Washington, DC
Michael Ogunsalu leads a pack of his teammates in the first mile. Photo: Charlie Ban

The Bowie State football team, following its first CIAA title last fall, took a break from preseason practice for its inaugural 5k. Senior safety John Johnson IV, 21, demonstrated that he hadn’t been slacking off on days he hadn’t made practice by winning the race around the campus in 19:49. Reston’s Robyn Kenul, 32, a recent transplant from Long Island, won the women’s race in 21:08.

Check out photos from the race here

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Name:  Laura Povlich

Self-described age group: 35-39

Residence: D.C.

Occupation: Program Director at NIH

Volunteer roles in the running world: Event Coordinator for my local triathlon club, District Multisport

Why you run: My motivation for running has changed throughout the years, but I’m currently motivated to get outside, see new and beautiful places, and spend some miles with running friends.

When did you get started running: I started running about 12 years ago to try to get into shape after undergrad. I spent most of my younger years dancing and running seemed like a logical hobby to pick up. My husband also started racing triathlons around that time and I was inspired by the variety of athletes that competed.

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New Year’s Day 5K

Start 2020 off right by running the first 5K of the year! All the fun is at Reston Town Center starting at 10:00 am (so you can even sleep in a little).

Registration fee is $35 until fees go up

Natalie Bardach, her iron levels back to normal, raced well at the Third Battle Invitational in 2018. Photo: Charlie Ban

It was seven months.

Seven months of torturous unknowing. Seven months of never-ending fatigue and sluggishness for George C. Marshall High School alumna Natalie Bardach. Seven months of doubt and disappointment. Seven months of just surviving a sport she had once thrived in, helping to win team conference, regional and even state titles.

For a high school athlete with only four years — twelve total seasons — of running available to them, seven months is 20 percent of their career. It feels like an eternity.

“I [didn’t] even know what to do anymore,” Bardach said. “I [was] training so hard and working so hard and I [was] not feeling any better. I was telling myself that it was my fault.”

For Robinson Secondary School alumna Seneca Willen, it was three months. A three month long agonizing descent from a freshman phenom who was running at the front of the pack to a slumping sophomore languishing in the back. Three months of “it’s all in your head” and wondering if freshman year was her peak.

“It was very sad,” Willen said. “I thought it was all mental and just thought, ‘I’m never going to get any better.'”

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Book It For Books 5K/One Mile Run

Reading is Fundamental of Northern Virginia (RIF of NOVA) provides books for over 20,000 deserving children at 36 schools and sites in the City of Alexandria, and in Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William counties. Help make a tangible impact in

Matt Gilchrist poses with his runners at the Northern Region track championship in May. From left: Connor Cannavan, Patrick Marlow, Gilchrist, James Monson, and Wyatt Cyr  Photo: Ed Lull

In 2012, Chantilly High School track and cross country coach Matt Gilchrist wanted to run a mile with one of his graduating seniors, state champion Sean McGorty. But the weight Gilchrist had gained over the years of putting his coaching before his own health stopped him in his tracks.

“I remember getting about 600 meters around the track and I was done. I couldn’t do it,” said Gilchrist, who previously ran at Gettysburg College. “At the time, I was 40 years old and couldn’t run a mile.”

But this past May, 162 pounds lighter, Gilchrist cruised around the track alongside one of his graduating runners, Nicole Re, who called the four laps together “a memory that will stick with me.”

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Bethany Sachtleben tightens her watch band before the 2019 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

Spot her two letters and Fairfax’s Bethany Sachtleben can rearrange her name to spell “schedule.”

Her daily routine dictates how she fits in her 100+ mile weeks around her full-time work and coaching, but even farther removed from that, she was trying to figure out where all those miles were going. Yes, the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Feb. 29, but more immediately, she was supposed to race a marathon on July 27. For Team USA.

But less than a week before she was due in Lima, Peru, she wasn’t so sure. Told in early June that she was on the Pan American Games team, she was now apparently off. She found out on Friday; Her flight was the next Wednesday.

“I heard, ‘we’re offering your spot to everyone on the 2019 (performance) list,'” Sachtleben said. Her last marathon was a month before 2019 started. Everyone else would have to decline, including runners whose times were slower. “Then I started getting calls from friends saying they had been offered my spot and they turned it down. I felt awkward and uncomfortable for everybody because it’s a huge opportunity, but nobody is going to decide to jump into a marathon the week before.”

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South Lakes 10k

Join us at South Lakes High School for the 7th annual South Lakes 10k! The race will be held at South Lakes High School at 7:30 am on August 25th. Early bird pricing: 10 k – $40; Standard pricing: 10

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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Caroline Alcorta navigates the pack during the 10k at the 2019 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Photo: Mike Scott

Caroline Alcorta had an even bigger lead than anyone expected. She came into the 2013 Virginia AAA track championships with a 3200 season’s best more than 10 seconds faster than anyone else. And with a half mile to go, she had what West Springfield coach Chris Pellegrini estimated was a 20-second lead.

“I heard people around me saying she had it in the bag, but with that weather, I just wasn’t sure,” he said, more than six years later. 

That Newport News morning was humid, and he wasn’t sure how well any runner could get much into their system that early in the day. Having run a leg of the 4×800 relay the night before, his plan for Alcorta was an assertive but measured start to give her enough of a cushion to not have to kick for the win.

She came through the mile a little fast, but the plan seemed to be working. And then it didn’t. 

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