In 2017, race crews across the country set up clocks, finish lines, traffic control and water stops for 703 marathons. D.C-area runners finished more than 291 of those races. In fact, more than 14,091 times, a local runner has crossed the finish line. That’s nearly 500 more than 2016, when the region notched 13,576 finishes, but down from 2013’s 15,950 local finishes.
The two biggest local marathons claimed the most local finishers, including the winners.
That all adds up to 369,184.2 miles of racing, not counting extra distance tacked on when runners didn’t hit the tangents.
Ethiopian Jamel Yimer (21) blew apart a large pack of runners in the seventh mile and hung on to beat Ethiopian-born Ayalew Yimer (25) by five seconds, an eternity for a race that usually sees closer margins at the finish line. His 4617 is the fastest winning time since Stephen Sambu‘s 45:29, save for 2015 when the race was only 9.39 miles.Meanwhile Ethiopian Buze Diriba won the women’s race after two straight runner-up finishes here.
“I knew I was going to win at 12k,” Jamel Yimer said. “I didn’t run the time I wanted to, but I am happy with the win. My training was going very well, so I was confident I could beat anyone in the field.”
Yimer ran his first half marathon in 59:00, earlier this year in the United Arab Emirates.
Portland’s Chris Derrick was the first American, running 46:53 for fifth overall.
“I wanted to sit back in the pack, because it was pretty big and we had some guys with firepower in there,” he said. “I didn’t quite have my top fitness with me, but I was happy with how I was able to battle a little bit.”
D.C.’s Clint McKelvey was the top local men’s finisher in 50:14, edging Jeff Stein by five seconds. Paul Thistle (50:32) edged Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1500 meters who ran 50:38 for 30th place. Greg Mariano rounded out local finishers in 38th place in 52:22.
Diriba’s 3-second victory over Gebrekidan in 53:45 was much tighter than recent women’s races, excluding 2015. Last year, Gebrekidan (22) won with a 15-second lead over Diriba (24).
Coach Herb Tolbert can’t go anywhere in Gaithersburg without someone calling out, “Hey, Coach!”
It’s a testament to his commitment to the community. A retired Gaithersburg High School guidance counselor and one of the school’s track and cross country coaches, Tolbert has been a pillar in the Montgomery County running scene for over 40 years. Still proud and enjoying what he does, Tolbert is nearing the point where he’s coaching his kids’ kids’ kids.
“It’s kind of like six degrees of Coach Tolbert,” he said with a smile.
Tolbert, 70, has spent his entire teaching and coaching career at Gaithersburg, and simply put, it’s the kids and close-knit community that have kept him there.
Gerry Ives sits at the table by his window, flipping through a photo album of old pictures and articles collected from decades of running. There are photos of him on magazine covers, on award podiums, out somewhere in the middle of a race and clippings of various articles and race results.
Every single photo in Ives’s thick book has a story and he joyfully recalls each one with a smile on his face. He is a man of countless tales, a man who has seen it all over 78 years.
Ives says his goal is quite simple: to run as long as he can. “There’s a guy I run with. He’s maybe 15 years younger. He says, ‘my goal is to run one more day than you’, and so now I just keep running just to piss him off.”
The Potomac Valley Track Club made the most of its home-track advantage and won its third indoor national championship in six years. The club won the 2013 and 2015 championships, the 2013 meet also contested at the Wayne Curry Sports and Learning Center in Prince George’s County.
By scoring athletes in dozens of events, many competing in multiple events, Potomac Valley scored 990 points to easily outdistance the TNT International Racing Club’s 669. TNT is based in Pennsylvania and won the 2012 indoor championship, along with the 2011 and 2016 outdoor USATF Masters’ titles.
Also, competing for Riadha, Alisa Harvey won the 50-54 400 meters (1:02:35) and 800 meters (2:21.73).
She won races at Oakton. She was a several-time All-American at American. Now more than a decade later, Keira Carlstrom is moving up in race distances and continuing to win.
Now Keira D’Amato, 33, she won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington D.C. Half Marathon in 1:16:31. Even though she lives near Richmond, she said she felt like a “hometown girl” running the D.C. race.
Name: Rachel Cannon
Self-described age group: “Is almost-30 still young?”
Residence: Brookland, Washington D.C.
Occupation: Exhibitions Technician/Guest Services Manager at a local museum
Why you run: I’m an anxious person by nature, and running helps calm my brain. Plus, I love this city, and running connects me to it.
Cross country races are tough, guts-out, lung-ravaging affairs, and for most high schoolers, 5k is long enough.
But some want to ride that feeling a little longer. Like Zachary Zhao.
Josh Estep struggled to finish his first race.
Estep was in the Air Force and stationed in Florida in 2011 when he signed up for a 10k.
“The last couple of miles I was huffing and puffing and pouring sweat,” he said. “I thought anyone who runs more than 10k — you’re crazy. Anything more than that, you’re going to die.”
- The last few days’ worth of heavy, sustained rain has caused Lake Accotink to flood a little. It’s not a huge problem, and affects only the area near the dam, but you should not try to cross it. In fact, don’t try to cross any flooded trails, you have no idea what might be under there. At the very least you’ll probably twist your ankle.
- For the 2017 season, the local Gatorade Players of the Year for cross country include, for D.C. Gonzaga sophomore Gavin McElhennon and National Cathedral School senior Page Lester, for Maryland Walter Johnson senior Abbey Green and for Virginia, Loudoun Valley junior Sam Affolder and South Lakes senior Olivia Beckner.
- The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Loudoun Valley coach Marc Hunter boys’ coach of the year.
- Washington, D.C. consultant Jonathan Terrell completed the World Marathon Challenge, in which runners complete marathons on every continent over the course of seven days.
- The transfer period for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is open through 11:59 p.m. Feb. 29.
- South Lakes alumnus Alan Webb will be one of the inaugural inductees to the National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. Webb, the American record holder in the mile since 2007, will join 29 other inductees, including former U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) who has lived in Washington, D.C. Here’s his July 2017 appearance on Pace the Nation.
- The Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B voted to approve a 1.6 mile segment of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which will connect Fort Totten to Takoma Park, Md.