Washington, DC

The weekend of the 2019 Houston Marathon, Maura Linde reviewed the course map for a final time — not to make sure she had every turn, hill, and water station memorized, but rather to scope out the medical aid stations so she could drop out with people nearby.

“I really did think I wasn’t going to finish it,” she said.

Just five days before the race, she had caught a stomach virus that had torn through the cross country athletes she coached at Johns Hopkins University. She was aiming to run under 2:45 to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, but she and her coach, Jerry Alexander of the Georgetown Running Club, almost pulled the plug.

“I couldn’t eat real food till a couple days before,” Linde recalled, saying she instead focused on staying hydrated. “I didn’t run again till the Friday before for a shake out.”

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The D.C. area is at the heart of some of the most beautiful and dynamic running routes in the country. The DMV is surrounded by scenic paths, urban gems, woodland trails, historical parks, lakes, and sprawling fields. But despite all that the area has to offer, many runners will time and time again repeat the same set of loops from their front door.

Vivian Smith is a cybersecurity consultant in Manassas. She does not want to fit the trend of running from home or work each day. She travels somewhere to run at least four days a week, even if that means driving only a minute or so to get there. “I’ll drive half a mile to a park so that I can enjoy more of my run in the park than on the shoulder-less road on the way to the park,” she said.

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Lucky Leprechaun 5k

Run like you’ve got the luck of the Irish on your side! After the race enjoy a fun filled celebration at the finish line! The starting gun for the Lucky Leprechaun 5k goes off at 8 AM at Reston Town

Chip time doesn’t mean a thing while chasing an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. It was going to be up to Rachel Viger to hurry across the starting line at the California International Marathon, then run the 26.2 miles even faster than the 2:45:00 qualifying time. 

She wound up taking 12 seconds to get across the starting line because she didn’t make the elite start, coming into the Dec. 8 race with just a 3:03:59 personal best, set a year before at the Marine Corps Marathon. From that alone, running under 2:45, plus those extra seconds, would seem daunting. But she did it, with 46 seconds to spare.

“She was a 3:03 marathoner but she wasn’t really a 3:03 marathoner,” said Capital Area Runners Coach George Buckheit. “It looks shocking to a lot of people, but most people don’t realize how good she was in high school and college.” 

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Mark Robinson poses with members of the Bell Multicultural High School track team. Photo: Courtesy of Mark Robinson

In 2011, Mark Robinson, a longtime coach at Catholic University, was at a crossroads. 

He was essentially juggling two full-time careers: His job as head cross country coach and assistant track coach at Catholic, and his job as a curriculum manager for a D.C. nonprofit. 

Robinson, a CU graduate who set records on the track that still stand today, opted to retire from coaching to focus on the job that paid his bills. 

“It was a gut-wrenching decision,” he said. 

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Pot O’Gold 10k

Join =PR= for the 2nd annual Pot O’ Gold 10K! If you are lucky you might find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! The starting gun goes off at 8 AM in One Loudoun. The course

Running along the C&O Canal Towpath last fall, Dan Meteer bumped into Arlingtonians Mike Crozier and Clint McKelvey. Typically a solo runner, Meteer joined them, and listened to the two discuss a friend’s marathon training.

By Meteer’s retelling, they expressed skepticism their friend was running enough to help him break 2:19 and qualify him for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Approaching his own debut marathon at California International a few months later, Meteer, 24, was eager to hear their opinions, then horrified.

“I’m just like oh god, they’re basically talking about me,” he said. “I decided, ‘screw it, I’m going to run 100 miles a week.'”

It was a risky move for a guy who spent most of five years at Brown going from injury to injury, still new to having consecutive months’ worth of training. But the gamble paid off, and he ran 2:17:43 in his first marathon.

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When Arlington’s Elizabeth Briones crosses the Frosty 5K finish line, her time is nowhere close to what she ran in college. She has a smile on her face, though. As far as the last few years are concerned, it’s a personal best by well over a minute.

What matters is that she’s out there again.

Almost 18 years ago, she was about to leave on a physical and emotional journey that just recording a number of miles wouldn’t begin to document.

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Devotion to Children Mother’s Day 4 Miler

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day, than to run a 4 Miler in her honor! We love our Moms! The Mother’s Day 4 Miler and Fun Run is Stroller Friendly! Includes a 4 miler and a 1 mile fun

Do you want want to start 2020 with a race? Establish a standard for running for the new year? Lean into the punch after a New Year’s Eve party? Want to enjoy some unseaonable warmth? Do you just want to run with some other people? A variety of races and running events are yours for the striding, and three – The New Year’s Day 5k in Reston, the New Year’s Day 5k in Gaithersburg and the Predicitions and Resolutions 5k – are among RunWashington’s 2020 ranked races.

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The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk. Photo: Myla Neal

As a new resident of the Woodbridge and Occoquan River region, I was eager to explore what the local running trails had to offer this past summer. On one early morning run in June, I passed a freshly paved blacktop trail veering off from the sidewalk along Rippon Blvd., which hadn’t been there the week before.

I followed the trail for a few minutes to discover a spacious parking lot and a playground. As I continued, I came around a bend in the trail to discover a wide, pristine boardwalk winding like a serpent over Neabsco Creek and the surrounding wetlands.

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