In 2012, Chantilly High School track and cross country coach Matt Gilchrist wanted to run a mile with one of his graduating seniors, state champion Sean McGorty. But the weight Gilchrist had gained over the years of putting his coaching before his own health stopped him in his tracks.
“I remember getting about 600 meters around the track and I was done. I couldn’t do it,” said Gilchrist, who previously ran at Gettysburg College. “At the time, I was 40 years old and couldn’t run a mile.”
But this past May, 162 pounds lighter, Gilchrist cruised around the track alongside one of his graduating runners, Nicole Re, who called the four laps together “a memory that will stick with me.”
Name: Dr. Joseph Spears, Jr
Self-described age group: 50-54
Residence: Brandywine, Md.
Occupation: Associate Professor Sport Mgmt. at Bowie State University.
Volunteer roles in the running world: Help out with races, very active in my church and serving local community service groups for males, youth sports and mentorship outreach.
Why you run: Running, for me, is a lifestyle that influences my spirit, soul and body; it’s as equal to me as a life of prayer.
Many runners represent their running clubs or teams by wearing a singlet featuring the group’s name at races. For some runners, that team is the United States Marine Corps.
The U.S. All-Marine Running Team provides both competition and camaraderie, said Lt. Col. Joseph Galvin, who said he’s been on the team since about 2006. The team competes against other U.S. military branches and other nations.
“When you see runners over and over again, you get to know more about them and they get to know more about you, and it’s a great community, as most running communities are,” Galvin said. “It’s very encouraging.”
Unlike other running groups, the team doesn’t get to train together regularly, because Marines are stationed across the world, said Galvin, who recently moved from Florida to the D.C. area. Bill Stearns and Dave Davis, coaches at Colgan High School, coach the the runners online.
Name: Abby McIntyre
Self-described age group: F30-35
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Assistant managing editor for Slate magazine
Why you run: Running makes me feel strong and reminds me that I can do things I never thought I could.
When did you get started running: My first year out of college back in 2011, a few months after I moved to D.C. I had never been athletic growing up, but I’ve always loved being outdoors. I lived in Dupont Circle at the time, and there were always so many runners everywhere, so I thought I should try it. I started a walk-to-run plan, taking advantage of the Rock Creek Trail off of P Street and things just … escalated from there.
Last month, exactly 2:34:25 after the starting gun shot into the clear morning sky along Lake Superior, Patrick (“Pat”) Kuhlmann crossed the finish line in Duluth, Minn. to complete his first Grandma’s Marathon ahead of all but three of the master’s division athletes.
The race, famous for its cool late-June weather, fast times, and enthusiastic (and very nice) midwestern hospitality, was run by 6,367 marathoners from all 50 states and 46 countries. Of those, Kuhlmann beat out over 96% of his competitors in the overall men’s division, placing 118th. And in the men’s master’s field–at the age of 48 he is an experienced competitor–he crossed the line 4th out of 289 male masters athletes.
“I’m starting to get to a point where I don’t have any PRs left in me,” Kuhlmann noted. “But I ran a solid race. I was pleased.” Though marathons are his distance of choice, this year’s Grandma’s marked his first attempt back at the 26.2-mile distance after a 2-year hiatus due to scheduling challenges. “Don’t have a lot of speed and I’m not getting any faster as I get older, so the marathon is in my comfort zone,” he explained.
Miranda DiBiasio fell in love with running while she was in high school, relieved to find an activity that was so personally rewarding. Running allowed her to breathe, calm her nerves and find peace.
She didn’t feel as seasoned as other runners her age, and she was drawn to George Washington University, which was also growing — the Colonials were debuting track teams when she would start school. She could grow as a runner alongside a new team.
Throughout her time at GW, DiBiasio learned a lot about being a competitive runner. The track program demanded more time and energy than she had ever experienced, but she took it in stride. She quickly learned that it was no longer just about showing up for runs, it was about putting in the work off the field too — a hard lesson for a lot of runners to learn. This required more work on flexibility and a ton of work on strength to correct her form. She watched her diet like it was a religion.
- The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is circulating a letter asking the Montgomery County Planning Board to reconsider its decision to shift the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda to a nearby controlled intersection while removing traffic calming improvements that have been in place near the current crossing.
- Georgetown Day School rising senior Ziyah Holman ran a leg of the United States’ world record-setting 4×400 meter relay at the Pan Am U20 games. She split 51.54 seconds.
- Good Counsel alumna Rachel Pocratsky reached the semifinals of the 800 meters in the World University Games in Naples, Italy.
- Seven runners with local connections will race the 5,000 meters at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa July 25-28. Six locals will run the 800 meters and one will run the 3,00 meter steeplechase. They include Drew Hunter, Josette Norris and Stephanie Garcia in the 5,000 meters. The meet will be broadcast on NBC Sports Gold.
- The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named several track coaches coach of the year for their respective states (or federal districts):
- D.C. – Michael Cooley- Sidwell Friends
- D.C. – Desmond Dunham – St. John’s College
- Maryland – Darryl Hamilton – Largo
- Virginia -Scott Raczko – South Lakes
Name: Daniel Trettel
Self-described age group: M 25-29
Residence: Adelphi, Md.
Occupation: Grad student, PhD – Biochemistry
Why you run: I run to be the best me I can be. That applies directly to athleticism and indirectly to my academic/professional life. I don’t think I could excel in my studies without a physical output balancing it out.
When did you get started running: I started running track as a freshman in high school to get in better shape for soccer, but ended up quickly quitting due to some bronchitis. I returned the next year and it stuck. Next thing you know, I started doing soccer to get in better shape for track! I just found myself innately having a more competitive mindset for running.
Have you taken a break from running: Yes, for about six months after college. I found myself rather disillusioned by the sport, and myself, so I just stopped. It was not a happy period for me. Eventually, however, the voice inside my head started nagging me “That’s it? You’re going to waste your efforts, all that training, what potential you have left?” so I started up slowly. Shed some (a lot of) weight, made a plan, and stuck to it training myself completely alone for over a year. In hindsight, that process is what I needed to become a much healthier athlete today.
Her athletes are not making headlines or standing on any podiums, but that doesn’t stop Burke’s Kareen Lawson from coaching. With dozens of athletes in the Potomac River Running “Burke Beasts” group under her wing, Lawson is making a difference for athletes of all ages and abilities, with an affinity for the over-40 crowd.
Unlike a lot of runners who started running in high school, Lawson started running as a way to meet friends in her 30s. Until that point, she knew most of her friends through her kids. But when her youngest kid left for college in 2012, she found herself wondering how to make new friends. When a Facebook connection referred her to a training program, Lawson decided that joining the program was a perfect way to make new friends while also losing some weight at the same time.
Back in middle school I played soccer like I wanted to be the next Ronaldo or Messi.
I thought I had found a sport that I would stick with for a long time. But before official fall sports season started, my school wanted to try out a couple of new sports. Cross country sounded like fun. I asked a friend of mine if he wanted to join the team with me, and we both agreed that we would do it.
We started so late in the season that we didn’t have any training or practices, and we had a race on one of our first days of being a formal team. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from it, and our school didn’t even have a bus yet, so our parents drove us to the meet.
When we got there I got really nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I was completely new to the sport. I take a lot of things in athletics seriously, so I just thought of it as another challenge and was just afraid to fail because it was something unknown to me.