By Brenda Barrera
March 26, 2011
For Washington Running Report
Long lines of racers get underway.
Under clear skies, chilly race temperatures in the 30s, and the backdrop of the RFK Stadium, more than 13,000 runners finished this year’s SunTrust National Marathon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon, and United Way National Team Relay in the Nation’s Capital, setting an all-time record number of participants.
SunTrust National Marathon
While it may not have been a surprise to local fans that Michael “Mr. National Marathon” Wardian earned his fifth SunTrust National Marathon title in six years, this running icon never takes anything for granted. Coming off a disappointing third place finish at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon last week, the Arlington runner had a look of determination as he lined up at the start.
“I was not happy with my last race so I took off my watches for this one,” said Wardian who usually wears more than one watch when he races. His strategy of “attacking each mile” paid off with a 2:23:01 victory, but his main goal is to run a 2:19:00 qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials.
How is this win compared to his other four at this event? “This was really special,” said Wardian as he held his two boys, Pierce and Grant, in each arm after completing the 26.2-mile race.
Canadian Greg Wieczorek, 29, finished five minutes later in 2:28:08. Compared to racing in the far north Wieczorek quipped, “This is beach weather!” He stayed at the finish to greet his wife, Maura, 29, who notched a seven minute PR with her 3:06:05 finish. Another familiar runner from the local scene is Wilson Komen. He finished third in 2:31:00, despite missing the marathon split-off and ran with the half marathoners before realizing his mistake and turning back to get on the right course.
In the women’s competition, Russian Nadezhda Tuptova, 35, who is training in Gainesville, FL, won in 2:50:53. Virginia Beach’s Renee High, 29, (photo) took second place in 2:53:05 and Beth Woodward, 35, from Orrville, OH rounded out the top three in 3:01:26.
Chris McDonald, 51, from South Riding, VA was the lone wheelchair competitor. He completed the marathon in 3:08:17.
For Yvette Ju (Rockville, MD) today’s race was extra special. She celebrated her birthday with 2,866 other marathoners, finishing in 4:29:42. It was also Casey Simpson’s (Columbia, MD) birthday and she ran a 1:55:42 half marathon to celebrate her big day. Other half marathon birthday runners included Douglas Edgecomb (Washington, DC) who finished in 1:52:24 and Sam Hadley (Arlington, VA) who ran 2:39:31. Ryan Leirvik (Arlington, VA) also completed the half marathon and wanted to let everyone know it was his big day. He wore a t-shirt that had this on it: “My name is Ryan and today is my birthday!”
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon
As with the marathon, it was a local finisher who broke the tape first followed by a Canadian. Gurmessa Mergerssa, 31, from Washington, DC (photo) finished just ten seconds ahead of Canadian Adam Hortian, 1:07:16 to 1:07:26. Mergerssa also won the Scope It Out 5K in 14:55 last weekend. Defending champion Mark Fruin, 25, from Bloomington, IN did not run nearly as fast as he did last year and had to settle for third place in 1:08:15.
Christine Ramsey described 2010 as an “off” year. If this race is any indication, 2011 looks to be an “on” year. The 28-year-old from Baltimore won in 1:17:01. Tezeta Dengersa, 30, from Butsonville, MD finished second in 1:17:15. Local ace Maggie Infeld, 24, from Washington, DC was all smiles after today’s race with her 1:18:28 finish.
To see Rachael Holt and Christina Glasener, 16, (photo below) together you might think they were related since they look alike and both finished in 1:42. Holt was beaming as she introduced Glasener, “I’m so proud of her!” But they aren’t related. Holt mentors Glasener in the popular Teens RunDC program, which empowers at-risk youth to envision and work toward achieving their personal goals through mentoring and a distance running program.
Many of the participants in today’s events support various charities like T.J. Senker, 34, from Baltimore who was running in support of Back On My Feet Baltimore, a nonprofit organization that works with the homeless to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem through running. “Volunteering with this group is really rewarding and inspiring,” he said after finishing the half marathon.
In addition to these two events were the Kids RunDC Monumental Mile and the United Way National Team Relay consisting of three participants with two runners completing 5 miles and the final runner finishing the last 3.1 miles. The Excella-Team from Arlington won in 1:26:34 (6:37 pace). In all, 274 teams competed this year.
For additional coverage, be sure to check out the May/June issue ofWashington Running Report: The Runner’s Source for DC, MD & VA.
Marathon Top Five Men Overall Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 2:23:01 Michael Wardian 36 1 Arlington VA 2 2:28:08 Greg Wieczorek 29 8 Halifax NS CAN 3 2:31:00 Wilson Komen 33 5 Washington DC 4 2:31:31 Dustin Whitlow 24 6 Arlington VA 5 2:33:42 Joe Kelly 25 3692 Arlington VA Record 2:21:17.6 by Patrick Moulton in 2009 Top Three Men Masters Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 2:49:10 Steven Peterson 45 2365 Fairfax Station VA 2 2:50:53 Thomas Jensen 47 1558 Oakton VA 3 2:51:16 Sean Reilly 42 4283 Toms River NJ Top Five Women Overall Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 2:50:53 Nadezhda Tuptova 35 20 Gainesville FL 2 2:53:05 Renee High 29 28 Virginia Beach VA 3 3:01:26 Beth Woodward 35 17 Orrville OH 4 3:03:12 Lisa Reichmann 36 16 Gaithersburg MD 5 3:03:39 Amanda West 34 3198 New York NY Record 2:48:38.1 by Jeannette Seckinger in 2009 Top Three Women Masters Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 3:07:57 Karine Falgon 40 62 3100 Montlucon FRA 2 3:10:44 Cheri Fine 46 1069 Atlanta GA 3 3:11:05 Claudette Augert 47 299 Edmonton AB CAN Half Marathon Top Five Men Overall Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 1:07:16 Gurmessa Mergessa 31 5218 Washington DC 2 1:07:26 Adam Hortian 26 5221 Waterloo ON CAN 3 1:08:15 Mark Fruin 25 5233 Bloomington IN 4 1:08:25 Charlie Hurt 27 5223 Richmond VA 5 1:08:36 Craig Schmidt 27 5257 Sheboygan WI Record 1:05:02 by Mark Fruin in 2010 Top Five Women Overall Place Guntime Name Age Bib# City State ===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 1 1:17:01 Christine Ramsey 28 5226 Baltimore MD 2 1:17:15 Tezeta Dengersa 30 5219 Burtonsville MD 3 1:18:28 Maggie Infeld 24 5212 Washington DC 4 1:20:07 Laura Onderko 24 5214 Philadelphia PA 5 1:20:51 Emily McGregor 24 5209 Philadelphia PA Record 1:15:35.9 by Hirut Mandefro in 2009