It’s been more than two decades since Jackie Gruendel was in college, but the 44-year-old runner still competes — and excels — at college meets.
Gruendel, who lives in Clifton, is able to participate in meets as an unattached runner, and she ran 5:17.51 to place fifth in the women’s mile at the George Mason Patriot Games in January.
“I literally get on the line and I could, no joke, be these girls’ moms,” Gruendel said.
She said she’s slowed down some since she ran as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan, but she feels like her post-collegiate running career has been better than her college one.
Professional runner and online coach Katie Kellner talks about her own running and what someone should look for in a coach.
The call went out on a Saturday — “does anyone have an Army Ten-Miler bib?” The race was the next day.
Responses on a message board wished the runner luck and others tried to start an impromptu waiting list. After a while, the sober voice of reason spoke up.
“Not allowed since it’s past the transfer period.”
It can be an unpopular opinion, but it’s backed up by the forms runners sign when they register for races.
Name: Laura Cloher
Self-described age group: 35-39
Volunteer roles in the running world: Girls on the Run coach, fun run leader for the former Pacers Running store in Silver Spring, 3x pacer for Parks Half Marathon, coach for XMP (Experienced Marathon Program)
Why you run: Running makes me feel alive and is a wonderful stress reliever.
When did you get started running: I started running my senior year of high school to get into better shape. I made a goal by the time I turned 30 to run 5 marathons and I surpassed that goal by 12, running a total of 17 marathons (three were 50K’s) by the time I turned 30!
At last year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom races, thousands of runners crossed the finish line in either the event’s 10 mile or 5K events on a chilly April day. Upon finishing, runners were offered a heat sheet — a mylar blanket that provides a small source of warmth. So when runners are ready to toss the blankets and head home, then what? The race’s sustainability team had a plan to make sure there was an eco-friendly option.
Instead of letting the nearly 20,000 blankets end up on the trash, and eventually a landfill or incinerator, there were specific collection points on race day where runners could ditch their heat sheets.
Hidden between the Palisades neighborhood and Canal Road, a carpet of grass awaits.
The long-gone Glen Echo Trolley Line, which ran between the eponymous amusement park and Georgetown, offers two-plus miles of off-pavement running with a view.
Oddly enough, a lot of that view is of the C&O Canal Towpath and the Capital Crescent Trail down the hill, an embarrassment of riches running east and west in that part of town.
Here’s a selection of superlatives awarded by local running clubs.
Name: Mike J. Grinnell (@MikeJGrinnell)
Self-described age group: My head says 20’s, but my last race told me I was the second fastest in the Master’s Division
Residence: West Springfield, Va.
Occupation: Design and Construction Consultant
Volunteer roles in the running world: Water bottle holder/ iPhone DJ for my wife and daughters in their races
Why you run: It’s a great way to stay in shape and long runs serve as great therapy for anything going on in your life.
When did you get started running: I was late to come over to the sport. As I got into my 30’s I needed to find sports that didn’t take a toll on my body as much. That’s when my friends Amy and Kate invited me to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach with them. Immediately after the race, I swore I was done. Now here I am.
Courage to Run (April 13) Race Director Freida Edgette shares her personal journey to race director and the mission her race advances.