Sue Tate, Jori Beck, Christa Elza and Kelly Bauer finish up the Georgetown 10 Miler on the C&O Canal Towpath March 9. Photo: Jamie Corey
Sue Tate, Jori Beck, Christa Elza and Kelly Bauer finish up the Georgetown 10 Miler on the C&O Canal Towpath March 9. Photo: Jamie Corey

As Kristin Mitcham’s feet hit the sandy Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath in Georgetown for 10 miles, Kristin’s brother’s feet were hitting a treadmill nearly 7,000 miles across the globe — in Afghanistan. Her brother, Sean, who has been stationed in Afghanistan for nearly five months in the Army, told Kristin that he would run 10 miles on a treadmill at the same time of her race.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“My brother bought me the registration,” Mitcham, 33 of Reston, Va. said. “He buys us all presents over the internet when he’s deployed around Christmastime and holidays.”

Less than a week after “Snowquester” hit, runners who were lucky enough to snag registration for the inaugural DC Running Club Georgetown 10 Miler were all given a present: An out-and-back flat course along the scenic C&O canal path with clear blue skies, bright sun and 45 degree weather.

“A lot of runners today are asking for trails,” said race director John Braithwaite. “We could have easily had 1,000 to 1,500 runners, based on folks calling and people inquiring about the event.”

Since 2008, the DC Running Club has been holding races with a special twist throughout the area, including Take a Sick Day And Run a 5k and the Cupid’s Single Mingle Sprint. In the fall, the club will also host a five-mile disco Roll or Run where athletes will have the option to rollerblade or run.

“Folks get tired of the same 5ks or 10ks,” Braithwate said. “We like to come up with different themes for events.”

Starting March 18 at 6 p.m., the club will kick off their free beginner running training program on Mondays and Tuesdays in Haines Point. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the club also meets at 6 p.m. in Marlboro, Md.’s Watkins Regional Park.

First-place retired Marine, Alex Hetherington, 45 of Va., won the race by several minutes in 55:52. Hetherington, who will compete in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, said he has been running competitively since high school.

“Running has been an important tool for a lot of reasons,” Hetherington said. “It gives you a reason to set goals.”

The Georgetown 10 Miler attracted runners from all over, including New York City.

“I usually do the New York Road Runners races,” said Neal Sussman, 30. “Those races are usually 4,000 runners. It’s nice to get a small competitive field where you can actually have a chance to win a race–or come close to winning.

Though 550 runners seemed like a small crowd for Sussman, the DC Running Club had to start the athletes off in several different waves to avoid large crowds on the tight canal path, which remained open to the public. Runners who hadn’t registered for the race however, were not able to enjoy the benefits of volunteers handing out water at various mile-markers along the course and a large, supportive crowd greeting them at the finish line.


Rotary Resolution 10k

Starting off the New Year on the right foot has become a tradition of many at the Leesburg Rotary Resolution 10k and 4k.

The course, described as challenging by winners Alex Hetherington and Peggy Yetman, starts at Ida Lee Park and runs through [button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]Historic Morven Park. The recent snow created a damp, muddy cross country type course for the 700 or so runners in both races.

Yetman, who won the Ringing in Hope 5k the day before was one of many runners who chose to race both on the last day of 2012 and also the first of 2013. She has been taking time off from serious training, but is racing anyway. Ending her 2012 season with an Ironman in October, Yetman hasn’t run more than eight miles. Though she was pleased with her time of 38:44, she knew the course slowed her down. Once she knew had clinched the women’s victory, she started to chase down some of the men to see how high she could finish overall. She was less than two minutes behind the overall winner Alex  Hetherington.

Hetherington, a Vienna resident and a father of four thought “the course was great – very challenging.”

Having also run the day before at the Fairfax Four Miler, he said his time was on par for what he has been running lately.

“At my age the goal is to stay the same pace, I don’t want to slow down, but I know I’m not getting any faster,” he said.

His resolution for the New Year is to, “be more patient with my kids. Things can get a little crazy with four kids that include 11 year old triplet boys. Running is my chance to be alone doing something I love.” The late start time was a draw for him as well as the lure of coming to Leesburg for the first time. “I’d definitely run this race again.”

Carol Shuford, of Alexandria, and her friend Gina Welc both ran the Fairfax Four Miler the night before, but really wanted to start a new tradition of starting off the first day of the year by doing something healthy. Both women are Ironman finishers and will be training for Ironman Wisconsin in 2013. When asked why they chose to run the Leesburg race, “Because we can. It also keeps us out of trouble.” Carol who raced the Rotary Resolution Race for the eighth time loves the race because it is low key and the terrain is unique from other local races. The pair of friends will be back in 2014 for the 17th running of the race.

For the Ashworth family the race was truly a family affair. Gary and Kim, parents’ to 11-year-old twins Hannah and Jakoblove doing races together. Kim and Hannah chose the 4k, while Gary and Jakob ran the 10k. Leesburg locals, they chose this race because they wanted to “start the New Year off right and stay fit together as a family.”

On course Kim, was seen cheering for her son and husband after her race was over. Running together is not the only family tradition this foursome has. They individually come up with their resolutions for the year and share them with each other before dinner that night. Not wanting to ruin their tradition they kept their goals and resolutions for the upcoming year closely guarded.

As the sound of the guitar echoed in the gym, runners like Paula Fergusson laughed when asked what her resolutions were for 2013.

“Hold on, let me think, I know I have one,” she said. “Complete another half marathon!”

Was this a last minute goal or one she had in mind before? One can’t be sure, but maybe sharing her goal, will help her achieve it in 2013. Fergusson’s husband Ernie ran his first 10K. What better way to ring in the New Year than by accomplishing a goal in the first 12 hours.

Race Co-Director Carole Maloney wants to grow the race in 2014. The race raises money for eight different charities each year raised over $20,000. Unique to this year’s race was every participant being toasted with sparkling cider as they entered the Ida Lee Gym after the race.

“We really pay attention to the small details and make this race one that participants want to return to year after year,” she said. “Vie De France donated all the cookie dough for our post-race cookies and a gentleman in our Rotary Club baked them fresh New Year’s Eve!”

The music, provided by Dave Berry, added to the hometown feel of the race and created an atmosphere of joy as runners shared their running dreams and goals for 2013. Berry, a former local, who started providing the race entertainment in 2004, drives up from South Carolina every year because of the numerous requests from participants.

“Overall we want to create an experience runners won’t soon forget,” he said.


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