Washington, DC

When Kristen Serafin felt like a failure, running helped come back. Twice.

The first time, it was on a monthlong road trip with her now-fiancé Erin Kelman. The second time, when it was even more complicated, it gave her insight and an incentive to share her experience and strive to come out of it more motivated.

Back in September, recovering in Garfield Memorial Hospital in Utah, Serafin asked her attending doctor what would sound like an insane question: Could she run Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim? A 47.5-mile run though the Grand Canyon and back, 10 days after losing a pregnancy she only learned about two weeks prior. To her surprise, she got the go-ahead to accompany Erin.

“He was practical about it, he told me ‘you’re going to be tired, you lost a lot of blood, but I think you can do it if you want to give it a shot,'” she said, “He told me I might need to bail, but there’s nowhere really to bail.

“When I felt like I was a failure because I couldn’t do this thing my body was supposed to be able to do, I still wanted to do something amazing.”

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Running Shorts

  • East Potomac Park and West Potomac Park will be closed to pedestrians during peak cherry blossom bloom, which is a variable but generally forecast to be March 26 – April 12, so Hains Point will be inaccessible in an effort to reduce crowding during the pandemic.
  • Montgomery County is closing Little Falls Parkway, between River Road and Arlington Road.
  • Marine Corps Marathon men’s course record holder Jeff Scuffins (2:14:01) died at 58.
  • Thomas Jefferson alumna and Springfield resident Shauneen Werlinger was a guest on the D3 Glory Days podcast.
  • Georgetown sophomore Maggie Donahue and women’s cross country coach Mitchell Baker were honored by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as athlete of the year and coach of the year for the Mid-Atlantic cross country region.
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Moonlight on the Falls Marathon

Join us for the Inaugural Moonlight on the Falls Marathon August 28-29, 2021 at beautiful Blackwater Falls State Park in Tucker County, West Virginia. Beat the summer heat and run with us under the stars and enjoy the perfect running temperatures

As fog rolled rapidly though the Cumberland Mountains in Eastern Tennessee, it created a strobe-like effect as dawn was breaking. From a fire tower, Rockville’s John Kelly could be seen, then not seen, then seen again… climbing a long hillside cleared for power lines.

Conrad Laskowski and Ed Aramayo watched Kelly pick up something orange, shake it around and put it on his head.

“It was a wool hat,” Laskowski said.

Photo: Conrad Laskowski
John Kelly climbs “Rat Jaw” on his fifth loop of the 2017 Barkley Marathons. Photo: Ed Aramayo

Even five days later, the excitement perked up Kelly’s otherwise calm even-keeled demeanor.

“I spotted that orange hat I’m like, ‘Score! this is awesome!” he said. “It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen.”

That hat, along with the plastic grocery bag he had fashioned into a poncho, helped Kelly, 32, mitigate the cold and rain and repurpose them to help propel him forward, with just a few miles to go in what was likely 130 miles over 59 hours and 31 minutes, over some of the most rugged terrain in distance running.

In 2017, he became the 15th person to complete the Barkley Marathons over 30 years, the first from the Washington, D.C. area.

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It started as a game — run a mile a day until things went back to normal.

For Pat Early and his children, it was a way to keep their heads up as the world reacted to the novel coronavirus, as they adjusted to school at home and a suddenly changed world. Then things didn’t go back to normal.

“We thought it would be a couple of weeks, maybe a month,” Pat said. “Now we’re a week away from a year and they’re still doing it.”

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9th Annual America’s Adopt A Soldier 5/10 k — 500…

The goal of our upcoming 9th annual 5-10k is 500 Toys for our Toy Bunker at WRNMMC
We have the only “Toy” distribution “Bunker” at WRNMMC and gather new toys all year round.

The running course (trail) at Lake Accotink

Running Shorts

  • The W&OD Trail bridge spanning Lee Highway in Arlington opened March 12.
  • Montgomery County will resume closing two sections of Little Falls Parkway to motorists on weekends starting March 27.
  • Loudoun County’s Office of Mapping and Geographic Information has launched a new mobile-friendly online map of the county’s unpaved roads.
  • The Montgomery County Council will be discussing budget amendments March 23 at 9 a.m., including the includsion of the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel. View the meeting here
  • The People’s Alliance for Rock Creek is organizing a campaign to ask the National Park Service to permanently close upper Beach Drive to through traffic.
  • The College of William and Mary announced that its men’s track and field team, previously retained for a season after initially being cut last September, will remain an NCAA sport.
  • Georgetown’s women team finished 18th and its men’s team finished 22nd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships March 15 in Stillwater, Okla. Georgetown alumnus and former coach Mike Smith coached Northern Arizona to the men’s title and Walt Whitman alumnus and former Georgetown coach Will Palmer, an assistant at Alabama, helepd coach women’s winner Mercy Chelangat and third place finisher Amaris Tyynismaa. Individual finishers with D.C.-area connections included:

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Running Shorts

  • Registration for the Marine Corps Marathon’s virtual options will open Wednesday, March 10 at 12 p.m.. If the race is able to be run in-person this October, those registered for the virtual race will have priority for in-person registration.
  • Pacers Running, Summit to Soul and Vida Fitness are holding a virtual event at 7 p.m. March 10 for International Womxn’s Day including 40 minute yoga class and a panel discussing womxn’s leadership in the running community with Pacers CEO Kathy Dalby, Summit to Soul owner Kim Wattrick, Track Tuesday coach Keshia Roberson, New Balance’s Morgan Taylor and the November Project’s Katherine Foley. Learn more here
  • The District Department of Transportation and Rock Creek Park are holding a remote public meeting from 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. March 18 regarding the Rock Creek Park trail.
  • Georgetown’s men’s and women’s cross country teams qualfiied for the NCAA Championships, George Mason sophomore Annanbelle Eastman qualified as an individual
  • Georgetown graduate student Robert Brandt ran 13:24.31 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters.
  • Georgetown alumna Emily Infeld ran 31:08.57 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters. She was a guest on the More Than Running and For the Long Run podcasts.
  • Oakton and American alumna Keira D’Amato has signed a professional contract with Nike. She ran 32:16.82 at the Texas Qualifier to meet the U.S. Olympic Trials standard for the 10,000 meters.
  • I just learned about Georgetown alumnus Andre Laboy’s podcast Conversation Pace, which has featured interviews with a slew of other Georgetown alumni:
  • Georgetown alumna Josette Norris was a guest on the Run Your Mouth podcast.
  • A handful of local runners won distance titles at the Virginia Indoor Track state championships:
    • 5A 4×800 meters Freedom (South Riding) 9:46.88 – Kayleigh Burke, Maya Porter, Madison Garber, Mackenzie Keller
    • 6A 1600 meters – Zach Morse Oakton 4:16.73
    • 3200 meters Bryce Lentz 9:23.25
    • 3200 meters Gillian Bushee Herndon 11:07.52
    • 4×800 meters West Springfield 8:09.87 – Luke Hawkins, Alex Asady, Tyler Weeks, John O’Donnell
    • 4×800 meters West Springfield 9:48.11 – Chloe Miller, Ella Johnson, Aidan MacGrath, Jane Bruenjes
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In any other year, a chilly Thursday morning would see a group of D.C. Road Runners gather in the pre-dawn hours at the Yorktown High School track. Paul Ryan would show up clad in his decades-old puffy U.S. Naval Academy warmup suit.

“Everyone else would be wearing tights, but Paul has this almost-plastic coat,” Rich Mendelowitz said. “It works for him, it’s all kind of old school and it fits his personality.”

Ryan, an Arlingtonian who recently turned 70, has been choosing his running partners carefully during the pandemic, waits for the days when he can get together with people to race again, or just hang out.

“I look forward to being with fellow runners again and feeling good about that bond with fellow runners because right now except for running with one or two different people, it’s been a very solitary existence,” he said. “I avoid crowds, I avoid places where other people are, so running has become what I do when I want to get out of the house and go do something.”

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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.

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