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Pacers Race Director Lisa Reeves, in her element, leading the Four Courts Four Miler in seasonal attire. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

The D.C. area is home to one of the most vibrant running communities in the world, with multiple races happening every week. But it’s easy for runners to miss the inner workings when they’re focused on getting to the finish line.

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Jacob Windle, Mateo Baretto, Kellen Hasle, Connor Wells and Jacob Hunter celebrate Loudoun Valley’s second straight Nike Cross Nationals victory. Photo: Steve Klotz/Youth Runner

There was panic in the Jungle.

People felt it at home in Purcellville, at the Commonwealth Games, in a University of Virginia dorm and beamed it back to the Gleendover Golf Course in Portland, Ore.

From all indications, Loudoun Valley was all over the standings as they raced Nike Cross Nationals. Second. Third. But definitely not first. A long way from being the first boys team to defend a national title.

“After the second mile, we heard we were in third, and it wasn’t even close,” Coach Marc Hunter said. “We were probably 30 or 40 points back, and you’re not going to make that up in a mile.”

Something had to be wrong.

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Eldad Mulugeta and Obsaa Feda fill out their paperwork for Nike Cross Nationals. Photo: Giovanni Reumente 

D.C.-area runners dominated the Nike Cross Southeast meet, putting four runners in the top eight and 15 in the top 50. Loudoun Valley easily qualified for the national meet that “Purcellville” won last year, with Sam Affolder and Jacob Hunter finishing second and third in 15:14. Right behind Hunter, Eldad Mulugeta finished fourth in 15:15 and his Northwood teammate Obsaa Feda finished eighth in 15:20. The course at WakeMed Park in Raleigh, N.C. was extremely muddy after days of rain, with more rain throughout the races.

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Foot Locker Regionals

Nov. 24, 2018

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Other top-50 finishers included Bishop O’Connell senior Max Greczyn in 11th in 15:29, four more Loudoun Valley runners in senior Connor Wells in 16th (15:37), junior Kellen Hasle in 17th (15:38), junior Carlos Shultz in 22nd (15:42) and senior Jacob Windle in 24th (15:44) with Washington Latin junior Luke Tewalt finishing 23rd in 15:42. West Springfield junior Sam Pritchard was 40th in 15:57, Loudoun Valley juniors Mateo Barreto and Kevin Carlson finished 45th and 46th in 15:59 (Barreto ran unattached) and West Springfield junior Chris Weeks was 48th in 16:01.

Two Loudoun Valley girls came close to qualifying as individuals – sophomore Ricky Fetterolf in eighth (18:05) and junior Elise Abbe in ninth (18:19). Rock Ridge freshman Ava Gordon finished 15th in 18:31, West Springfield junior Amy Herrema was 30th in 18:56, Washington Latin sophomore Zoe Edleman was 32nd in 18:59.

Loudoun Valley’s boys scored 52 points to beat Florida’s Bolles with 117. They’ll race Saturday, Dec. 1. Northwood was the top local Maryland team in 13th with 327 (trailing 12th place West Springfield  by six points), and Gonzaga was the top D.C. team in 24th, with 569 points. The Loudoun Valley girls were sixth, scoring 217 points.
At the Foot Locker South regional on a drier McAlpine Park course in Charlotte, N.C., George Marshall senior Natalie Bardach led local finishers in 18th place in 17:52, with Annandale sophomore Julia Ghiselli 27th in 18:14. Broad Run junior Ellie Desmond, 31st in 18:17, Woodbridge senior Laura Webb, 47th in 18:35, and John Champe junior Bethany Graham, 50th in 18:37 rounded out the top 50. Herndon junior Colin McCauley’s 81st place finish in 16:18 led Northern Virginia finishers, though DCXC Invitational senior race winner Daniel O’Brien, a junior at the Virginia Episcopal School, qualified for the national meet, finishing third in 15:07.

Maryland and D.C. runners competed at Van Courtlandt Park in New York City for the Foot Locker Northeast meet. Poolesville senior Nandini Satsangi led local Maryland finishers in 49th place in 19:40 and Sophia Hanway, a sophomore at D.C.’s National Cathedral School, finished 65th in 19:55. Bullis junior Nicholas Karayanis led local Maryland finishers in 40th place, running 16:29, and St. Albans sophomore Damien Hackett was D.C.’s top finisher in a tie for 53rd place, running 16:41.

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Henley Gabeau, who championed women’s running as a founder of the first women’s running club in the Washington, D.C. area and the first executive director of the Road Runners Club of America, died Nov. 7 of colon cancer.  She was 74.

Gabeau was a dominant presence in the D.C. and national road running communities for more than 25 years, from the founding of the women’s only club, RunHers, in 1976, to her retirement as RRCA executive director in 2001.  During that time, she lobbied for equal access to the sport and was part of the movement that led to the inclusion of women’s distance events in the Olympics – the marathon (added in 1984), the 10,000 meters (1988), and the 5,000 meters (1996).

She stood out as a leader and role model at a time when women’s participation in the sport wasn’t so commonplace, said Jeff Darman, the race director of the local ACLI Capital Challenge race.

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West Sprinfield’s Hope Stephens and Katie Orchard run in the 6A race. Photos: Bruce Buckley

Three Virginia teams won their first state championships Saturday at Great Meadow, while two regulars kept their annual appointments on the podium.

Tuscarora girls and defending national champion Loudoun Valley boys repeated as team champions in 5A and 4A, respectively, but Loudoun Valley and West Springfield’s girls an W.T. Woodson’s boys (6A) were both new to hoisting a trophy. LV’s Sam Affolder repeated and his teammate Ricky Fetterolf won her first individual title. Three Northern Virginia runners finished in second: Broad Run’s Ellie Desmond in 5A, and West Springfield’s Chase Kappeler and Woodson’s Jack Leech in 6A.

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The girls’ lead pack shows no sign of breaking shortly after the first mile mark. From left: Katie Hirsch, Claire Wigglesworth, Zoe Edelman, Ave Nicely and Sophia Hanway. Photo: Charlie Ban

In the last five years, D.C. state championships have had the most drama in the middle, where teams’ fourth and fifth runners battle on the margins while Taylor Knibb or Page Lester run away with the individual title. Spectators got better shows this year, The race this year stayed interesting much, much longer, with Woodrow Wilson sophomore Ava Nicely kicked past Washington Latin sophomore Zoe Edelman in the last tenth of a mile to win the individual title, 19:41-19:43.

Nicely and fourth-place finisher Claire Wigglesworth (20:03) led the way for Wilson upset of defending champion St. John’s, 44-49. It made Wilson the first public school to win a title since the DCSAA championship race started in 2013.

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Jeff Stein (left) chats with Samson Mutua in the 17th mile of the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Charlie Ban

Jeff Stein spent the afternoon following last year’s Marine Corps Marathon recovering in the hospital after heat stroke finishing in eighth place. He fared considerably better this year, breaking the tape in 2:22:49 for his first marathon victory.

True to his buildup this year, it was a race that, for him, seemed decided only at the end.

“When I was in the last mile, I heard the announcer say the leader had someone right on his tail,” Stein said. “I got pretty worried because I knew Patrick (Hearn) was a strong second-half runner, and I was wasn’t sure how much my legs could take. I was fleeing him for the last few miles.”

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The 2013 Marine Corps Marathon kicks off in Rosslyn. Photo: Jimmy Daly
The 2013 Marine Corps Marathon kicks off in Rosslyn. Photo: Jimmy Daly

Marine Corps Marathon

Oct. 28, 2018

Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C.
7:45 Handcycle start
7:55 Runners start

Race website
Course map
Runner tracking

The 43rd Marine Corps Marathon will bring tens of thousands of runners and spectators to D.C., Arlington and the National Harbor.  Whether they’re gunning for the win, hoping for a personal record or just trying to cross the finish line, they’ll be making memories along the way.

Roughly 25,000 runners will line up for the marathon (starting near the Pentagon) and the 10k (starting on the National Mall). The marathon course will weave through Arlington County before crossing the Key Bridge into Georgetown, taking a trip up and down Rock Creek Parkway, around Hains Point and the National Mall before crossing back into Arlington, where runners will finish by climbing the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn. The 10k follows the last 6.2 miles of the marathon route.

You can track runners here.  Read on to learn about the best way to watch the race, why you shouldn’t run using someone else’s bib, who has run every Marine Corps Marathon and find out about the time the race was a day away from cancellation.

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Sam Affolder leads Kellen Hasle (left, in yellow) and Jacob Hunter in the first mile of the Third Battle Invitational. Photo: Charlie Ban

Loudoun Valley hasn’t truly flexed its cross country muscle yet.

Not in winning the Great American Cross Country Festival a week ago and not in scoring 18 points to win the Third Battle Invitational, taking six of the top seven spots in the process. The defending Nike Cross Nationals champions haven’t even figured out who their top seven will be, and two runners who raced in Winchester did well enough to only make coach Marc Hunter’s job harder as the Vikings pick their seven runners who will compete in postseason races.

“It’s a good problem to have,” he said. “I’m always amazed at how the boys do. It’s a revolving door for 6-7-8-9, and it’s been a short season, so we’ll have to make some tough decisions. When they run well like this, it makes it harder.”

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Frankline Tonui edges Evans Kirwa for the Army Ten-Miler win. Photos: Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

For the second straight year, high humidity met Army Ten-Miler runners, but this year’s race was mercifully cooler. But last year’s conditions still stung Susan Tanui, so when the defending women’s champion set out, she made it a point to start out conservatively. It paid off, with a 56:33 victory over Julia Roman-Duval’s 57:17.  

Tanui improved by 17 seconds over last year’s time and Roman-Duval improved by two minutes. Tanui, a member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado. Roman-Duval lives in Columbia, Md. Emily Da La Bruyere, of D.C. was third in 59:07.

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