By Brenda Barrera
Washington, DC
March 22, 2010
For the Washington Running Report

With a brutal winter all but a distant memory thanks to temperatures that rose to the 70s, more than 9,200 runners finished this year’s fifth annual SunTrust National Marathon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon and Team Relay on Saturday in Washington, DC.

Local favorite Michael Wardian, of Arlington, VA (photo left), captured his fourth title, crossing the finish line in 2:21:58, and took home $2,000. For most of the contest it was a battle between Wardian, 35, and the defending champion, Patrick Moulton, 28, of Providence, RI with Wardian running in the lead and pulling ahead at each major split. Moulton’s 2:26:03 was well off his 2009 course record time (2:21:17) and afterward he said, “Hats off to Mike for his win.”

Wardian, who has garnered several honors this past year including 2008 and 2009 USATF Ultra Runner of the Year, felt pretty confident in his performance. Afterward he said he attacked every hill and stayed focused in order to post one of his fastest race times. “It was a terrific race,” exclaimed Wardian. “I love that my family was all able to be here.” Next up for the ultra marathoner is the Marathon des Sables and Comrades Marathon. Paul Howarth, of Albuquerque, NM, took third place in 2:27:19.

In the women’s race, Krista Vrombaut, who just started running competitively two years ago, captured the title with a PR in 2:51:17 and also received $2,000 for her win. “I played soccer in college and used to hate when our coach made us run three miles,” recalled the 27-year-old from Rock Island, IL. Michaela Driscoll, of Coventry, RI, ran 2:55:50 to finish second, and a local standout, Arlington’s Mary Beth Chosak, 31 (photo below), rounded out the top three with her time of 2:57:32.

The top masters were Kris Warszawski, 50, of Northville, MI, with a time of 2:44:00, and Tracy Wollschlager, 41, from Novi, MI, took the women’s title with her 3:03:50. Each earned $250.

Chris McDonald, 50, of South Riding, VA, won the wheelchair division with a time of 3:01:35.

An invasion from the Midwest might be an apt descriptor for the top finishers of the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon, since the top three men and two of the top three women were from either Indiana or Illinois.

Coming off a personal best in the 5,000 at the Husky Classic in Washington with a 14:03, Mark Fruin, from Bloomington, IN, came to DC looking to run a sub-1:05:00 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. While he narrowly missed it with his 1:05:02 win, Fruin, who competes for Team Indiana Elite, was still happy. The 24-year-old credits a group effort, “It helped to come out here as a team.” Teammate Stephen Haas, 26, from Bloomington, IN finished second just 12 seconds behind in 1:05:14. Also making the podium was Jeff Jonaitis, 28, from Tinley Park, IL who set a PR with this 1:05:58.

The top local finisher, Silver Spring’s Dirk De Heer, finished 5th overall in 1:07:37 for his half marathon debut. According to his blog, De Heer thought the weather was amazing but noted the rolling hills on the course were tough.

In the women’s race another member of Team Indiana Elite, Laura Farley, 25, won in 1:18:38. Although her time was slower than 2009, Baltimore’s Phebe Ko placed higher with her second place 1:19:03 finish. “I’m coming off an injury so I wanted to use this race to test my fitness,” said Ko (photo left). Like many others in the race, she spent many hours training on the treadmill this past winter. Dani Prince, 24, also from Team Indiana Elite, rounded out the top three with her 1:19:37 finish.

This year’s race featured two icons of the sport: Four-time winner of the Boston and New York Marathon Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first women’s Olympic Marathon, spoke at Friday’s Health and Fitness Expo and both also ran the half marathon. Rodgers, 62, finished in 1:46:02 and Benoit Samuelson, 52, won her age group in 1:22:33.

“It was a good solid run,” said Benoit Samuelson. “It’s an Honest Abe course, it’s not flat.”  She’s coming back to DC in a few weeks to run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile.

Next year’s race will be held on Saturday, March 26. For more Also, check out the May/June issue of Washington Running Report for race coverage.


2010 SunTrust National Marathon

2,325 finishers


Overall Men (clock time)
1. Michael Wardian, 35, Arlington VA - 2:21:58 ($2,000)
2. Patrick Moulton, 28, Providence RI - 2:26:03 ($800)
3. Paul Howarth, 32, Albuquerque NM- 3 2:27:19 ($700)
4. Matt Woods, 30, Falls Church VA - 2:33:30 ($500)
5. Ruben Galbraith, 26, Portland OR - 2:35:01 ($300)
Overall Women (clock time)
1. Krista Vrombaut, 27, Rock Island IL - 2:51:17 ($2,000)
2. Michaela Driscoll, 30, Coventry RI - 2:55:50 ($800)
3. Mary Beth Chosak, 31, Arlington VA - 2:57:32 ($700)
4. Arien O'Connell, 26, New York NY - 2:57:45 ($500)
5. Shannon Saunders, 25, Charlottesville VA - 2:59:37 ($300)

2010 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon

6,239 finishers
Overall Men (clock time)
1. Mark Fruin, 24, Bloomington IN - 1:05:02  ($1,000)
2. Stephen Haas, 26, Bloomington IN - 1:05:14  ($500)
3. Jeff Jonaitis, 28, Tinley Park IL - 1:05:58 ($250)
4. Adam Hortian, 25, Waterloo ON CAN - 1:07:19 ($200)
5. Dirk De Heer, 28, Silver Spring MD - 1:07:37 ($100)
Overall Women (clock time)
1. Laura Farley, 25, Bloomington IN - 1:18:38 ($1,000)
2. Phebe Ko, 27, Bethesda MD - 1:19:03 ($500)
3. Dani Prince, 24, Bloomington IN - 1:19:37 ($250)
4. Kristin Andrews, 28, Bethesda MD - 1:21:00 ($200)
5. Kathryn Neeper, 26, Washington DC -1:21:06 ($100)

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