By Steve Nearman
Washington, DC
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

Div Name Sex Age City ST Net
1 Patrick Hearn M 21 Sykesville MD 2:46:46
2 Steel Flynn M 23 Mount Washington PA 2:49:55
3 James Graves M 21 Winston Salem NC 2:56:26
1 Benjamin Emmanuel M 26 Arlington VA 2:38:23
2 Jesse Contario M 28 Arlington VA 2:46:59
3 Andrew Zernovoj M 26 Emerald Hills CA 2:50:31
1 Nick Gramsky M 34 Vienna VA 2:39:46
2 Richard Velazquez M 31 New York NY 2:42:16
3 Daven Oskvig M 34 Amherst NY 2:45:55
1 Karsten Brown M 37 Front Royal VA 2:48:18
2 Chris Farley M 35 Arlington VA 2:51:59
3 William Uher M 37 Odenton MD 2:53:21
1 Camerino Ortega M 41 Chantilly VA 3:02:44
2 Joerg Schroeder M 44 Rockville MD 3:04:43
3 Stephen Sundown M 44 Upper Montclair NJ 3:06:44
1 Kelly Ricke M 46 Olathe KS 3:04:53
2 Robert Denmark M 46 Arlington VA 3:06:04
3 Gary Obert M 46 Arlington VA 3:10:19
1 Mark Neff M 50 Derwood MD 2:47:27
2 Glenn Trimboli M 50 Bloomfield NJ 3:16:29
3 Jim Cummings M 51 Mannington WV 3:21:25
1 Robert Towne M 59 Spokane Valley WA 3:27:06
2 Vernon Loeb M 56 Wynnewood PA 3:28:12
3 David Pinnick M 55 Manassas VA 3:31:58
1 Dana Beyeler M 60 Russell PA 3:10:51
2 Skotin Leonid M 62 RU   3:15:01
3 Von Jennings M 64 Clarksville MD 3:53:14
1 Gregory Chaconas M 66 Washington DC 4:01:53
2 Robert Walker M 67 Pittsburgh PA 4:13:04
3 Lynn Brown M 66 Crownsville MD 4:22:01
1 Won Yub Lee M 73 Salamanca NY 5:14:29
2 Benito Vazquez M 72 PR   5:15:45
3 James Simpson M 70 Huntington Beach CA 5:36:17
1 Elizabeth Bleuer F 22 Arlington VA 3:16:37
2 Esther Kendall F 24 New York NY 3:18:22
3 Alyssa Tewksbury F 23 Wyalusing PA 3:22:40
1 Ashley Duerr F 27 Falls Church VA 3:15:30
2 Sarah Moore F 29 Aliso Viejo CA 3:18:21
3 Keelin Wellott F 26 Rochester NY 3:19:45
1 Noalig Montagnon F 30 New York NY 3:11:29
2 Patricia Soumoff F 33 Southampton NY 3:14:53
3 Kathryn Claiborn F 31 Philadelphia PA 3:20:13
1 Ayano Murase F 35 Washington DC 3:26:39
2 Janie Hayes F 38 Washington DC 3:29:15
3 Leslie Kasmir F 36 Arlington VA 3:30:56
1 Sandrine Falgon F 41 Washington DC 3:20:03
2 Cathy Ross F 40 Burke VA 3:21:51
3 Melissa Senall F 40 Fairport NY 3:24:46
1 Ellen Komesarook F 47 Gaithersburg MD 3:21:42
2 Anne Helsabeck F 45 York PA 3:39:20
3 Phyllis Sevik F 47 Ellicott City MD 3:43:00
1 Barbara Haney F 53 Fort Washington MD 3:45:05
2 Theresa Gusman F 52 Dickerson MD 3:52:39
3 Patricia Keating F 50 Dayton MD 3:55:25
1 Myong Dunn F 55 Hanover MD 3:52:29
2 Elizabeth Baumgarten F 55 Stone Ridge VA 3:53:50
3 Stephany White F 56 Grovetown GA 3:56:46
1 Colleen Piccone F 60 Pittsford NY 4:17:01
2 Sandra Bradley F 60 Portland OR 4:21:12
3 Mary Fredlake F 62 Washington DC 4:30:37
1 Joanne Murphy F 66 Baltimore MD 4:55:05
2 Ruth Liebowitz F 69 Staten Island NY 5:33:52


Half Marathon by division

Div Name Sex Age City ST Net
1 Woohyun Kim M 14 Centreville VA 1:59:20
2 Jake Edwards M 14 Sykesville MD 2:10:21
3 Brandon Marquart M 14 Ellicott City MD 2:12:21
1 Thomas Selishev M 16 Silver Spring MD 1:19:37
2 Kevin Clark M 17 Fayetteville NC 1:33:23
3 Cory Staton M 15 Fairfax VA 1:35:18
1 Chris Hague M 23 Kensington MD 1:14:37
2 John Clark M 18 Carlisle PA 1:17:17
3 Conor Murphy M 18 Greenlawn NY 1:18:11
1 Darryl Brown M 29 Exton PA 1:09:29
2 Joe Kelly M 26 Arlington VA 1:13:09
3 Patrick Murphy M 27 Washington DC 1:13:29
1 Daniel Blouin M 33   CA 1:09:00
2 Phil Reutlinger M 33 Alexandria VA 1:12:43
3 Eddie Valentine M 32 Arlington VA 1:16:02
1 Matthew Thomas M 37 Alexandria VA 1:13:21
2 Tim Fahey M 38 Arlington VA 1:15:02
3 Mike Carriglitto M 36 Pottstown PA 1:16:01
1 Michel Couillard M 44   CA 1:19:12
2 Andrew Pugh M 42 Washington DC 1:22:20
3 Mike Bloemker M 43 Shawnee KS 1:25:27
1 Thomas Jensen M 48 Oakton VA 1:21:07
2 David Phipps M 48 Severna Park MD 1:23:35
3 John Michael Chapin M 45 Alexandria VA 1:24:37
1 Kevin D’Amanda M 50 Bethesda MD 1:21:26
2 Christopher Ryan M 53 Washington DC 1:24:58
3 John Whitridge M 50 Rockville MD 1:26:52
1 Bill Raabe M 57 Washington DC 1:24:23
2 William Loomis M 57 Silver Spring MD 1:33:50
3 Ken Krehbiel M 58 Washington DC 1:41:21
1 Bob Albritton M 60 Vienna VA 1:28:04
2 Carl Randall M 60 Fredericksburg VA 1:31:10
3 Bob Becker M 60 White Hall MD 1:31:48
1 John Morris M 67 GB   1:32:57
2 Michael Luke M 65 Roslindale MA 1:53:13
3 Michael Serene M 66 Akron OH 1:53:40
1 Malcolm Cohen M 70 Ann Arbor MI 2:22:10
2 David Loprinzi M 72 King City OR 2:22:35
3 Ken Morrison M 71 Manassas VA 2:27:01
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 Rachel Labella F 16 Bristow VA 1:41:19
2 Mary Brass F 17 Dunwoody GA 1:46:25
3 Madison Oliver F 15 Clifton VA 1:52:34
1 Kerry Allen F 23 Washington DC 1:26:40
2 Susan Bentley F 23 Jamestown NY 1:27:04
3 Caitlin Dorman F 24 Washington DC 1:29:20
1 Teal Connor F 26 Washington DC 1:24:17
2 Wendi Robinson F 25 Washington DC 1:24:39
3 Laura Hutchinson F 29 Holyoke MA 1:26:57
1 Jeanna Composti F 31 New York NY 1:24:42
2 Bridget Holt F 33 Gambrills MD 1:25:09
3 Kendra Goffredo F 31 EC   1:26:47
1 Susan Dominowski F 35 Germantown MD 1:24:31
2 Chrissy Graham F 38 Olney MD 1:28:01
3 Jennifer Sober F 38 McHenry MD 1:28:36
1 Leslie Cohen F 44 North Potomac MD 1:24:32
2 Jennifer Smith F 41 Baltimore MD 1:32:12
3 Sally Foster F 40 Linthicum Heights MD 1:33:19
1 Grace McElroy F 45 Sleepy Hollow NY 1:29:51
2 Andrea Meuser F 45 Vienna VA 1:33:07
3 Shannon Smith F 46 Washington DC 1:35:19
1 Kathleen Russo F 52 Salisbury NC 1:40:04
2 Ruth McArthur F 54 Boerne TX 1:42:23
3 Teresa Lent F 50 Arlington VA 1:42:46
1 Linda Ottaviano F 56 Cold Spring Harbor NY 1:44:42
2 Susan Gold F 56 Fairfield CT 1:45:26
3 Linda Sheaffer F 56 Washington DC 1:54:06
1 Serge Harrison F 62 Cockeysville MD 1:54:05
2 Anne Forsha F 61 Derwood MD 1:55:21
3 Ann Rosenthal F 62 Bethesda MD 1:57:10
1 Chris Craun F 65 Bethesda MD 1:56:59
2 Janice Jacobs F 65 Arlington VA 2:07:39
3 Lucia Davidson F 66 Arlington VA 2:17:00
1 Sharon Leicham F 70 Memphis TN 2:23:12
2 Mary Dowell F 72 Lynn MA 3:09:58
3 Betty Wright-Thomas F 70 Washington DC 3:15:34
1 Anne Morris F 75 Springfield VA 3:22:57
2 Matilda Lowe F 78 Sarasota FL 3:43:42
1 Katy Curnyn F 91 Littleton NH 3:11:16

By James Moreland
Washington, DC
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 

Place Num   Name                   Age City                  Gun T Net T Pace  
===== ===== ====================== === ===================== ===== ===== ===== 
    1     5 Gurmessa Megerssa       31 Washington DC         14:55 14:55  4:48 

Place Num   Name                   Age City                  Gun T Net T Pace  
===== ===== ====================== === ===================== ===== ===== ===== 
    1  2329 Claire Hallissey        28 Arlington VA          17:52 17:51  5:45 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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 

    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.


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