Runners take a moment to ask if they really want to put themselves through a 5k with temperatures in the 90s at the Women's Distance Festival in Bluemont Park. Photo: DC Road Runners
Runners take a moment to ask if they really want to put themselves through a 5k with temperatures in the 90s
at the Women’s Distance Festival in Bluemont Park. Photo: DC Road Runners

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Women’s Race Results [/button-red][button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Men’s Race Results [/button-red]

Despite already rescheduling the Women’s Distance Festival 5k and Run After the Women 5k due to a scheduling conflict at Bluemont Park, dangerous temperatures nearing 100 degrees throughout the day almost left race director Alex Albertini with another predicament.

“If it was five degrees warmer, the race would have been called off for safety reasons,” Albertini said. “But everyone seemed to enjoy the race in tough conditions.”

The two races were part of the DC Road Runners Club’s Bunion Derby Series, consisting of eight races throughout June, July and August—some of the hottest months of the year. The series is free to the club’s members but in order to be eligible for a Bunion Derby age-group award in the fall, participants must volunteer with the club at least once.

Runners competed on the out and back course on the partly shaded Bluemont Park Trail in Arlington, Virginia. Though several runners had to dodge bikers on the trail, runners were satisfied with the low-key race that consisted of a steady uphill on the way out. Runners also seemed to enjoy the second half of the race, which started out with a water station and then took off on a steady downhill on the way back to the finish line.

First place finisher Anna Holt-Gosselin of Vienna, Va. did not seem bothered by the scorching temperatures while she bolted off the staring line from the rest of the pack. Holt-Gosselin held on to the lead all the way through the finish line, with a time of 19:44.

A graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Holt-Gosselin felt well hydrated after the race, adding that she drank much more water than usual to prepare for the heat.

The men’s race started 15 minutes after the women’s race, dubbing it the “Run After the Women 5K.” Rising senior Christopher Hoyle of Gonzaga College High School finished first in the men’s race, with six of his cross country teammates close behind him.

“This is my first road race of the summer,” Hoyle said. “I just wanted to go out and see what kind of shape I was in.”

The DC Road Runners Club, which was voted the best 2012 running club in the Washington area by RunWashington readers, is among several running organizations in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Well known for their Saturday long-runs that kick off at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn, Va., runners noted that they chose DCRRC out of other clubs partly because of perks like competing in the Bunion Derby Series races.

“It’s an excuse to get out and meet people while having a great atmosphere,” said Adam Pearlman. “And I like the friendly competition during the races.”

Pearlman found some “friendly competition” during the evening race as he went head to head with another participant, each of them competing back and forth for 2.5 miles.

The Women’s Distance Festival 5k and Run After the Women 5k took place on one of the hottest days of the year so far. Participants’ goals in the two races varied throughout but one goal seemed to remain the same: get through the toughest months of the year to the fall running season.

Colleen Lerro is in the beginning stages of her training for the Marine Corps Marathon. She aims to qualify soon for the Boston Marathon—a goal she came short of two minutes in her most recent marathon. Lerro said that training and racing through the toughest months of the year won’t be as much as a challenge for her as it is for some.

“I’m the crazy one who likes the heat,” Lerro said.

Though Lerro does not dread the heat like others, she noted that she does take precautions, like eating pretzels in an effort to raise her salt intake.

As runners came in to the finish on the Bluemont Park Trail, many were groaning out-loud in pain caused by the heat. But many runners will continue to endure this type of pain that comes from the heat with an expectation that they will be rewarded later on in the cooler months of the year, when marathons take place. Even after they moan and chug down gallons of water throughout the summer months, runners all over the Washington Metropolitan Area will keep training and racing in events like the Women’s Distance Festival 5k and Run After the Women 5k to become more resilient.

“If we can get through this”, said DC Road Runners Club member Erica Holmes of Germantown, Md. “We can get through anything.”



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