Claire Hallissey wasn’t expecting to run an event record Saturday during the Lawyers Have Heart 10k.

“I did a track workout on Thursday,” the 2012 British Olympian said.

Yet the 30-year-old Arlington resident still ran a 34:33, bettering the previous event record by 9 seconds on a cool, overcast morning in Georgetown.

In fact, Hallissey and second place finisher Susanna Sullivan of Falls Church are only the second and third women to break 35 minutes in the event’s 23-year history, taking advantage of the good, June running conditions.

“She turned it on the last mile and just blew me away,” Sullivan, 23, who won last October’s Marine Corps 10k, said.

Sullivan finished in 34:48, just off the previous event record of 34:42 set in 1992 by Baltimore’s Charlotte Thomas.Wayinshet Hailu, 26, came in third at 36:06.

Event organizers called the 1992 10k course much more difficult than Saturday’s having trekked through many more hills around Georgetown’s residential areas.

The course has changed several times in the event’s history. This year’s started on K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown. Runners looped up to the freeway, ran down Canal Street, and turned back near Georgetown’s reservoir.

Hallissey’s appearance on Saturday took runners and event organizers by surprise, not expecting the Olympian, who turned in a 2:35:39 marathon in last summer’s London games, to run.

“I’m happy with how I’m running right now,” Hallissey said, noting her last few 10ks were in the 34-minute range.

Sullivan was trying to sneak up on Hallissey after a slower start and moved just a few strides behind her at the race’s turnaround point near the reservoir.

At that point, Capital Area Runner teammate and men’s leader Chris Mills shouted encouragement, seeing her in second place.

“Then, it was game over,” Sullivan said, referring to Hallissey’s talent and experience. “I had to show my cards.”

Hallissey said later she knew a female competitor was on her heels from the crowds yelling support to those behind her.

Mills, who went on to win the men’s race, called the high 60 degree weather at the start the “perfect temperature.”

Mills of Falls Church broke away from the pack after about 3.5 miles and cruised to a time of 31:15, better second place finisher Birhanu Mekonen by 26 seconds. Dave Burnham of Arlington came in third place with a 32:03.

The men were well off their event record of 29:51 set by Ethoipia’s Gurmessa Kumsa in 2006.

Mekonen and Hailu said after the race they were hampered by a late arrival to the race site and didn’t have a chance to conduct their full warm up.

Mills was proud of his running even splits, coming through the 5k at 15:38. The 23-year-old expected to run a great time, following a 29:09 performance at April 20’s Pike Peek 10k in Rockville.

Women’s fourth place finisher Barbara Fallon Wallace ran a 36:33 and called the conditions a bit muggy. The 39-year-old won last year’s race just 18 months after giving birth to twins.

“At least it was cloudy,” Fallon Wallace said. “It could have been 90 degrees.”

In fact, extreme temperatures two years ago caused organizers to shorten the race to a 5k.

But the event hosted a 5k – aside from 2011’s impromptu change – for the first time in several years in 2013.

The Capital Area Runners dominated the women’s side, taking the top three spots. Erin Taylor, 31, of Arlington led the way with an 18:08, followed by Ashley Kollme of Chevy Chase in 19:07 and Mary Christopher of Washington in 20:32.

“Whenever you can get your teammates in the top three, that’s great,” Taylor said.

Jack Riely, 19, of Silver Spring won the men’s 5k in 16:38.

Kristi Markowicz, 43, of Arlington was the women’s masters winners with a time of 39:13. Edmund Burke, 43, of Burkesville, Md. won the men’s masters race in 33:27.

The event, held annually since 1991, benefits the American Heart Association. Flocks of the law firms around the area organize teams to generate money for the group. So far, the event has raised more than $8 million for the cause.

So far this year, teams have raised in excess of $750,000, according to the event’s website. McDermott Will & Emery raised nearly $20,000 as of Saturday.

“It’s just nice to see some law firms — who don’t have a reputation for promoting the common good — have one Saturday where we’re out for the common good,” Jones Day attorney Ben Katz, 28, said following the race.

His firm raised more than $2,600 for the American Heart Association.

“In the legal community you hear a lot about people who have heart disease,” Jones Day’s Owen Conroy, 30, said. “It’s just nice to show support.”

The backs of Krooth & Altman’s bright yellow team shirts read “Run to remember, Run to Prevent,” an ode to the event’s well-being message.

“A lot of us have had family members or friends we’ve lost to heart disease,” paralegal Kelly Behr said.

The grandfather of Jonathan Singer, 29, of O’Melveny & Myers had a stroke, and building awareness for that was important to him.

“We want to serve the community in a legal capacity, but also give back,” Singer said, adding he ran his first ever road race Saturday, finish the 5k in 32:06.

His team had about twice as many people run this year with about 32 runners.

Many area attorneys run merely for the camaraderie.

“We’ve done this four years now, and every year have doubled in sized,” Paul Brinkman of Quinn Emanuel said.

Lawyers competed in teams of based on law firm size and practice type. Individuals competed for awards based on time in categories such as private practice, corporate lawyer, government lawyer, non-lawyer legal professional, paralegal, law student, and summer associate.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]


By Dickson Mercer
Washington, DC
May 15, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Name a local road race and Wilson Komen has probably won it. In 2005 and 2006, not long after the Eldoret, Kenya native moved to Washington, DC, the now 33-year-old runner more or less ruled the local roads. After winning the Capitol Hill Classic, though, Komen admitted that today’s race was his first taste of victory in quite some time.

“I just wanted to get a race in and see how I could do,” Komen said shortly before the awards ceremony. “I’m happy with it. It’s been awhile since I won a race.”

Komen won the Capitol Hill Classic, a challenging 10K race that starts and finishes at Stanton Park, at 5th and C streets in northeast Washington, DC, on a sunny, slightly humid morning in 32:24. Garrett Ash, 27 from Connecticut took second in 33:29. He then cruised to victory in the 3K, held about two hours after the 10K in 10:14.

This year’s Capitol Hill Classic, which offers a 10K, 3K, and fun run on historic Capitol Hill, had about 3,000 participants who traveled to the event from more than 20 states.

Kumsa Eticha, 27, of Washington, DC took third in 33:49, a day after placing second in the We’ve Got Your Back 5K in Reston, VA.

Local ace Maggie Infeld, 25, of Washington, DC was the top female, running 36:37 to hold off Alexandria, VA’s Lisa Thomas, 35, by 29 seconds. Kristi Markowicz, 41, of Arlington, VA took third in 38:24.

Top finishers received prize money of $200, $150, and $100, respectively. The top male masters finisher was DC resident Rodney Loeppky, running 35:51to place fifth overall. Markowicz was the top female masters finisher in matching her time that earned her second place in the Winter Runner Rankings.

Although Komen is losing track of the exact number, the Georgetown Running Company employee and Reebok-sponsored runner guesses he has run at least 30 marathons. In peak form, he ran 2:18:26, good for 14th place at the 2006 Boston Marathon. That same year, he placed third at the hilly Under Armour Baltimore Marathon in 2:17:06. More recently, Komen, who has dealt with hamstring problems in recent years, took third at the SunTrust National Marathon in 2:31:00.

“I’m going to pick it up now, just see what I can I do,” Komen said.

Sheika Brown, 29, of Frederick, MD finished 391st out of almost 1,000 female finishers in 58:29. She ran the Frederick Half Marathon on May 7 but said she had always wanted to run the Capitol Hill Classic.

Steve Coles, on the other hand, had run the race before. In 2000 the 53-year-old Frederick resident said he took up running as an incentive to quit smoking cigarettes. Eleven years later, Coles said he no longer smokes, and mixes the Capitol Hill Classic in with two marathons and several 10Ks he races every year. The course, he said, passes by the DC native’s former rival high school, Eastern Senior.

The Capitol Hill Classic was founded 32 years ago. Proceeds from the nonprofit race benefit Capitol Hill Cluster, a public school with three campuses: the Peabody Early Childhood Center, Watkins Elementary, and Stuart-Hobson Middle School.

Traditionally the race has started at 8:30 a.m., race director Don Montuori said. Due to events related to National Police Week, this year’s race started an hour earlier so Independence Avenue would not be blocked to traffic after 9:00 a.m. Also, to stay clear of Independence Avenue, the 3K course was rerouted on race day (and measured at 2 miles by the police patrol car).

After directing the race for his sixth year, Montouri, a runner and Capitol Hill resident, said the cost for putting on the Capitol Hill Classic has been on the rise since 2002. Combined fees to Metropolitan Police and the city have quadrupled since then to about $33,000, which used to be roughly equivalent to the amount that the race would raise for Capitol Hill Cluster.

“It’s a question for the PTA next year to decide whether we can afford to have it,” Montouri said.

The course, which takes runners along Massachusetts Avenue, around Lincoln Park and down to East Capitol Street before sending runners back for a loop around the U.S. Capitol, has not changed much since the event was founded, Montouri said. Race volunteer Mike Soderman called it a “runner’s course.” Komen, who ran the last four miles alone, described it as a “little challenging.”

The course record for men is 30:38, set by Gurmessa Kumsa in 2006. The women’s course record is 35:27, run by Heather Hanscom in 2002.

Afterward, an awards ceremony was held in Stanton Park. In front of the statue of American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, mats were laid out in the grass and many runners cooled down with a yoga session.

It would be a shame to lose this longest-running 10K race in the District of Columbia. This one has grown very nicely, and has become more than just a neighborhood event, attracting runners from all over the region as well as 27 different states. As typical of races today, this one included a wide range of ages from toddler to octogenarians; the sexes tip back and forth for majority participation, with women today holding the edge.


                               Awards Listing
                    Age Group Awards Based on Net Times
Place Name                    Ag City                  Time    
===== ======================= == ===================== ======= 
    1 Wilson Komen            33 Washington DC           32:24 
    2 Garrett Ash             27 Manchester CT           33:29 
    3 Kumsa Ethicha           27 Washington DC           33:49 
Place Name                    Ag City                  Time    
===== ======================= == ===================== ======= 
    1 Maggie Infeld           25 Washington DC           36:37 
    2 Lisa Thomas             35 Alexandria VA           37:06 
    3 Kristi Markowicz        41 Arlington VA            38:24 

    1 Ava Cavanaugh            8 Washington DC           51:30 

    1 Jackson Todd            12 Washington DC           48:47 

    1 Taylor Knibb            13 Washington DC           47:08 

    1 Thomas Smyth            18 Washington DC           40:03 

    1 Margaret Haley          18 Usaf Academy CO         45:02 

    1 Alexander Wepsala       23 Washington DC           39:01 

    1 Anna Novick             22 Hayama Machi            39:19 

    1 Matt Shechtman          26 Atlanta GA              36:11 

    1 Susan Hendrick          25 Washington DC           38:45 

    1 Daniel Yi               30 Alexandria VA           36:39 

    1 Laura Ramos             32 Silver Spring MD        40:59 

    1 Andrew Lipscomb         36 Alexandria VA           36:43

Photo below: Arrington Peterson (#2205) and Mary Robison (#2439), both 12, hold hands to finish the 2-mile race in 16:35.


Subscribe to our mailing list