Washington, DC

Running Shorts

 

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The race tried to go on, to fight to the end. But with a little more than three months to go, the Marine Corps Marathon reached a point where the reality of the coronavirus pandemic was too much to face on Oct. 25.  It followed other large marathons in canceling, including Chicago and New York. Marine Corps will offer a virtual racing option. A day later (July 21), the Army Ten-Miler announced that it too would not hold an in-person race. It had been scheduled for Oct. 11 but had delayed registration.

“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” said Race Director Rick Nealis. “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines. While we are unable to celebrate in-person this October, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the 45th anniversary event to the homes of runners around the world through a rewarding and engaging virtual experience.”

The bottleneck for the race came in the start and finish areas near the Pentagon and United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington County. Virginia limits gatherings to 250 participants and the starting line can see crowds of more than 20,000 runners in close quarters. In an attempt to reduce the roughly 28,000 runners who show up ever year on the last weekend of October, the race tried to shed runners, canceling the in-person 10k (good for 5,000 – 8,000 finishers annually). An attempt to stagger starts would run up against the deadline to reopen the 14th Street Bridge, forcing the race to tighten pace restrictions to 12:00 per mile, which would have cut nearly 8,000 of 18,000 who didn’t maintain that pace in 2019 and nearly 7,300 of more than 20,000 finishers in 2018.

The drew criticism from runners who questioned the race’s self-appointed moniker as “the people’s marathon.”

“Health and safety are our top priorities during this challenging time,” said Libby Garvey, Arlington County Board Chair. “The Marine Corps Marathon is a treasured event and tradition in our community that Arlingtonians look forward to each year. As we celebrate the race’s 45th anniversary this year, we will be enthusiastically and virtually cheering on each runner. We can’t wait to welcome these dedicated athletes and fans back to Arlington in person in 2021.”

A little farther away, the Baltimore Marathon (Oct. 17) and Richmond Marathon (Nov. 14) remain on schedule as of their most recent updates.

Just seven years ago, Marine Corps came within a day of canceling supply orders, and the race, in the face of the federal government shutdown that would have prevented runners from using most of the course.

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Once in a while during the D.C. summers, you get a cool, dry day that makes you forget all of those squishy shoes and the necessity of pre-dawn long runs.

I got one in late July 2017, the same morning as I drove out to western Loudoun County to meet up with Ed Lull to shoot our magazine cover – the Loudoun Valley boys’ cross country team. Looking for a rolling dirt road, Joan Hunter pointed us to Yellow Schoolhouse Road, near Bluemont. It did the trick alright. We only drove about a mile out, but I liked what I saw. I also knew it was an hourlong drive for me from D.C., so I had better make sure it was going to be worth my time to go out there.

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When road races resume someday, they will go off without one of the keystones of the local racing scene in Maryland and Washington, D.C. 

George Tarrico, of Rockville, known as “the race director’s race director,” died June 5 after battling spinal cancer. He was 84. 

Tarrico’s mustache and expressive eyebrows helped him resemble Frank Pentangelli, the mafia turncoat in the Godfather Part II. What he lacked in his fictional counterpart’s cold ruthlessness, Tarrico made up for with warm effectiveness as he served in logistical roles for dozens of Montgomery County Road Runners Club races every year and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.  Read More

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The DMV Distance Derby will add two new segments starting July 1:

  • Smelling Big Stinky – 1.2 miles: Starting at Michigan Ave NE, head up John McCormack Road NE, pass the Fort Totten transfer station and finish a few steps short of the gate.
  • Colorado 1.5 miles: Starting at 16th Street NW, run on the south lane of Colorado Ave NW, follow the outside of the cul de sac clockwise and take the north lane back to 16th Street NW.

See June’s results for the previous 20 segments here.

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Alexandria’s Patrick Murray takes a gulp of water during the Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Dustin Whitlow

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer — which can mean one big thing for the running community: more runners are taking to the region’s sidewalks, paths and trails.

As more runners ditch the treadmill in favor of running outside, there are health and safety reminders to consider. Chief among them is knowing the correlation between warmer temperatures and running risk, said Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the medical director of MedStar Sports Medicine for the Washington region. Spring can yield some warm-but-not-too-warm running conditions, but “just because the air feels [cooler], you have to be careful,” he said.

Temperatures can feel comfortable and quickly get dangerous as you exercise, he said. Runners need to be careful with outdoor exercise when temperatures are between 73 and 82 degrees, but with higher humidity levels — a foregone conclusion in the D.C. area — temperatures as low as 73 can be high risk, Dr. Douoguih said.

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For almost nine months, a giant paper map of D.C.’s streets took up a good bit of Jarad Schofer’s floor like an oversized jigsaw puzzle. Now, to his wife’s delight, he can pick it up for good. After almost 2,500 miles of running, Schofer put in the last piece of the puzzle June 13 — filling in a 2 kilometer route near Logan Circle — and met his goal of running every public street and alley in Washington, D.C.

But he didn’t achieve his unwritten dream. 

“I really wanted someone to see me running and invite me to their barbecue, to offer me a beer,” he said.

As the weather and grills heated up, Schofer instead found himself running through streets of a city dealing with a deadly pandemic, one that kept people from approaching him the way they did before and while it made it easier to navigate the streets, he couldn’t be as friendly and open with people he met along his way. He also worried public health restrictions could approach some in Europe, where people couldn’t stray too far from home.

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Running Shorts

  • Silver Spring’s Will Etti, who RunWashington featured in its 2015 marathoners series, was a guest on the Run Farther and Faster podcast, talking about diversity in running and his  experiences with racial profiling.

  • Kensington resident Anthony Brennan III was charged with three counts of second-degree misdemeanor assault resulting from a June 1 incident on the Capital Crescent Trail. Social media users publicly identified two men who were not involved.
  • Beach Drive, between the Maryland state line and Broad Branch Road in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park will remain closed to traffic through July 24.
  • Longtime Montgomery County Road Runners Club volunteer George Tarrico, of Rockville, died June 6.
  • Walter Johnson alumna Jenna Goldberg, a state cross country champion and Foot Locker finalist, will be a speaker on what is billed as an online “motivational talk” Monday June 16 at 5 p.m. Register here.
  • This week’s Potomac River Running Instagram Live, starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, will feature Moise Joseph, Kareen Lawson, Kelly Kavanaugh and Kim Griffin.
  • Arlington County and Washington, D.C. tracks are open. Don’t be dumb about using them.
  • A white male in his 20’s, with brown hair, wearing blue shorts, no shirt, and a black fanny pack exposed himself to a woman on the Custis Trail June 8 around 11 a.m. For more information, check ArlingtonNow.
  • The National Arboretum will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
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