft said. “We stress long-term development, and they all came from a middle school program that emphasizes moderation and enjoyment of the sport.”


That means Ehrenhaft’s job has to shift to motivating his young charges to do something besides increase their training load. During their freshman track seasons earlier in 2022, Strong and Hume won the DCSAA mile and two-mile titles while Attiogbe was recovering from a stress fracture.

“Kids can get so excited about it that they want more and more, but they’ve done a great job of being patient, looking at the long term,” he said.

Attiogbe ran away from the pack at the very start, and cruising to a 51-second victory at Kenilworth Park, a low-lying loop that was mud-free in the first time since the race has been held there starting in 2016.

“As long as I finished first, I was happy,” Attiogbe said. “That meant we’d have a good start with the team scoring.”

Having a strong team has made the season even more fun for Attiogbe, who’s had his share of individual accolades, including wins at the Maryland and Skip Grant invitationals and a close runner-up finish at the Milestat Invitational, where he ran 14:45 for 5k. He, Hume and Strong swept the top three places at the IAC Championship.

“We have a lot of people to work with, it’s not a one-man show. We’re a real team,” he said. “We’re a bunch of guys who want to get better, as long as we’re with each other.”

This season, Attiogbe has focused on his pre-race visualization, anticipating how much certain points of the race will hurt and preparing himself to overcome them. He’ll join his St. Albans teammate Damian Hackett at Cornell University next fall.

The St. John’s girls managed to withstand a bout with the flu to win their third straight title 50-56 over National Cathedral School.

“It tore through our boys team before WCACs, but we thought the girls dodged a bullet,” said coach Desmond Dunham.

The customary large pack of Cadets started out in the front, but by the second lap of the course, fatigue combined with a hot day started to take a toll. Georgetown Visitation sophomore Vivian Kelly broke free of the pack and ran away on the second lap, looking back slightly while tracing the curve on the far end of the course to check on her lead.

“I usually start out fast because I get a lot of motivation when people cheer for me when I’m leading, but I let other people take the lead this time,” she said. “We went slower than I would have liked, but I was able to finish a lot faster than I usually do. I was proud of my last mile.”

Her 20:12 was a 22-second lead over National Cathedral freshman Cecilia Wright, who was leading a charge of her own. She combined with sophomores Caroline Lee (fifth in 20:52) and Margot Benelli (sixth in 21:00) to start the Eagles’ scoring off strong, but even wounded, St. Johns’ depth was too much to overcome.

Senior Caroline Gotzman did manage to dodge the illness that befell her twin sister, and she moved up throughout the race to finish third in 20:41.

“That was great for Caroline to come through for us like that,” Dunham said. “A lot of times she’s overshadowed by Meredith, but she ran a tough, smart race that showed how much she’s learned over the years.”

Junior Jennifer Maxwell was next in ninth in 21:30, with classmate Nell Droege three seconds back in 11th. Seniors Meredith Gotzman and Sophie Mattheus finished 16th (21:39) and 18th (21:56) to get five Cadets in before the Eagles had their fourth. 

“This championship is a story for the history books,” Dunham said. “We don’t mess around with fevers, so we just kept them hydrating and checking their temperatures, hoping we could time it right with people recovering or being able to race before things got bad.”

The cancelation of the 2020 cross country season meant the core St. John’s team that started its wining streak in 2019 couldn’t go for a clean sweap, but it didn’t dull the team’s ambitions. With enough time to rest and recover, the Cadets are hoping for a strong race the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast meet after Thanksgiving.


All alone on the Marine Corps Marathon course, Kyle King had a lot of time to think. Even as he led Jon Mott by a minute in the 16th mile, he reflected on the extensive research he had done on his rival, specifically Mott’s recent 2:17 at the Berlin Marathon.

“I stalked him pretty hard before the race, and he ran some 5:05s in his last 10k at Berlin,” King said. “I started hurting early on, my calf started acting up in mile 12, so I knew I didn’t have a safe lead because he was gunning for me. I was running scared from 16 to 23.”


While Mott, 35, had raced five weeks prior, King, 33, had spent all summer and fall in the California desert, where he’s a captain stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Aside from his girlfriend accompanying him on a bike, he trained alone, but as he approached two 180 degree turns in miles eight and 17 on race day, he wanted to make sure he didn’t waste the chance to be seen.


“I needed to look like I felt fantastic,” King said. “If he knew how much I was hurting, I was in trouble. Some races, I feel like I’m floating until mile 18, but I was working really early on today. I wanted to exude confidence and strength.”

His 2:19:19 was the second-fastest finish in 25 years, three seconds behind a tie for the 10th fastest in the race’s 47-year history. Mott was roughly 3.5 minutes behind in 2:22:46.

King took the lead from the start, coming through two miles in just under 11 minutes.

“I didn’t want to go out any faster than 5:25s, but that was hard because I was excited to race, the weather was great and I was ready to go,” King said. “I thought he was going to cover my moves, but I guess he decided not to go with me.”

Mott is a Lakeland, Fla.-based coach and three-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, and while he initially picked Marine Corps as a race he could try to win, the trip became as much about supporting the nearly two dozen of his athletes who were racing the marathon and 10k after he was invited to race Berlin in September.

“I ran the race that I thought would win it, but I had no idea what kind of fitness he was in,” Mott, 35, said. “I was playing defense, hoping he’d fade, but he never did. I thought I might be able to catch him, but by 20 miles I could tell he wasn’t coming back.

“It was the easiest marathon I’d ever run, but I couldn’t go any faster.”

While he took time off after Berlin to recover, Mott felt he was missing the 160-mile weeks that had carried him to that recent personal record.

King spent much of 2021 and early 2022 living in Alexandria while in officer training school at Quantico, and had planned to race the 2021 Marine Corps Marathon before the in-person race was canceled a month out. The disappointment led him to take drastic measures — running a 100k in Natural Bridge, Va.. He got a grip and focused on his road training, which led him to a win at the MCM Historic Half in May.

Fascinated by search and rescue, King initially planned to join the Coast Guard after graduate school, but found his skills weren’t in high demand. But the Marine Corps seemed like it would be a nice blend of amphibious operations, making for a challenging career. Several years later, the Good Boys Running Club in Denver reawakened his love for running.

He had planned to race Marine Corps in 2019, but was selected for the World Military Games, where he ran 2:16:56 for eighth place. He was the 2020 Marine Athlete of the Year after his 47th place finish in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Mott, coincidentally, was 47th in the 2016 Trials.

The King sought in the Marine Corps came into play during his run up to the marathon. A weeklong training exercise in the desert left him only nighttime to try to fit in any running, and an encounter with a rattlesnake put an end to that. After that, a trip to Big Bear Lake in California for a long run at altitude became a four-hour fiasco when the fire roads he planned on were closed, a detour took him through zealously-guarded private property and the way out means crossing rocks that threatened to wreck his ankle. It wasn’t the smoothest buildup, but he couldn’t argue with the outcome.


Experience breeds improvement for women’s winner Baker

The last time Chelsea Baker ran Marine Corps, it might as well have been half a lifetime ago. In a sense, it was.

Her 2019 effort, ending up in a 59th place in 3:22:48, run in a downpour that transitioned to a steam bath, was just three years into her running career, which stared when she joined the British Royal Navy.

“I wasn’t really athletic before I joined the military, but I got pulled into cross country,” Baker, 32, said. “This was my second marathon when I ran it in 2019.”

In the intervening years, the dearth of major competitions gave Baker time to develop as a runner, and by the time she got back to Arlington for the 2022 Marine Corps Marathon, she was confident and like King, fed off of that confidence to carry her to victory in 2:42:38, the ninth fastest time in a race history that has seen more churn than the men’s, with five other top-11 times run in the last 25 years.

Not that she knew she was winning from listening to the crowds.

“They must have gotten confused with the 50k, because people kept telling me I was in fourth or third,” Baker said. “I just tried to drown them out and focus on my own race. To come back and win this has been mind-blowing.”

The 50k started 40 minutes before the marathon, and women’s winner Melissa Tanner ran just fast enough that she finished 23 seconds ahead of Baker, too close for the finish line crew to stretch out the finishing banner again for Baker. While most runners want to make sure they have enough left in the tank to finish strong, particularly on an uphill final stretch like Marine Corps, Baker got to prove it when she went back and crossed the finish line again for her photo op.

She had some input into her race plan from her boyfriend Adam Stokes, who was the 2019 runner up.

“I knew I didn’t want to go out too fast, so I stuck to that plan and didn’t start hurting until mile 23. I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I might have run faster if I had someone on my shoulder pushing me.”

Now a Royal Navy team elder, it fell to Baker to stress the restraint her coach had preached, and she followed to success.

“It’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere,” she said.


Fun for the whole family

Ryan Udvadia’s work as an accountant stresses details, but there was one he forgot in the lead up to the Marine Corps Marathon — changing his wife’s last name on her registration after the Clifton Park, N.Y couple’s June wedding. Cara Udvadia, 25, will go in the record books as Cara Sherman, but her time — 2:47:08 for second among women, is just as sweet.

“After I graduated from college, I felt a little lost, not having a team with goals to work toward,” she said. “It was definitely an adjustment, but once my dad started coaching me, I felt like I was on the right track again.”

Now a few years into her career as a hydrological engineer for the U.S. Geological Survey and out of the pandemic, she’s back to the level of consistency she missed from college.

She started the race relaxed but found runners to keep her company from mile eight to 18.

“I felt smooth until mile 24.5,” she said. “If another woman would have caught up with me, I’m not sure I could have responded. But I see how people get addicted to this.”

The Udvadias, both University of Albany alumni, chose the race because of Ryan’s connection to it. In 2019, he made good on years’ worth of threats to run his first marathon with his grandfather, Frank Capone.

“When he was little, he used to call me an tell me he ran around the block,” Capone said. “Then he went on to run in high school and then college, but he would always tell me ‘Grandpa, you got me into running. I’m going to run my first marathon with you.’ I tell him I’m too slow, but he doesn’t care.”

The pair ran 4:52:18 in 2019, mostly in the rain, and Ryan realized he bit off more than he’d bargained for.

“It was so cold, it rained so much, but I’ll never forget running with my grandpa,” he said.

His 2:27:36 debut for a competitive effort was enough for hm to need a few days to commit to another, but his response to the crowds was undeniable.

“It hurt, but the crowds made all the difference,” he said. “Even when I was slowing down after 19 miles, every time I passed water stop, I’d speed right up. The energy from the cheers is real.”


Moving up

Bonnie Keating, 37, a Robinson Secondary School alumna, returned for another crack at Marine Corps after finishing fifth in 2019. A transplant to San Diego, where she is a strength and conditioning coach, she felt the temperature drop from California and spent most of the race trying to warm up.

“It wasn’t by design, I just couldn’t get myself going,” she said. “I just felt off, but it wasn’t all bad.”

She ran 2:47:47 for third, though she thought she was in fourth after she passed a woman in the last few miles.

“I had good miles here and there, but they didn’t stay consistent until after 18,” she said. “When they gave me a pass for the awards when I finished, I thought there had to be a mistake.”

Like Baker, she improved on her 2019 time, when she ran 2:55:03.

The 50k returned for its second running, with Davidson, N.C.’s Chris Raulli, 34, running 3:05:45 and Baltimore’s Tanner, 41 running 3:22:15.

Raulli ran his first sub-2:30 marathon, with hopes for a sub-3:00 50k, but his last five miles suffered.

Tanner finished third overall in her first Marine Corps race since the 2008 marathon, where she fell apart in Crystal City and was mindful not to do so again.

The winners in 2019, Arlington’s Mike Wardian, 48, (3:18:27) and Rockville’s Liz Ozeki, 34, (3:33:05) both finished second. Wardian felt like his potential finishing time was wide open, given his lower training volume since finishing a coast-to-coast run this summer. Ozeki was pleased to improve on last-year’s time, particularly after she hadn’t committed to the race until two months prior, her eyes on marathons and halves this fall. Dale City’s Jonathan Ladson, 31, (3:24:50) and Hagerstown’s Lauren Cramer, 38, (3:49:43) finished third, with Ladson holding second place until the final miles.



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