By Steve Nearman
March 17, 2012
For the Washington Running Report
There was little drama determining the champions of today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon around the four quadrants of Washington, DC. There was plenty of drama, however, from the thousands of runners whose bodies were not so acclimated to the unseasonably warm temperatures.
Local favorite Michael Wardian of Arlington and George Washington University medical student Meghan Bishop ran dominating races and easily tamed the field of 3,181 starters (3,129 finishers) at the seventh annual race. Wardian, who outruns the field in what seems like at least a marathon or ultra a weekend, covered the 26.2-mile course on autopilot, winning here for the sixth time in seven years in a pedestrian 2:26:35. He earned $1,000.
Wardian opened a big gap early, but had to fight off eventual runner-up Travis Barczak, a 22-year-old Detroit native in his marathon debut. Barczak charged a mile down North Capital Street and drew even with Wardian at 11 miles. But the rookie was no match for the 37-year-old veteran, and six miles later Wardian dismantled Barczak’s hopes for a marathon victory.
“I was smelling blood,” said Barczak, who competes in cross country and is on spring break from Wayne State University this week. “I saw the front guy was relaxed. You’ve got to take advantage of the down hills.”
Wardian was unfazed.
“I started throwing in some 5:17 miles and putting some distance on him,” Wardian recounted. “He was running pretty fast. It was cool. I like to race. And if somebody wants to race, let’s get it on.” Wardian traveled solo from the Southwest Waterfront past Nationals Stadium and all through Anacostia back to the finish.
Barczak slowed considerably over the second half (1:16:41) and ended in 2:28:56. Scott Allen of Washington, DC (2:36:05), Benjamin Emmanuel of Arlington (2:38:24) and Philippe Rolly of McLean (2:41:34) followed.
“I was hoping to run 2:35 but I ended up at 2:41,” said Rolly, who turns 40 this year and is prepping for a successful masters campaign.
Bishop, meanwhile, had no visions of grandeur in her first race over 10 miles. Wearing headphones on a course full of live bands, the 26-year-old from Blue Bell, PA, said she was just happy to be running again after three busy years of medical school, working 80 hours per week to become an orthopedic surgeon.
“I was not expecting to win,” said Bishop, whose last long race was two years ago at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile. “I was just hoping to go under three hours.” Bishop, who was a top distance runner for the College of William and Mary, came close – 3:01:40 – leading the entire course. She took home a $1,000 check for her sweat.
Immediately upon cross the finish line, she took up residency in the medical tent. “My legs were wobbly near the end,” Bishop admitted. “It is probably from dehydration.”
Bethany Sachtleben, 20, from Manassas, trailed her by nearly 10 minutes in 3:11:25. Silvia Baage of Washington (3:13:50), Noalig Montagnon of New York City (3:15:05) and Patricia Soumoff of Southampton, NY (3:16:13) were next.
Four hours into the marathon, drama began to consume the finish area as many runners collapsed or nearly collapsed. The culprit most likely was the temperature, which was mid-50s with haze at gun time 8:00 a.m. but rose into the 70s and full sun by the afternoon.
“We were ready for everything, heat, cold, you name it,” said Dan Cruz, head of media relations for the Rock ‘n’ Roll series. “There were about five minutes when it looked like a war zone.”
In the accompanying half marathon, which drew 16,477 starters and 16,291 finishers, Ricky Flynn nailed his only goal, which was to win, speeding around 13.1 miles in 1:06:39. Flynn, with a personal best 1:04:15 last fall, said he signed up for the race more as a workout as he transitions from marathon training to track sharpening for this June’s Olympic track and field trials. Flynn placed a surprising 12th in the Olympic Marathon trials in January in a debut 2:12:29.
“I was using it as more of a workout than a race, trying to get back in track shape,” said the Lynchburg, VA, resident who grew up in nearby Damascus, MD. His “workout” banked him $1,000.
Flynn said he traded the lead with Washington-based Ethiopian Gurmessa Mergerssa for the first five to six miles. Once they hit Mile 7, Mergerssa abruptly backed off the pace and Flynn turned it on for the next mile. “I just pushed the pace to make sure he didn’t come back on me,” he explained. Mergerssa fell back more than a minute and posted a 1:07:57 time. Italian Paolo Natali was third in 1:08:07.
Ethiopians Askale Merachi and Tiringo Getachew swept the women’s half in 1:16:52 and 1:20:42 respectively. Local favorite Lisa Thomas of Fairfax was third in 1:22:17.
Just before noon, Janette Ray and her training partner Dexter proudly completed the half marathon. Both received their finisher medal around their neck and their water. Then Dexter rolled over onto the pavement in total content.
Not to worry, Dexter is a 6-year-old white lab who has assisted Janette in four marathons and now her fourth half marathon in the past two years. Dexter is Janette’s right arm, a limb she lost to cancer as a baby.
“He needs exercise and so do I,” said Janette, a Kingstowne, VA, resident who was united with Dexter five years ago after a second surgery on her left arm. “I couldn’t move the arm so he minimizes the load.” Janette said Dexter pulls laundry out of the dryer and carries things on his back, along with walking with her five to six miles every day after her work at the Office of the Secretary of Defense Washington Headquarters Services.
Janette was waiting for her husband John to complete the full marathon.
“I’d like to do marathons again but I have a balance problem now and I’m afraid of falling on my face,” the 49-year-old said. “Today we ran 10 minutes per mile which is pretty good for us. Dexter ran all the way through nine miles; then we walked. This is the first race where they actually gave him a finisher’s medal!”
Marathon by division
|2||Steel Flynn||M||23||Mount Washington||PA||2:49:55|
|3||James Graves||M||21||Winston Salem||NC||2:56:26|
|3||Andrew Zernovoj||M||26||Emerald Hills||CA||2:50:31|
|2||Richard Velazquez||M||31||New York||NY||2:42:16|
|1||Karsten Brown||M||37||Front Royal||VA||2:48:18|
|3||Stephen Sundown||M||44||Upper Montclair||NJ||3:06:44|
|1||Robert Towne||M||59||Spokane Valley||WA||3:27:06|
|1||Won Yub Lee||M||73||Salamanca||NY||5:14:29|
|3||James Simpson||M||70||Huntington Beach||CA||5:36:17|
|2||Esther Kendall||F||24||New York||NY||3:18:22|
|1||Ashley Duerr||F||27||Falls Church||VA||3:15:30|
|2||Sarah Moore||F||29||Aliso Viejo||CA||3:18:21|
|1||Noalig Montagnon||F||30||New York||NY||3:11:29|
|3||Phyllis Sevik||F||47||Ellicott City||MD||3:43:00|
|1||Barbara Haney||F||53||Fort Washington||MD||3:45:05|
|2||Elizabeth Baumgarten||F||55||Stone Ridge||VA||3:53:50|
|2||Ruth Liebowitz||F||69||Staten Island||NY||5:33:52|
Half Marathon by division
|3||Brandon Marquart||M||14||Ellicott City||MD||2:12:21|
|1||Thomas Selishev||M||16||Silver Spring||MD||1:19:37|
|2||David Phipps||M||48||Severna Park||MD||1:23:35|
|3||John Michael Chapin||M||45||Alexandria||VA||1:24:37|
|2||William Loomis||M||57||Silver Spring||MD||1:33:50|
|3||Bob Becker||M||60||White Hall||MD||1:31:48|
|1||Malcolm Cohen||M||70||Ann Arbor||MI||2:22:10|
|2||David Loprinzi||M||72||King City||OR||2:22:35|
|1||Lou Wilson||M||75||The Woodlands||TX||3:21:43|
|1||Kerry Lane Magalis III||F||13||Front Royal||VA||1:52:10|
|2||Bryanna Leyen||F||14||Perry Hall||MD||2:05:58|
|3||Sarah Harmer||F||14||Wall Township||NJ||2:07:27|
|1||Jeanna Composti||F||31||New York||NY||1:24:42|
|1||Leslie Cohen||F||44||North Potomac||MD||1:24:32|
|3||Sally Foster||F||40||Linthicum Heights||MD||1:33:19|
|1||Grace McElroy||F||45||Sleepy Hollow||NY||1:29:51|
|1||Linda Ottaviano||F||56||Cold Spring Harbor||NY||1:44:42|
By James Moreland
March 20, 2011
For the Washington Running Report
Below Gurmessa Megerssa breaks the tape.
In typical Washington Metro the weather juked us better than scoring guard in a NCAA March Madness tournament. Colder than normal most of the winter we were torched by nearly eighty on Friday. Saturday racers were greeted with wonderful spring weather in the mid sixties. Then as the real spring dawned at Freedom Plaza the temperatures dipped below freezing.
No matter; this race was all about awareness of a deadly cancer that can, in many cases, may be prevented by vigilant screening. The race was about raising money to find a cure. Just as with the other major “Cure” events, 05-01-11 Race for Hope – DC Presented by Cassidy Turley to benefit the Brain Tumor Society and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (Washington, DC) and the largest of all the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure set for June 4, 2011 in Washington, DC, this event brings caring, sharing people who want to find a cure.
The event had close to 2,000 finishers and nearly twice as many men as women. Nearly all of the runners that moved down Pennsylvania Avenue after crossing the ChronoTrack starting mats were there to celebrate survival of loved ones and the determination to move forward to a cure.
There were some top flight racers there as well. Three women had been ranked first in the area. Two of the men had as well. At the start Bert Rodriguez, 31, of Arlington, VA looked over the field but he already had a plan to break 15:00. The weather was perfect and the flat course was, “almost like a track.” He was advised that the overall went just one deep and top ranked Gurmessa Megerssa was standing close by. Megerssa had finished a solid third overall at the Van Metere 5M in 24:49 just 24 hours ago.
Rodriguez, known as an 800M specialist, could not wait. The start was a 1-2-3 countdown by visiting Redskin Cheerleaders and he was off. He quickly took the lead, following by Adam Condit and Megerssa, who loped along after him like a dog playing in the park.
The race runs down to the Capitol and then does a loop on the eastern side before returning home. As runners approached that loop, many gasped and one shouted out in surprise as these two racing titans were already heading home, racing neck and neck. The wind was pretty mild. Still, Rodriguez lamented later that maybe he should have let Megerssa take some of the lead duties. At mile 2.25 Megerssa made his move which Rodriguez could not quite cover. Megerssa scored another overall win for the year in a very nice 14:55. Rodriguez broke the magic 15:00 barrier by a second.
Almost forgotten Condit (in photo) had a nifty 15:08 to take third overall and first in his age group. Fourth place is a former rankings champion who had won the St. Patrick’s Day race three times back when it was a 10K. Philippe Rolly, 38, of Arlington, VA has been training mega miles and is gearing up for next weekend’s National Marathon. He even ran the last year’s JFK 50.2 mile in a very credible 6:52:15. He lamented that he does not have much speed right now. His time of 16:42 would make most of the rest of us very proud. With abbreviated age groups, he settled into second behind Rodriguez.
Another Frenchman took the top masters spot. Jean Christophe Arcaz, 50, of Rockville, MD was a mortal lock in the traditional 50-54 division. Today the expanded set up with 45-59, he had his work cut out for him. He succeeded in 17:14 with a close battle from Robert Denmark, 45, of Arlington, VA flying home next in 17:26.
For the women, Susannah Kvasnicka, 36, of Great Falls, VA has had 34:30 10K speed. She might have been a co-favorite with Samia Akbar,28, of Herndon, VA the Army 10M record holder from 2009 with 55:25 or Claire Hallissey, 27 of Arlington, VA (below) who had won it all at the winter’s biggest 10K, the Jingle All the Way 10K in 35:17.
Kvasnicka has been absent and healing and is pretty much starting over. Her last race was sixth overall at the Kaiser Permanente Pike’s Peek 10K in April 2010 with 35:57. Akbar had finished second overall in the Fall Runner Rankings with her 27:00 overall win at the HCS 8K in the fall. Still it was clear Kvasnicka was just getting her feet wet and Hallissey only had to hold off Akbar which she did 17:52 to 17:56. Neither were ecstatic with their times but the season has just begun. Both will be faster than 17:00 by Memorial Day. Shortly after that Kvasnicka will be there too.
In the masters division, Lisa Chilcote, 40, of Oakmont, PA keeps moving up. She took the masters division by more than two minutes, finishing in 19:02. She was ninth in the fall Runner Rankings when she was listed as from Bethesda, MD. In the winter she moved up to fifth. He time today is her best masters effort…so far.
The stream of blue race T-shirts continued on for more than an hour. After the race, there were many nice refreshments for all of the participants.
Awards Listing MALE OVERALL Place Num Name Age City Gun T Net T Pace ===== ===== ====================== === ===================== ===== ===== ===== 1 5 Gurmessa Megerssa 31 Washington DC 14:55 14:55 4:48 FEMALE OVERALL Place Num Name Age City Gun T Net T Pace ===== ===== ====================== === ===================== ===== ===== ===== 1 2329 Claire Hallissey 28 Arlington VA 17:52 17:51 5:45 MALE AGE GROUP: 1 - 19 (NET TIME) 1 1962 Jack Beecher 19 Washington DC 17:24 17:22 5:36 2 1075 Joseph Giammittorio 18 Falls Church VA 20:08 19:52 6:24 FEMALE AGE GROUP: 1 - 19 (NET TIME) 1 2604 Gillian Kramer 16 Cheverly MD 22:55 22:48 7:21 2 2519 Christine Downie 18 Arlington VA 26:09 23:32 7:35 MALE AGE GROUP: 20 - 29 (NET TIME) 1 747 Adam Condit 27 Ashburn VA 15:08 15:08 4:53 2 263 Neal Hannan 29 Washington DC 17:09 17:08 5:31 FEMALE AGE GROUP: 20 - 29 (NET TIME) 1 3 Samia Akabar 29 Oak Hill VA 17:56 17:55 5:46 2 1950 Nikeya Green 28 Centreville VA 19:11 19:10 6:10 MALE AGE GROUP: 30 - 44 (NET TIME) 1 2050 Bert Rodriguez 31 Arlington VA 14:59 14:59 4:50 2 1105 Philippe Rolly 38 McLean VA 16:42 16:42 5:23 FEMALE AGE GROUP: 30 - 44 (NET TIME) 1 2474 Kristin Murphy 30 Newton MA 18:19 18:19 5:54 2 1560 Lisa Chilcote 40 Oakmont PA 19:02 19:01 6:08 MALE AGE GROUP: 45 - 59 (NET TIME) 1 19 Jean-Christophe Arcaz 50 Rockville MD 17:14 17:14 5:33 2 2172 Robert Denmark 45 Arlington VA 17:27 17:26 5:37 FEMALE AGE GROUP: 45 - 59 (NET TIME) 1 1998 Patti Galleher 53 Denver CO 21:06 21:03 6:47 2 2334 Cathy Grable 45 Charlotte NC 21:21 21:17 6:51 MALE AGE GROUP: 60 - 99 (NET TIME) 1 2609 Bill Ference 60 Clifton VA 23:38 23:35 7:36 2 153 Michael Loney 60 Silver Spring MD 24:18 24:14 7:48 FEMALE AGE GROUP: 60 - 99 (NET TIME) 1 906 Deborah Schnabel 61 Fairfax VA 33:03 31:52 10:16 2 573 Stephanie Dalton 67 Washington DC 36:41 35:29 11:26
With the football season far away, Redskins Cheerleaders take a look at the new Washington Running Report.