Washington, DC
Spectators lined the infield during the D.C. Road Runners Track Championships, close enough to hear breathing as elite runners circled the track. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

When I got to the D.C. Road Runners Track Championship at Dunbar High School, the final meet in the Eastern Track League series, the women’s masters mile was starting. 

As a high school runner, I race from September to June. These weeks in between seasons are for following dramatic professional races and the pursuit of record breaking performances. My morning routine now consists of checking Twitter to see which all-time mark went down or which finishing kick dazzled the day before.  

I have the entire world of track and field at my fingertips whenever I care to look, and that is exactly why I could not pass up the opportunity to drive an hour into D.C. to watch the this meet in person. I wanted to move beyond the times and splits on a static results page and the occasional suspense-free race video that broadcasts the winner and time in the title and instead experience track and field first hand.

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Sara Davidson cruises through mile 29 of the Old Dominion 100. Photo: Karsten Brown

During the pre-race brief, organizers of the Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run described the race as a battle of the runner against the course against the clock.

Runners have to conquer 100.01 miles of all types of terrain, 14,000 feet of elevation gain, all in Virginias oppressive early June heat and humidity. To count as a finisher, they must complete the course in less than 28 hours; but those who want to go home with a coveted silver belt buckle must do so in less than 24.

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Name: Natalie Atabek

Self-described age group: F 25-29

Residence: Washington, D.C.

Occupation: Director of Communications at AFS Financial Group

Why you run: I run because I never feel more like myself than when I’m running. No matter what kind of day I’m having, I know that once I start my run, nothing else matters and everything else can wait until I hit stop on my watch.

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Roy Englert pauses briefly after setting the world record for 95-99-year-old men at the USATF Masters Championships in Ames, Iowa July 11. Photo: Courtesy of Jay Jacob Wind

Springfield resident Roy Englert, 96, ran 42:20.33 to shatter the 5k world record for men 95-99 at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships July 11 in Ames, Iowa. The previous record was 50:10.56.

This article was initially published in June 2018.

At age 95, Roy Englert may not have competition in his age group. But he does have the clock.

“I was running against time, actually,” Englert said of his recent performance at the USATF Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, where he broke three age group world records.

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Marc Goldman makes announcements ahead of the Marine Corps Marathon start. Photo: Courtesy of Marc Goldman

You can hear it bellowing from speakers as soon as you arrive at a race: directions to gear check, instructions to get into corrals and details about the race course. And when you finish: encouragement, commentary and pleas to keep moving beyond the finish line.

Race announcers play a huge role in running events — from keeping the race-day timeline to interacting with spectators and informing and encouraging participants. And there are scores of D.C.-area announcers who dedicate their weekends to help make races run smoothly and see that runners have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment no matter their finish time.

Creigh Kelley’s voice may sound familiar if you’ve run one of the more than 20 races he has announced for around the country, including the Chicago Marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon or many in the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and half marathon series. In the D.C. area, he serves as the announcer for the D.C. Rock ‘n’ Roll races as well as the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race.

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Running Shorts

Photo: Ed Lull
  • Patriot alumna Rachel McArthur elaborated to The Stride Report on her decision to transfer to the University of Colorado from Villanova University.
  • South Lakes alumnus Alan Webb has been named associate head cross country and assistant track coach at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • Georgetown alumnus and former director of track and field Chris Miltenberg has been named director of track and field at the University of North Carolina. He coached the 2011 Georgetown women’s cross country team to an NCAA championship.
  • George Mason rising sophomore Siobhra O’Flaherty will represent Ireland in the 10,000 meters in the European U23 Championships July 12 in Galve, Sweden.
  • Quince Orchard High School named its inaugural athletics hall of fame class, which includes distance runners and contributors:
    • Wayne Bartholomew
    • Karen Pulliam Egan
    • Troy Harry
    • Coach Jerry Link
    • And track and field athletes Ruth Kura, Ariel Nehemiah, Aron Dorsey, Bani Gbadyu and Travis Hawkins
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Chase Weaverling outkicks Jim Walmsley to the finish at the 2019 Houston Half Marathon. Photo: MarathonFoto

If Chase Weaverling didn’t think he was going to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials before starting the Houston Half Marathon, it definitely didn’t help his confidence when he hit the ground a half mile into the race. He clipped the heels of a marathoner he was drafting off of, then stumbled once that the marathoner went down.

Weaverling, who graduated from Poolesville in 2014, was a few months into his post-collegiate running career following a solid four years at the University of Virginia.

But in less time than it would take to explain that his Reebok Boston Track Club is actually based in Charlottesville, he was back on his feet and catching back up to a pack which included two pacers aiming for 1:04:00. That’s the time he needed to qualify for the trials and that’s what he ran, tying him for the slowest time qualifier, and at 23, making him one of the youngest. It was another example of him making the most out of his opportunities.

“I just told myself not to freak out,” Weaverling said. “My left side was pretty scarred up, but I didn’t even realize I was bleeding until afterward.”

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Name: Adam Lesser

Self-described age group: 35-39

Residence: Fairfax

Occupation: IT Consultant

Volunteer roles in the running world: 5k Fun Run Committee member for my son’s annual elementary school 5k fundraiser event

Why you run: This has changed over the years, but anything from: pushing myself toward big goals, stress relief, to solve the world’s problems, for health and to motivate others to be active (especially my kids).

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