For a year and a half, Sam Doud didn’t race.
After he walked away from collegiate running at American University, he just logged his miles, enjoyed the sport and bided his time until he was ready to race truly long distances.
“I’ve never been one of the fast guys, I never broke 4:20 for the mile,” he said. “A marathon seemed pretty natural for me.”
In February, he started getting itch to see what he could do — he was running fast and ready for the challenge. The Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon started a few miles away from his Glover Park home, what better place to see what he could do? Ended up being a good move.
In winning the race Saturday morning, he blazed the fastest time (2:26:57) since the course was beefed up two years prior, and left two solid marathoners in his wake in 2013 Marine Corps Marathon Champion Girma Bedada and six-time Rock ‘n’ Roll/National Marathon winner Michael Wardian.
Doud, 21, showed up with his roommate and put on his bib — number 31616 — and saw Wardian (bib number 1) and Bedada (bib number 2) near the starting line.
“I has no idea who they were, but they looked fast and people were taking a lot of pictures with Wardian,” Doud said. “My main plan was to not blow up, so I wasn’t going to go with them. I’d let them do their things.”
But he ended up catching them both, running with Wardian between miles 11 and 17, then reeling in Bedada with a mile and a half to go before putting three minutes on him.
Though the back half of the race is always lonely, marathoners usually have the half runners to keep them company through 12 miles. This year the marathoners started an hour and a half before the half. With Metro’s Safetrack restrictions keeping race organizers from opening the system early, they started marathoners early and allowed the more than 13,000 half runners take the trains into the city. The marathon’s 2,373 finishers were on their own to get to the start. That meant empty streets for Doud and his competitors, with few spectators braving the cold, though he got a boost from passing the statue of Simón Bolívar near the first mile mark.
When Doud crammed for the race with a few marathon-pace workouts, he targeted 5:50 miles. On race day, he averaged 5:36 per mile, and only his cautious first mile was slower than his initial goal pace.
“This has me wondering what I could do if I seriously train for a marathon,” he said a day after the race.
Despite his early success, he has a lot to learn. For instance, Wardian remarked to him after the race that he hadn’t seen Doud eat anything during the race.
“I told him I didn’t see any food,” he said, at the time unaware of the bevy of running gels and calorie-replacement options available to runners, including at one water stop.
Still, he never hit the wall, and felt comfortable throughout the race, even in the latter stages. He remarked that the climbs around Fort Dupont Park were far more difficult than out of Rock Creek Park on Shoreham Drive.
Doud, a Bloomington, Ill. native, has less than a year until he graduates with majors in math and computer science, and is tossing around the possibility of running the Marine Corps Marathon.
There, he’ll likely face warmer weather than the mid-20s that greeted him on race morning.
On Saturday, he played it safe, wearing extra layers, including two hats, for his first marathon.
“I don’t want to be the guy wearing shorts and a singlet and freezing,” he said. “I thought I might look a little dumb in the race photos, but it’s better than being cold for two-and-a-half hours.”
He took time after the race to find out a little bit more about the marathoning world from Wardian, particularly how he should expect to feel in the morning.
“He told me I should run the next day,” Doud said. “I woke up feeling like I had put on about 30 years, but I got out there.”
And ran 13 miles, a little faster than 7:20 per mile.
Christie Wetzel, of Falls Church, won the women’s marathon in 3:04:01, two years after running 3:58 in her first marathon here. She ran the race with her husband, Rodrigo Garcia, pulling ahead of him near the finish. Ithaca, N.Y. resident Sabine Fischer-Daly was second in 3:08:41 and Hyattsville’s Angela Hartman was third in 3:10:07.
In the half marathon, Mizael Carrera (Addison, Ill.)1:05:51 defended his 2016 title, Austin Whitelaw (Johnson City, Tenn.) was second in 1:07:59 D.C.’s Paul Thistle, recovered from a long foot injury, was third in 1:08:27. D.C.’s Kerry Allen (1:19:20) won the half after finishing second in 2014 and 2016. This title comes three weeks after she won the Dahlgren Heritage Trail Half Marathon in Virginia. Jenny Mendez Suanca, the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon champion, was second in 1:21:37 and Fairfax’s Sarah Bishop was third in 1:22:02.
You probably know an ultrarunner, and not just the ones you read about in Born to Run. The sport has grown significantly in recent years as more marathoners ask what’s beyond 26.2 miles. In D.C., ultrarunners hide in plain sight, working for the government, opening donut shops, or practicing law. They infiltrate your road marathons, casually enjoying a bagel while you’re trying to stomach another gel. They’re your colleagues, your neighbors, your friends. And if you’ve been thinking about taking on these more extreme distances and conditions, they’re your best resource for getting into the sport.
The ultra club
With some 635 members, 20 events, and three major races per year, the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club is the hub of ultrarunning in the D.C. region.
“We’ve been here right from the start, sort of being a driving force to have events and runs that appeal to everybody,” said club president Alan Gowan.
The club has grown in the last few years as younger runners join the sport, and the club has adjusted to fit members’ interests. That includes partnering with the D.C. Capital Striders on a weekly trail run in Great Falls Park.
Striders President Rick Amernick has come to admire ultrarunners’ tendency to mentor one another.
“A lot of [Striders] (who) had never thought of doing an ultramarathon caught the bug because you’re running with people that sign up for these races, 50k, 50 miles, even 100 miles,” he said. “Some of our runners have completed those races over the last several years strictly because they were encouraged by the runners who they saw on a regular basis [who] said, ‘Hey, why don’t we train together?’”
Lauren Masterson, president of the Washington Running Club, came out to Great Falls while training for her first 50 miler this year. She turned to ultrarunning as a way to stress less about her road marathon times, but she still felt timid before her first run.
“All these people are gonna be so hardcore and they’re gonna be jumping off rocks and just blazing through these trails,” she remembered worrying. “And a lot of them are,” she added, “but they are so welcoming. They have this great Facebook page where people post questions and you’ll get like 10 responses and it’s just been so informative.”
“It’s a real close-knit group,” agreed Tom Corris, a 15-year VHTRC member, “and it’s cliche to say that we’re all family but yeah, we’re pretty damn close to it.”
More cowbell, please
In April, at the finish line of VHTRC’s Bull Run Run 50-mile race, runners rounded the final turn, greeted by the clatter of a cowbell. Kids toddled alongside their fathers to the finish, where race director Alisa Springman greeted them with a high five, handshake, or hug. Volunteers tugged perforated timing stubs off of race bibs and handed out t-shirts. Two-liter bottles of soda lined a picnic table in the finisher’s chute, but the good grub was up a hill in the Chow Hall, where members of VHTRC dished out chili, brewed coffee and shot the breeze.
“You don’t want to disappoint anyone,” said Springman, who has run the race herself 10 times but was directing it for the first time with her husband. “You know what your experience has been like as a runner and it seems seamless, so you want to provide that for the same reasons, so other runners experience that.”
For 350 runners, she recruited a team of 150 volunteers to support the race in rain and even an unseasonal burst of snow.
Like many others, she called the community “tight-knit” and “family.” In a race like the Bull Run Run, she relies on volunteers to make the event run smoothly, but she also relies on the runners to watch out for one another. “You don’t have to spend weeks and months and days and years with a person on the trail to get to know them very well,” she noted. “Oftentimes, an hour or two on the trail where you’re really open and connected to things emotionally, you share a lot more and you feel much more connected than you would otherwise.” This isn’t just talk for her, either; Springman and her husband met at a trail race. “It took off from there!” she said.
The D.C. Scene
Most people don’t think of major urban areas when they imagine trail or ultrarunning, but the D.C. region does not lack for training routes. In Rock Creek Park, more than 30 miles of paved and unpaved trails wind between commercial and residential neighborhoods of Northwest D.C. Great Falls has another 15 miles in Virginia, and across the river, the C&O Canal Towpath runs past miles of detours on its way to Cumberland. In a relatively short drive, you can reach the Shenandoah or Massanutten mountains, Harper’s Ferry or parts of Pennsylvania.
“You would never know that there’s opportunity for trail running here,” said Larry Huffman, who found VHTRC in early 2010 and ran a 50k within the year. Huffman lives in Tyson’s Corner, the rapidly urbanizing suburb just two miles from Great Falls. He runs to the Wednesday night workouts.
Although our mountains are a bit less majestic than the west coast’s, decorated marathoner and ultrarunner Michael Wardian sees a lot of upsides to living here.
“It’s not ideal to live in a major metropolitan area if you want to be really successful (running) in the mountains,” he said. “But it’s possible. You just have to work a little harder.”
Wardian has been known to train with his treadmill at its maximum incline to prepare for races out west, although he regrets that he can’t mimic the brutal descents that follow those climbs.
Like many of us, he stays here to be close to friends and family and the D.C. food scene. When he travels for races, which he does often, he can choose from three airports and virtually every carrier, making his trips more flexible and cost-effective. His friends in Montana don’t have that luxury.
“I feel like it’s worth that kind of tradeoff to be able to get all the perks that we have living in a place like this,” he said.
Wardian has raced around the world and has seen a lot of terrain, but he settled pretty quickly on the destination most like home: Costa Rica, where in 2014, he won the 225k Coastal Challenge Expedition race through the rainforest.
“The climbs aren’t super big and the trails are super duper similar to the U.S. […] That was really neat. I felt really comfortable on those trails,” he said. Most notably, the climate is “kind of like our summer heat. It’s like soupy, hot, humid, which is great for me but a lot of other people from different climates like the Northwest or West Coast kind of suffered. That was something that made me feel at home.” Endlessly optimistic, Wardian has found an upside to some of the worst traits of D.C.’s weather.
VHTRC member Josh Howe of Chantilly gushed about the Instagram photos of a friend who recently moved to Colorado, but he has no plans to leave just yet.
“It may be expensive to live here,” he said. “Traffic may suck awfully bad, but we have some pretty awesome trails around here. Within an hour you can be in the mountains.”
The ultra effect
Even if an ultramarathon doesn’t spark your sense of adventure, ultrarunners generally agree that thinking or training like them can make a difference at shorter distances thanks to the improved endurance, nutrition habits and mental toughness that come from their training regimens.
“You can use that speed that you get in a 5k, 10k, half-marathons, marathons to be able to have a quicker turnover and be a more efficient runner in [ultramarathons],” said Wardian, who turns up for shorter races around the city when he’s in town. “Then you can use that strength and power and discipline that you have from doing the longer stuff to be even that much of a stronger, more competent runner in shorter stuff. I think there’s a nice balance.”
Ultrarunners also develop an ability to eat real food on the run and a highly articulated sense of their nutritional needs. When Josh Lasky started training for his first ultra, he would buy a Chipotle burrito and try to eat it during the workout. “Bit by bit, bite by bite,” he said, “you take that burrito down.” With his stomach acclimated, he can sustain himself on slow-burning whole foods for most of his races, then get a boost from sugar and caffeine to power him to the finish.
“Nutrition is paramount in getting through these things,” Masterson said, who trains mostly on nutritional drinks but likes to grab some potato chips and soda during races. “I’ve seen grilled cheese,” she said of the aid stations, “They have little sandwiches, salted potatoes, french fries; it’s like a junk food fest and it’s awesome.”
If you do decide to take it on, ultrarunning can shake up everything you know about yourself as a runner. “Whatever you run on the roads really doesn’t matter,” Masterson said. Between technical skills, extreme conditions, and the sheer duration of the event, ultrarunning requires a totally new approach to training and racing. You cannot go fast and gut it out. Your GPS probably won’t work; even if it does, your mile splits will be at the whim of the next hill. Your supplies will disappear, your headlamp will die, or your feet will blister; something will go wrong despite your best planning. You will feel soaring highs and profound lows and you will learn to eat when you start crying. If you’re capable, you will keep going, pushing on to find out what physical or emotional boundary you can crack next. This is not a sport people do for fun in the moment; if anything, they do it to feel the pain, to endure it, and to find out who they are on the other side of it.
“[Ultrarunning] brings you to a place of resourcefulness and being uncomfortable in a way that you’re not in your normal, everyday life, where you’re very pampered and everything is accessible and problems are relatively mild and quickly solved,” Springman said. “So a little existential, but there’s something kind of primitive about that, I think, to just get back to something more basic, where the only thing you have to focus on is moving forward and all the other noise and distraction is gone.”
Lasky has a philosophical take that he’s mulled over the course of many miles. “I think the reason why ultrarunners do what they do is because they don’t have the ability to imagine it and they’re not satisfied with the imagination alone…” he said. “It requires a willingness to come face to face with your own mortality, your own limitations, your own strength.” Lasky took up the sport after several years caring for his disabled father as well as a lengthy recovery from a broken ankle. For him, ultrarunning is a test of his limitations and a display of gratitude for his own mobility.
“You’re gonna be in your head a lot,” Amernick said, “I feel like crap, I can’t believe I’m doing this.” He recalls his first 50-mile race last year; at mile 40, he blurted out to a volunteer, “Why do people do this?!” At the finish line, he announced, “I’m never going to do this again!”
Within a few hours, he was asking, “When’s the next one?”
“And that’s what happens,” he said. “That’s what happens. This experience has basically embraced you. You don’t realize it at the time but maybe a day later, a week later, you can look back and go:
“Oh my god, that was amazing.”
The word Brian Shrader kept saying over and over – to reporters, to friends, to race organizers, and to new fans seeking his autograph – was “shock.”
For example: “I’m still in shock,” he said, after winning the .US National 12k championship in Alexandria this morning. “I don’t even know what to think.”
[button-red url=”http://www.national12k.us/Results.aspx” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]
There were a number of reasons Shrader felt this way.
For one, the top prize paid out $20,000, but the 23-year-old still has track eligibility left at Northern Arizona University. So unless he wants to turn professional, Shrader, according to NCAA rules, can only accept prize money “in an amount up to actual and necessary expenses for the calendar year.” (See this Collegiate Running Association page for a more detailed explanation, but he could keep as much as he can document with receipts, including costs for travel, equipment and coaching.)
Before today, Shrader had never run a 10k, let alone a 12k. He had only run one other road race: the CVS Downtown 5k, the national championship, in September, where he was 4th in 13:59.
Shrader racing the 5k was Northern Arizona University alum Diego Estrada‘s idea. They both live, and occasionally train together, in Flagstaff, Ariz. That day, Estrada unleashed a strong kick to win his first national title, while Shrader qualified to have his expenses covered to compete in the 12k.
On a cold, overcast morning, Shrader, Estrada, and 22 other elite men started around 7:25 on S. Union Street, near Oronoco Bay Park. They headed south to Franklin Street and made a short climb and descent. There, not long after the mile mark, they turned left onto George Washington Parkway, which they followed out to the halfway mark, where they did a U-turn and retraced the same route.
Last year, Aaron Braun, of Alamosa, Colo., came here hungry to win his first national title, setting the tempo for a big lead pack and throwing in a series of surges that allowed him to gradually slip away. He broke the tape in a time of 34:26, which he found out later was just two seconds slower than Steve Spence’s American record.
At yesterday’s press conference, Braun said he was just as fit, if not more fit, than he was in 2013, but also knew he’d have more of a “target on his back.”
That turned out to be true.
In the opening mile, a huge pack, 20-plus strong, formed around him. The consensus, it seemed, was that Braun would be the one pushing the pace while everyone else would be the ones trying not to get dropped.
As 4:40s in the early miles dipped down closer to 4:30 by halfway, the pack started to string out. After the U-turn, Braun threw in a 4:25, his goal being, as with his earlier and later surges, to “try and hurt people a little but also not hurt myself.”
“I needed to be able to put them away earlier,” Braun said, “and make them think it was too big of a gap.”
But back on S. Union Street, when the finish line came into view, Braun, though he had successfully dropped most of the field, was still flanked by five other runners – Shrader, Estrada, Jared Ward, Girma Mecheso, and Parker Stinson – who were snapping out of survival mode and tapping into a far more positive notion: I can win this thing.
Shrader, wearing his NAU singlet, had been executing his strategy of keying off Estrada, hanging on to the lead pack as long as he could, and waiting to see what he had in the end. In the final miles, he tucked closely behind Braun. The last 200 to 300 meters, for him, and for everyone involved, was a blur.
Shrader took the lead; and when his legs tied up, 50 meters or so before the finish, he expected to get caught, but no one came. He won in 34:11, averaging 4:35 per mile, as all six in the final chase pack dipped under what used to be Spence’s American-record time.
Estrada, who had given Shrader the idea to test out road racing, and who missed training time recently due to a sinus infection, was just a second back in 2nd. He said the race played out as he expected.
“I assumed Aaron would push the pace, which happened. And then I figured there would be a few guys with a mile to go; then of course everyone would charge again … But I hesitated a little bit. I wasn’t quite feeling it, and it cost me at the end because I ran out of room,” he said.
Braun, just three seconds back, returned to the podium. “My goal, he said, “was to come back and get the title, number one, and get the record for number two. I got number two, but not number one.”
Mecheso, 5th, gave Braun credit: “The way he ran, he deserved to win,” he said, “because he was pushing all the way.”
Stinson, two seconds behind Mecheso, was inspired by the result, calling it “one of my best races.” Like Shrader, he still has track eligibility, though at University of Oregon.
On one hand, he would’ve liked to have been more competitive during the sprint finish. On the other, he doesn’t envy Shrader.
“I’m glad I didn’t make too much money,” he said, “so I don’t have to make any decisions.”
Falls Church native Christo Landry knew his odds of winning his fourth national title in 2014 weren’t good. Five weeks ago he finished 13th in a new personal best of 2:14:30 at the Chicago Marathon, and was still feeling its effects. “I just don’t have the top-end gears right now, coming off the marathon,” he said after finishing 8th in 34:42. “And when you get dropped running 4:35, right after running a 4:32, [you know] they’re running a great time. They ran great, and I just wasn’t hanging with them today.”
For Landry, through, today’s 12k was also a way to celebrate a breakthrough 2014 that gave him an insurmountable lead in the USA Running Circuit (USARC) standings. After the top 10 men were announced, Landry was awarded the $25,000 overall USARC title. He had 82 points, 31 more than Estrada in second.
In the masters division, Arlington’s Michael Wardian won a national title in 38:32. Philippe Rolly, of McLean, was second.
“I don’t ever try to just look to win the masters, but it’s exciting to be in a new age group,” Wardian said.
In typical Wardian fashion, the ultra runner and marathoner was in the Bahamas earlier in the weekend getting in some heat training, he said, and on Friday will represent Team USA at the World 100k championships in Quatar.
“Our team is completely stacked,” he said, “so I think we should win the team title.”
Even after 50 miles of running, Zach Miller was still happy to be out on the JFK 50 Mile course.
For a guy who spends five months at a time at sea, the latest champion of the east coast’s big fall ultramarathon doesn’t take any time on land for granted. Miller, not to be confused with 2003 runner up Zachariah Miller, is based in Columbia, Pa., but that’s just a place his junk mail shows up while he’s on the boat. Results
“It’s good and it’s bad,” Miller said about his job operating printing equipment on cruise ships. “I’ve gotten to run on five continents and I’ll be able to do South America soon, but I really can’t get fast running 10 miles a day on a treadmill.”
That didn’t stop him from pulling away from Ultra Race of Champions winner Rob Krar somewhere between mile 33 and 38 and cruising to victory in 5:38:53, the third fastest time on the course and the youngest, at 25, under 5:40. Krar did not finish the race. Matthew Flaherty of Bloomington, Ind. was second in 5:44:37 and Arlington’s Michael Wardian, he of two marathons in a single day earlier in the week, finished third in 5:55:37.
“When they said I was going to come in under 5:40, I couldn’t believe it,” Miller said. “Only two guys had done that before, and one was Max King (2012 winner and course record holder at 5:34:59).”
Miller’s job affords him months-long vacations, and this one included a road trip to Nevada for the USATF 50k trail championships. A sixth-place finish helped convince JFK race director Mike Spinnler to let Miller into the race, though he didn’t decide on it until a few days before.
“I got the okay but I really had to think about if I really wanted to do it,” he said. “A 50 mile is a lot different from a 50k. I had never run more than 35 miles before.”
Whatever pre-race worries seemed quaint in retrospect of a race that came together “perfectly.” He took the 13 miles of alternating road and technical Appalachian Trail easy, cautiously navigating the rocks.
“I wanted to make sure my ankles came out of it,” he said. “I was falling back, but there was plenty of race left.”
When he and Jason Wolfe hit the C&O Canal Towpath for 26.3 miles, they took down the pace, but Miller considered that he might be running on borrowed time, though it was Wolfe who didn’t finish.
“I thought if we kept sub-6:00 pace up too long, I might blow up by mile 25,” he said. “I was working pretty hard, but once I caught up with Rob (Krar) and found out who he was, I was just happy to be up there with him. I was floored just to be in a position to be second to him.”
Miller didn’t know the kind of lead he had, or that Krar had dropped out, until he hit a tight turn with a little more than eight miles to go. On the rolling hills headed into Williamsport, Md. he tried to reconcile some of the splits he got from escort vehicles, 6:15 for one mile, with the fact that he had never pushed his body that far in a race.
“I was in the great unknown,” he said. “I was just seeing what I could do at that point, it felt like it was all adrenaline. I nailed the nutrition, because you have to take a lot of food to keep going. I think I had a banana at every aid station and my homemade gu.”
Oddly enough, the former Rochester Institute of Technology 10k runner might be well suited for ultra running because of his job situation.
“I don’t have the opportunity to train for a fast marathon, but I can get really strong,” he said. “When were at port, I go out and run because that’s my chance to get off the treadmill. If we’re in port for four hours, I’ll go run for four hours. Norway, South Africa, I just go out and run mountains.”
Warren County, Va. native and Flagstaff resident Emily Harrison might not have matched her time from her ultramarathon debut last year, when she dipped under the old course record coming in second to Ellie Greenwood, but she still managed to race with a commanding lead and capture the title that eluded her before.
“I felt a little off from the start,” she said. “Even leading up to the race, I knew I wouldn’t be as fast but (coach and habitual JFK runner) Ian Torrance said I could run in the 6:30s, so I just focused on getting the win.”
Her 6:35:05 was nothing to scoff at, because it was well ahead of Frederick’s Sage Norton‘s 7:14:03 and Boulder’s Kara Henry‘s 7:17:37.
“I just didn’t drop my pace on the canal this year,” she said. “I did get to see my parents and grandparents driving along the canal and thought to myself that I’d get to see them in a few miles.”
Those were just two of the 863 runners to finish the trek between Boonesboro and Williamsport, run the day after the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.
Erik Price hasn’t had his pick of great days in either of the ultras he’s run this year. The Oakton resident tried his hand at the Northern Virginia North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile in June, which saw hot muggy weather demolish the field. At JFK, temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s, which took a hit at mid-day were accompanied by a constant headwind. That’s coupled with the long, consistent stretch on the towpath, made Price somewhat wistful for the sweltering North Face conditions.
“Running that far on a flat course, you use the same muscles, make the same motion for so long,” he said. “People told me JFK was a tough race but I didn’t see it, looking at the elevation chart. Now I know.”
The conditions hit Reston’s Andrew Simpson hard, but he managed what he called a “great race” despite all of it.
” I think I was close to hypothermic,” he said after recovering from his 39th place finish in 7:29:32.
“Somehow I sprained my ankle along the way but didn’t notice until I stopped and tried to walk around the gym at the middle school,” he said. “Definitely an epic day for ultra-marathoning. I would think that JFK would have been very proud as the course tests you both mentally and physically.”
Simpson’s Team FeXY finished second in the men’s open category to Pain Train.
Lara Shegoski finished fourth on the women’s side, hundreds of miles away from where her Johns Hopkins University cross country teammates were celebrating their second consecutive Division III women’s cross country national championship. Shegoski spent a week out of training with the flu and getting back into the swing of training wasn’t easy.
“My coach said I could try to get back into shape and run one more race, but I figured it was time to move on,” she said. “I spent the summer not running because of ROTC training, so I wasn’t in shape for college racing.”
The ultra distance, though, worked out quite well. In a race that would make Aristotle proud, she just ran without a strategy or preconceived notion about the race, her mind a blank slate. That led to a surprise midway through the race.
“I thought I’d run nine hours,” she said. “I was running with two other women and one of them mentioned we were on sub-7:30 pace. Once I heard that, I started getting a little worried, so I stopped looking at splits.”
She finished in 7:20:45.
Eugene resident Emily Halnon signed up for the race while living in Washington, D.C., but she found her new training environment rocketed her into an optimistic mindset for the race.
“You have great trails, and great runners of all kinds,” she said. “It’s not just “Track Town.'”
She took the Appalachian Trail section carefully and managed to emerge unscathed.
“I fall in road races, so that was really big,” she said. “But it meant a lot of people passed by me.”
She emerged onto the towpath in 26th place and worked her way up to seventh by the time she turned onto the road, holding that place to the end.
Triathlete Alyssa Godesky of Baltimore had a breakthrough race, running 7:38:20 on her fifth JFK race for sixth place. Her previous best was around 8:05. She was the second woman to reach the towpath but found her pursuers running faster than she thought was sustainable for that long a race.
“I tried to hold on but I saw my Garmin putting us in the low-eights (pacewise) and I knew that wasn’t my plan, so I let them go,” she said. “I know what I’m getting myself into, I guess. I was excited to race an ultra now that I know how to race, triathlon definitely taught me that. I used to do ultras trying to go fast, but I have a different mentality now.”
Everything is supposed to hurt during a marathon.
That’s what Kate Volzer told herself in Philadelphia. Her legs were tired, back was sore, hip ached, but it all seemed like a temporary price to pay for the race she was running, the race of her life.
“My hip had been hurting for a month, but given the mileage I was running, it made sense something would be nagging,” she said.
All of those miles paid off — she brought a 2:53 home to Arlington and enjoyed a few days off before she rejoined her GRC Racing teammates and Potomac Runners. But when she headed out the door to run again, she greeted a pain far worse than she had felt in the city of brotherly love.
Her physical therapist assured her it was a hamstring injury, at worst a tear, and it would heal with rest. A few doctors said that. For months, she followed the frustrating cycle of testing and resting, finding herself an unwitting initiate of a large distance running fraternity. The injured. Delta-Ow-Docta.
It starts with change. Something more than the body is ready to handle. Too much new mileage, too many work- outs, trusting too blindly in faddy running shoes. The averages say it’s going to catch up with everyone eventually, everyone who pushes themselves to get faster. Sometimes a mild injury in one place can cause a form change that has musculoskeletal repercussions, like the plantar fascitis that help fell the erstwhile indestructible Michael Wardian.
He was absent from race results for the first time in more than 10 years in 2012. After thousands upon thousands of miles, his body didn’t have an answer, and in August he was sidelined with five pelvic stress fractures. “The longest I’ve ever taken off was a day here or there when I’m traveling,” he said. “It feels like something’s missing.“
Perhaps it’s the 110 miles a week, or the ability to run the Houston Marathon the morning after competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials since he was already in town.
He attributes some of his injury to lack of sleep, because he and his wife take turns watching their son, Grant, who has recently suffered from seizures, which are under control now. With more rest and recovery, he hopes to be running in late October or early November. Though he targets the Kansas City North Face Endurance Challenge, he’ll be happy to race the local Kinhaven 5k, which benefits his sons’ school.
In the meantime, he bikes, including a one-day trip down Skyline Drive, to keep himself in shape. He’s not exactly sitting on the couch watching television.
“Now I feel like I’m a real runner,” he said. “Everyone else I know has dealt with an injury. I’m putting my time in. This is a blip on the radar.”
“Every time I’d go out for a run, I’d cross my fingers and say ‘please don’t hurt, please don’t hurt…’”
Doctors advised Volzer to find a new sport, take a corti- sone shot or elect for surgery, but it was too early for her to go under the knife. She took total rest for a few weeks and gave it another shot.
No dice. This time, her right hip joined in.
Her doctor suggested the body’s symmetry was too uncanny to ignore. Further testing confirmed that her right labrum was also torn.
“I had already made the decision to go with surgery on the left hip, so by this point I figured I might as well take care of everything, rather than start up again and be forced to rehabilitate all over again.”
So she was sliced up twice in August — left, then right, for each labrum to be repaired and irritating bone to be shaved down. She’s looking at a late November return to running. In the meantime, though, she faces some existential questions.
“When you are at a certain level of running and then you can’t run due to injury, you tend to feel like you are no longer an elite runner because you aren’t technically running,” she said. “So if you aren’t the elite runner that you were and so badly want to be again, who are you? Who am I when I am injured? Am I still a runner?”
Liz Greenlaw’s body has given her almost two years’ worth of reasons to stop running.
Riding high on a string of great races in early 2011, she was looking ahead to that fall’s Marine Corps Marathon. A stress fracture took her out, and she discovered she, like Volzer, had torn a labrum and would need surgery. She recovered from her fall 2011 procedure and gingerly ran again in the spring, gaining confidence in fun races, running under a family alias. She was primed for Marine Corps, and her fitness was coming along, until she felt her pelvis shift during a Capital Area Runners workout. She took time off and tried again to run for an hour in August. Afterward she knew she had to beg down to the 10k. Now, with another stress fracture diagnosed, she can just wait and start over.
But she will start over. She saw the course toward her potential with some great races and knew that wasn’t “it.” “I have total confidence I can get back to that,” she said. “There’s more running for me to do.”
She keeps her age group award from the 2009 Marine Corps race framed above her bedroom door so she sees a reminder of better times whenever she walks out
“I remember how it felt to run healthy. I miss the adrenaline. I replay old races in my head, tough, challenging ones that ended up to be rewarding.”
When Keith Kauffman works with injured runners, he keeps them focused on the present.
“There’s a temptation to get caught in the past or the future,” he said. “The regret, the what ifs. Athletes aren’t the best at staying patient.”
He’s a sports psychologist with offices in Alexandria and Washington who also works with Catholic University’s sport psychology research lab.“Confidence is a tenuous thing when your body fails you,” he said. “There’s the fear of re-injury, concerns about lost fitness and the motivation to try and do too much when they get back.”
He said many injured runners show depressive symptoms, in part because of their separation from their ex- ercise outlet, but more because they are missing out on what they enjoy, which includes social time for many. As a result, injuries can be harder on high school athletes. “Their teams are often their primary social group,” Kaufman said. “Injured time is time away from their friends and less attention from their coach.”
College student-athletes carry the added complication of losing a scholarship when mental burnout and extended injury lead them to walk away. Post-collegiate runners, though, face different concerns, especially as they age.
“I think knowing and being able to accept when a window has closed are potentially huge challenges for athletes, particularly when their identities have long been tied to their sport,” he said. “This is why an injury that is career-threatening could be so devastating,” because they have to face the limitations that their body puts on them. “They may be left with an unsettling feeling of, ‘what now?’”
Runners aren’t doomed to lives of injury and frustration, though. Through all the discipline and routine rehab, there’s some hope. Dan Weiser took his first significant run in five months on Sept. 23, 2012. His poorly-aligned kneecaps deteriorated to the point where running was out of the question and climbing stairs or even hopping over curbs was a problem. He didn’t deal with a draconian physician, though.
“My surgeon (John Klimkiewicz) never says ‘don’t run,’ but always works with me to find ways to keep active,” he said.
Weiser races a range of distances from 400 meters to 50k. Variety is not as enticing if he isn’t wearing the rubber off of his shoes.
“Weights, stretching and swimming don’t do it for me,” he said, noting that biking also hurts his knees. “I miss the camaraderie of other runners.”
As a coordinator for DC Capital Striders’ evening Mall runs, he remains at the center of activity for the popular group runs. Now, he’s on his way back.
His physical therapist, Alan Brodnick, had him try alternating walking and light running for a minute at at a time. He increased it slowly, held back when necessary.
“I felt great and wanted to keep running, especially as other runners passed me,” he said. “I wanted to end the run feeling great, not in any pain, so that was my motivation for staying at five minutes.”
Lindsay Wilkins couldn’t do any cross training when she was hurt. In spring 2009, she tripped and tore the ham- string away from her right “sit bone.” It wasn’t something doctors normally saw in runners; rather, it was more of a hockey or water skiing injury. For six weeks, she was trapped in a hip cast. She could stand and lie down. No sitting. And certainly no Pacers racing team workouts. Traveling meant lying in her hatchback as her husband Brian drove her to doctor’s appointments.
“It was a very difficult adjustment, but that surgery was the only way I’d be able to run competitively again,” she said. Removing the cast at the end of six weeks was liberating, but the atrophy in her leg forced her to re-learn how to walk. Her subsequent stab at running was gradual.
“It was like I had never run a step in my life,” she said. After more than a year, she felt something click. Unlike the well-documented fracturing of a bone or snap of a tendon, instead she felt like a runner again, the kind who was once 10 seconds away from winning a marathon two years prior. She was back, and it was time to see what “back” meant.
Her shot at the 2011 Chicago Marathon said it all. On a day much warmer than her 2008 Marine Corps runner up, she finished a mere minute off of her PR.
The whole process made her much more mentally tough.
“Feeling bad in a race is nothing compared to the misery of not being able to run,” she said.
Volzer has been careful in the weeks following surgery. She’s taking her rehab seriously and her cross training lightly.“My personality is a little pessimistic,” she said. “I’m always worrying about worst-case scenarios, and I’ve wondered at times what I will do if I start running again and the surgeries didn’t fix anything.”
She said even as the months piled on without an answer, she never gave up on running.
“I never lost hope, I got upset when I had a setback, but I never thought I wouldn’t be running again someday.” While she is waiting to resume her old life, Volzer can go to happy hours and meet up with friends after work instead of hitting the track. But that doesn’t mean it’s not on her mind. Or that she doesn’t miss her GRC racing team and Potomac Runners training partners.
“I daydream about when I run again, all the time,” she said. “I don’t care how slow I’ll be, I know I’ll be smiling the whole time.”
Not bad for a self-described pessimist.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of RunWashington.
The debut of a grand pianist in a full tuxedo complete with tails at mile six was not the only new tradition that the Montgomery County Road Runner Club’s Parks Half Marathon started in its eighth year. The runners themselves were determined to mark new ground by crushing the old course record by more than a minute.
Filled with hills, scenic parks and trails, the race included an elite class of runners, many from the local area.
Clocking in less than two minutes after the women’s finish line tape broke, Etaferahu Temesgen of Silver Spring, Md. clenched second place followed by Tezata Dengersa of Washington, D.C., who took third. Meseret K Tolwak of New York, N.Y. won the women’s competition with a time of 1:16:25.
Haile Teg Mengesha from New York, N.Y. took the overall first-place title with a time of 1:04:31, which was 20 seconds faster than Ernest Kebenei of Norfolk, Va., who finished second. The elite competition also featured professional ultra-marathoner Michael Wardian of Arlington, Va.
But even with the cost of attracting more runners and providing unique entertainment, Race Director Mike Acuña and the Montgomery County Road Runners Club have not lost sight of the club’s goal established eight years ago to provide a high-quality race at a good value.
“It’s a local race with a big feel to it,” Acuña said. “We’ve figured out a way to make it grow without making it too crowded.”
Acuña also mentioned the race’s other priority—giving runners a chance to get a race under their belt before the marathon season begins.
“We’ve got people who [want to] race half marathons,” Acuña said. “And then we’ve got a lot of marathoners that use this race a tune-up for fall marathons.”
Many runners who tuned up for a marathon hoped to achieve a certain time and looked to Run Farther & Faster coach Julie Sapper as their pacer. While celebrating her birthday with 13.1 miles and a ribbon filled with glitter, Sapper noted that the day was not about her.
“It’s about everyone else,” Sapper said. “You don’t want to disappoint people and not have them get the time they want. Although you sometimes lose people along the way, you know there are some people that can see you from far away and are using you as a marker. So I just tried to stick with my pace.”
Despite feeling the pressure, Sapper successfully led her group into the finish line to their goal time.
Among the thousands of athletes who competed on the hilly course through the parks, some competitors had a home-field advantage.
“I normally run on the trails during the week,” said Robert Palmer of Silver Spring, Md. “So it’s like a home course for me.”
Rob Hannon also had a home-turf advantage.
“[The course] is in the neighborhood,” Hannon said. “I can see my house from the trail.”
The race started near the Rockville Metro station and winded through Chevy Chase and Bethesda, took runners along Rock Creek Park paths and Capitol Crescent and Georgetown Branch Trail. Finishing in Elm Street Park in Bethesda under humid conditions, runners were greeted at the finish with commemorative beanies, refreshments and massage therapists.
Cathy Ahn has been on the lookout for strange and unique races this year. She found one, a few miles from her Arlington home.
Though she had already signed up for the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon, she decided the morning of the race to go for the gusto and run the 50k instead. She ended up finishing second in 4:54:25.
[button-red url=”http://racepacket.com/rsltwrap1.php?id=3836″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Unofficial Results [/button-red]
“I thought about running one more lap than the marathon so it would technically be an ultra, but I decided to just go for it,” she said.
She was accompanied by a handful of Arlington Road Runners, several of whom raced with the rest cheering. Those spectators got to see their athletes a lot. With 210 laps of the 200 meter track for the marathon and 250 for the 50k, the race had almost a dozen lap counters, who tracked several racers to back up the electronic Racepacket timing system.
Eddie Valentine kept his eye on his friend Dave Lin, who was visiting from Manhattan. He was conscripted into the counting corps and limited himself to tracking four runners so he would be able to handle the workload.
“You second guess yourself when the electronic system doesn’t match your count,” he said.
The race started four years ago to give Michael Wardian an opportunity to shoot for the indoor marathon world record and added the 50k to give him an opportunity there, too. The race is named after his two sons. He came through again, running 3:12:13 to Russian Igor Tyazhkorob’s 3:14:49 from 2002.
Wardian tried to run consistent 6:00 pace, hitting 45 seconds for each lap, despite winding through nearly 60 other runners.
“It’s amazing to think it started with 10 people four years ago,” he said. This year’s race had 54 starters.
With wins in several races recently, including the Vermont City Marathon and North Face Endurance Challenge in consecutive weeks, he’s recovered from the stress fractures that plagued his latter part of 2012.
“Just a little pain in my hip today, from the left turns,” he said. “They just started the lap after I split the marathon; It was a little odd.”
Women’s marathon winner Alison Slade, of Odenton, Md. made a pair of comebacks, returning to the marathon after a decade away and racing once again in the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, where she ran many races as a student at the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology. She initially signed up to take a shot at the world record for the women’s indoor marathon, 3:05, but suffered a hamstring injury shortly after than left the goal harder to reach, but she persevered with breaks to massage it and finish in 3:33:21.
The Setash family from Centreville, Va. came to surprise Eric Setash and he went for his age group win to establish a 45-49 indoor 50k national record, which he did in 5:07:35.
“He thought we were home packing for our trip to Cancun,” said his wife, Mary. “We probably should be, but we don’t get to see his ultras.”
His son Charlie and daughters Layne and Abby accompanied him for the last lap. He was ready for his massage, scheduled for Tuesday at their all-inclusive resort, and to demolish every meal that day.
“I’m usually ravenous two days after these races,” he said.
He was disheartened to run over four hours for the marathon en route to the 50k, but he recovered well.
Runners weathered the eight-lap miles in a variety of ways. Lin played head games with the clock, trying to run consistent splits so every few laps, he would cross the starting line at the top of the minute. He didn’t mind the weaving through the lapped runners, because it broke up the monotony of the race.
Steven Waldon on Brooklyn, N.Y. “just zoned out” for about 80 laps. He initially didn’t think he’d have the luxury of doing so, because somehow, at the end of the first lap, he fell down.
“I’ve fallen in trail races, everyone falls in trail races,” he said. “I still don’t know how I fell on a track, on the first lap.”
Making matters worse, he fell again during lap five.
“By my estimation, I was going to probably fall 50 or 60 times,” he said. “I still don’t know how I managed to fall.”
He went on to finish third in 3:54:58.
Trying to schedule a friendly get together in the past four months with Monique Young has been no easy task. In order to meet her weekly mileage goal in preparation for the 50 Mile North Face Endurance Challenge, her days started at 5 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m. But waking up and going to sleep that early to get enough miles under her legs has been worth the trade off for her.
While she described the course through the woods of Algonkian Regional Park, her face lit up. “Amazing” was a common word for Young to describe the mostly dirt and gravel course that she said smelled like honeysuckle.
[button-red url=”http://results.bazumedia.com/event/results/event/event-4201″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]While Young left road running for trail running to be closer to nature two years ago, the North Face Endurance Challenge marked one of several 50 mile trail races that she has completed.
Laura Coogan, first place finisher in the women’s marathon with a time of 3:57:31, conveyed a similar nightlife situation—which she said has been on the decline since college. While balancing a time-demanding training schedule and nursing school life, Coogan took great delight in indulging in the North Face Endurance Challenge post-race festival, which consisted of ice baths, food, beer and many other activities.
“It’s like a big party,” Coogan said. “Except that you have to run a marathon. But at least you earned that party.”
The North Face Endurance Challenge consisted of an entire weekend of trail racing. And with a eight different events, including a 50 mile, 50k, marathon and marathon relay race, there was something for everybody.
All that George Johnson could remember from last year’s North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay were trees, shade and cool temperatures. But all that Johnson could remember from this year’s race was the sun beating down on him.
While Johnson appreciated the lack of rain that muddied up the course in last year’s course, he said the start and finish that took place in an open field with no shade was quite the challenge this year.
Above the Potomac River, the well-marked courses included three miles of tip-toeing and hopping along bluffs on the River Trail with climbs up to 300 feet. In return for their brave climbing skills, the shaded areas of the park blocked them from temperatures that steadily rose to the mid-90’s.
Potatoes, salt, chicken broth and chips were served throughout the race to keep runners fueled. Gallons of water and sport drinks were guzzled down all in an effort to conquer the heat and finish the race.
Among the several local note worthy athletes that competed in the Endurance Challenge included Elite Ultra Runner Michael Wardian of Arlington, Virginia, who took first in the 50 mile race with a time of 6:45:36. In the women’s 50k, Rachel Clattenburg of Washington, DC won first place with a time 5:05:05.
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
August 14, 2011
For the Washington Running Report
As Michael Wardian was finishing his preparations he had a big grin on his face. He noted that he had just won a 10K but the race was “almost too short.” This year would be his fifth time racing the 20K and he had won the last three years. There were three other submasters in the elite field. Frenchman Philippe Rolly who back in 1999 had won the St. Patrick’s Day 10K in 30:27, well ahead of Wardian’s 30:55 PR. Rolly had dappled in Wardian’s forté winning a fifty miler in 2008 in just over seven hours. Wardian had won the JFK 50 Miler in 2007 in 5:50:34.
Italian Edi Turco loves to run. He told us at the DCRRC Landon Cross Country Saturday night that he looks for a race every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Like Michael he runs fifty plus races a year. Often onlookers wonder if these guys would not be faster with fewer races. Perhaps Wardian might improve on his 14:55 PR, which does seem a little out of touch with his new marathon PR of 2:17:49 set this year. And of course he always maintains, “I love to toe the line.”
Third in that group of mega runners is Karsten Brown of Front Royal. About ten years ago, he was just getting started and trying to quit his clove cigarettes. Now he runs a hundred miles a week and will race close to a thousand miles this year. After falling in one 50K in July he bounced back on August 6 to run fifth overall at the Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50K. The next day he took on the Dog Days Cross Country 8K. Still, more than 75 races already this year and a really busy week of racing, he was not feeling to optimistic about a victory.
Tall and slender with his cap on backwards Wardian stayed right with the 10K leaders as the masses roared down Harrison Street. The next three miles plus are all up hill and the wheat, which was a little soggy from the morning’s rain, would soon get separated from the chaff. Jared Abuya, 34, of Gainesville, VA had the best of the race coming up the final hill alone in a 1:05:50 for the second fastest time ever on the course. Aaron Church set the record in 2006 with 1:04:29. The next runner was Wilson Komen of Washington, DC. The lanky Komen has run sub thirty for a 10K and been ranked number one in the Washington Running Report Running Rankings. Though he loves to run, lately he had not been racing as much. His 1:06:19, the third fastest time for the event, proved he still has his stuff. Wardian floated in next in 1:08:10. It will probably mean he will have to go and find another long race to run. He has scheduled the North Face Endurance Challenge Kansas City 50K on August 27.
The next two runners ran close together and almost did not seem aware they were in a battle. Neither surged, and Matt Logan bested Oberst Enzian by five seconds in 1:10:36 to round out the top five. The top master was hard charging Derik Thomas who always seems to finish near the top. At 45, his 6:02 pace on a very muggy day was marvelous. As Rolly crested the hill in 1:13:45 he did not seem to be aware that Edi Turco was coming up behind him in 1:13:57. But the savvy racers always know where their competition is. Brown rolled in just behind Thomas in 1:15:17 and at least at that point it looked as if he might be considering a day off. By Tuesday we expect to see him back out running the Paul Thurston 4.5 miler at Burke Lake.
For the women, Elena Orlova eschewed the 20K in favor of the 10K. That would have been a battle royale. Orlova had set the submaster record in 2009 in 1:17:34 while finishing second overall, followed by Meghan Ridgley. Last year on the short course (12 miles), Orlova won it all at an identical pace with Lisa Thomas of Vienna, VA less than a minute behind. This year Thomas was being pushed ever so close to the record. Ridgley was again third overall with a very nice 1:19:21. The battle for the gold was not decided until the final meters as Lindsay Wilkins, also of Vienna, clung on tenaciously. Thomas touched down in 1:17:40 with Wilkins five seconds behind. Erin Swain out dueled Sarah Bard for the fourth spot 1:20:35 to 1:20:47.
The 20K event is in its 8th year. This year the two races combined for the second largest crowd behind the perfect weather 2008 event which produced 137 ranked runner times, which is 10% of the field. Normally the course is very hot and the bright sun can whittle down the runners. This year the weekend was wet. The early morning rain cooled the air but left it drenched. There were no new records set in the 10K. In the 20K there were two. Grandmaster DeeDee Loughran, 53, finished ninth overall knocking 35 seconds off her record set in 2008. Right behind her Lanie Smith, 19, of Reston, VA (left) set the new teen standard with 1:26:55 and that was with a 30 second late start.
The 10K race is similar to the fabled Greasey Gooney 10k, the first 5K plus is a winding uphill that gets steeper as you go. When you turn around all but the final hundred meters is downhill ride to the finish. Even the four mile marker was eager to get to the finish line. It ended up about a quarter mile closer to the finish line by the time runners caught up with it. While that made for an awful long fourth mile split, mile five was really, really fast. For those hurrying back to the front of the Tuscarora Mill Restaurant at the finish line, there were no worries. The crew that supports the food and drink know their work. For nearly ten years, they have made a science of producing lots of great snacks and plenty of cold drinks. One runner looked at all the iced drinks and said, “They all have sugar in them.” Yes!!
The race always brings out the elite racers and especially the durable ones. Charging down past mile four the race was not yet decided. Lucinda Smith, 29, of Darnestown, MD had a slim lead but Julia Webb easily had Smith in her sights. They were racing with the top men as well, Smith winning in 37:23. That was one spot behind masters winner John Zimmerman’s 37:18. Webb came in soon after as sixteenth overall in 37:33. Speaking of masters, top ranked master and today’s race director Ray Pugsley said of Elena Orlova’s race, “Once you reach, forty everyone is aware of age.” Peggy Yetman, 43, of Leesburg, VA is nearly back to full form and held off Orlova for third place in 38:15. Orlova, 41, finished in 38:24, the same pace she ran the last two years in the 20K. Melissa Rittenhouse, 35, was next among the seven runners who qualified for the open division of the Runner Rankings.
For the men, everyone said that the winner looked like a kid. Joshua Hardin is a junior at William and Mary. Last year he struggled on the hot and hilly Cascades course in 36:47, finishing second among the five teens in the top six. The year before he was Rookie of the Year, breaking 31 minutes twice with a 30:37 10K best as a freshman. Today, he blasted ahead a prerace favorite Seife Geletu to a crushing 32:23 victory. Geletu’s worse race of the summer had been a 16:04 Run through History 5K overall win. He had won his age group at the prestigious Rockville Rotary Twilight 8K in 25:28. His runner-up finish in 33:18 had some runners eyeing their Garmins. Kevin Shirk was third with a solid 33:44. Top teen Patrick Spahn had run the Twilight 8K in 26:47 (34:01 10K equivalent). At Leesburg, he mustered a 35:47 for sixth overall.
Ronnie Wong and Jim Noone both belong to the 50 Plus Club. Wong turns 65 in September and won his division in 44:57. Noone, 67, easily won his division in 45:45. For the even older, jovial Leesburg resident Terry McCarthy, 76, bested mega racer Bob Gurtler, 76. Gurtler projects to again finish with more than fifty 5Ks and 100 races in a year. Of the 11 men older than 70 in the race, Dixon Hemphill, 86, is the oldest by a decade. Hemphill is still the race director for the popular Goblin Gallop 5K, which is run of the Let Freedom Run 5k course in the fall.
With all the food and drink after the race, some runners were hoping for some beer to fill the classy commemorative pint glasses each runner received in their packet. The race course has changed a few times over the years but after 23 years, the race is still a summer classic.
Awards Listing for the 10K (No Duplicate Prizes) MALE OVERALL 1 477 Joshua Hardin 20 Sterling VA 32:23 V 2 803 Seife Geletu 29 Washington DC 33:18 V 3 785 Kevin Shirk 31 Winchester VA 33:44 V FEMALE OVERALL 1 105 Lucinda Smith 29 Darnestown MD 37:25 V 2 537 Julia Webb 28 Charlottesville VA 37:33 V 3 536 Peggy Yetman 43 Leesburg VA 38:15 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 1 - 14 1 745 Tyler Lichtenberg 14 South Riding VA 40:04 V 2 433 Joe Haberlin 14 Ashburn VA 50:33 V 3 266 James Wroe 14 Ashburn VA 51:19 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 1 - 14 1 267 Annie Akagi 10 Leesburg VA 61:55 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 15 - 19 1 697 Patrick Spahn 18 Fairfax Station VA 35:44 V 2 361 Ian Rappaport 19 Vienna VA 37:00 V 3 462 Jarret Cutsail 18 Warrenton VA 38:49 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 15 - 19 1 618 Karissa Love 17 Leesburg VA 48:06 V 2 663 Abbey Cademartori 16 South Riding VA 48:53 V 3 85 Jaclyn Shepherd 18 Leesburg VA 50:07 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 20 - 24 1 521 Rich Saunders 23 Alexandria VA 34:14 V 2 346 Keith Flanders 24 Silver Spring MD 36:22 V 3 149 Michael Nordlund 24 Arlington VA 37:40 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 20 - 24 1 109 Jillian Pollack 22 Winchester VA 40:53 V 2 30 Kailey Gotta 22 Steubenville OH 42:21 V 3 733 Erin Landy 21 Burke VA 44:19 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 25 - 29 1 168 Brennan Feldhausen 26 Baltimore MD 35:58 V 2 750 Andrew Ciarfalia 28 Reston VA 36:44 V 3 780 Timothy Snyder 25 Frederick MD 38:06 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 25 - 29 1 518 Kelly Swain 26 Vienna VA 40:36 V 2 671 Tamara Shear 25 Washington DC 42:37 V 3 736 Bre Morton 27 Centreville VA 44:03 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 30 - 34 1 45 Hugh Toland 30 Fairfax VA 34:06 V 2 784 Matthew Lofkin 32 Winchester VA 35:52 V 3 783 Sean Allen 31 New Market MD 36:52 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 30 - 34 1 636 Andrea Cardy 31 Reston VA 42:02 V 2 644 Meredith Samson 31 Chantilly VA 42:06 V 3 637 Tasha Stryker 31 Arlington VA 42:16 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 35 - 39 1 659 Keith Freeburn 37 Centreville VA 37:25 V 2 576 Aaron Holley 36 Washington DC 39:17 V 3 273 Giovanni Cordova 35 Reston VA 41:22 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 35 - 39 1 652 Melissa Rittenhouse 35 Harrisonburg VA 40:09 V 2 299 Tatiana Sheptock 35 South Riding VA 44:45 V 3 718 Cristina Burbach 37 Washington DC 45:23 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 40 - 44 1 789 John Zimmerman 44 McLean VA 37:17 V 2 289 Craig Chasse 41 Reston VA 38:44 V 3 571 Matteo Mainetti 41 Fairfax VA 38:57 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 40 - 44 1 575 Elena Orlova 41 Gaithersburg MD 38:23 V 2 459 Kim Isler 43 Oakton VA 41:58 V 3 746 Cheryl Young 42 Reston VA 44:40 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 45 - 49 1 798 Matt Anderson 45 Fairfax VA 40:08 V 2 540 James Darling 46 Falls Church VA 41:54 V 3 172 Mark Peterson 49 Purcellville VA 45:52 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 45 - 49 1 737 Kristen Barner 46 Rockville MD 47:49 V 2 626 Marsha Demaree 46 Marriottsville MD 49:30 V 3 710 Judy Swain 46 Purcellville VA 52:07 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 50 - 54 1 153 Harry Linde 52 Sterling VA 40:50 V 2 283 Rhys Williams 50 Reston VA 43:45 V 3 274 David Lee 53 Arlington VA 45:57 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 50 - 54 1 207 Nina Van Winkle 51 Vienna VA 51:10 V 2 309 Betty Sutter 53 Reston VA 54:27 V 3 621 Susan Manning 51 Virginia Beach VA 56:28 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 55 - 59 1 417 Roland Rust 59 Bethesda MD 39:43 V 2 800 James Lee 56 New Market MD 48:24 V 3 557 Dennis Doyle 56 Arlington VA 49:34 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 55 - 59 1 531 Peggy Davis 59 Vienna VA 52:40 V 2 510 Leslie Kash 55 Round Hill VA 54:00 V 3 680 Carla Bourgeois 58 Montclair VA 60:53 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 60 - 64 1 678 Ronnie Wong 64 Baltimore MD 44:54 V 2 24 Robert Ring 63 Harrisonburg VA 54:38 V 3 666 Chris Wells 60 Sterling VA 55:32 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 60 - 64 1 458 Linda Kearney 64 Oak Hill VA 52:35 V 2 410 Freyda Greenberg 62 Falls Church VA 53:06 V 3 530 Laurel Clement 62 Haymarket VA 55:39 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 65 - 69 1 450 Jim Noone 67 Fairfax VA 45:40 V 2 572 Bob Chase 66 Falls Church VA 47:41 V 3 709 Paul Holley 65 Ashburn VA 62:48 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 65 - 69 1 342 Pat Welch 66 Vienna VA 60:40 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 70 - 74 1 451 Chan Robbins 74 Arlington VA 55:07 V 2 682 Ken Quincy 73 Vienna VA 56:47 V 3 812 Warren Pitts 73 Baltimore MD 59:01 V FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 70 - 74 1 463 Ecris Williams 72 Reston VA 64:21 V MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 75 - 99 1 814 Terence McCarthy 76 Leesburg VA 64:18 V 2 366 Robert Gurtler 76 The Plains VA 65:51 V 3 272 Dick Coogan 79 McLean VA 80:18 V
Awards Listing for the 20K (No Duplicate Prizes) MALE OVERALL 1 2518 Jared Abuya 34 Gainesville VA 1:05:50 X 2 2572 Wilson Komen 33 Washington DC 1:06:19 X 3 2652 Michael Wardian 37 Arlington VA 1:08:10 X FEMALE OVERALL 1 2504 Lisa Thomas 35 Vienna VA 1:17:40 X 2 2505 Lindsay Wilkins 33 Vienna VA 1:17:45 X 3 2118 Meghan Ridgley 32 Ashburn VA 1:19:21 X MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 01 - 19 1 2701 Thorpe Lichtenberg 17 South Riding VA X 1:12:25 2 2694 Brady Guertin 15 Ashburn VA X 1:17:17 3 2574 Austin Lushinski 16 Ashburn VA X 1:18:31 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 01 - 19 1 2292 Lanie Smith 19 Reston VA X 1:26:25 2 2712 Alexandra Ludtke 18 Purcellville VA X 1:35:25 3 2186 Laura Kinley 19 Jefferson MD X 1:41:26 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 20 - 24 1 2719 Oberst Enzian 24 Charlottesville VA X 1:10:40 2 2636 Alec Saslow 23 Arlington VA X 1:27:06 3 2656 Christopher Smith 24 Centreville VA X 1:38:28 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 20 - 24 1 2260 Juhie Kumar 24 Great Falls VA X 1:35:20 2 2454 Victoria Butler 24 Ashburn VA X 1:37:25 3 2634 Liz Cresswell 24 West Chester PA X 1:38:16 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 25 - 29 1 2739 Matt Logan 25 Washington DC X 1:10:36 2 2216 Mark Buschman 27 Ellicott City MD X 1:12:09 3 2611 Brian Carnes 26 Leesburg VA X 1:16:27 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 25 - 29 1 2509 Erin Swain 29 Vienna VA X 1:20:33 2 2639 Sarah Bard 27 Leesburg VA X 1:20:45 3 2507 Annie Feldman 29 Vienna VA X 1:25:07 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 30 - 34 1 2288 Jeremy Lynch 31 Falls Church VA X 1:22:26 2 2334 Tim Soltren 34 Fairfax VA X 1:25:35 3 2654 Matthew Van Auken 31 Alexandria VA X 1:27:53 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 30 - 34 1 2580 Megan McNew 32 Baltimore MD X 1:25:43 2 2225 Laura Ramos 32 Silver Spring MD X 1:26:41 3 2311 Jessica McGuire 31 Arlington VA X 1:27:36 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 35 - 39 1 2736 Philippe Rolly 38 McLean VA X 1:13:44 2 2264 Edi Turco 38 Arlington VA X 1:13:56 3 2716 Karsten Brown 37 Front Royal VA X 1:15:15 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 35 - 39 1 2132 Tenley Ludewig 36 Washington DC X 1:29:03 2 2021 Nancy Eiring 38 Washington DC X 1:30:13 3 2007 Jennifer Zimmerman-Ra 38 Purcellville VA X 1:36:02 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 40 - 44 1 2062 Kevin Bell 42 Reston VA X 1:19:57 2 2679 Christopher Green 42 Sterling VA X 1:24:17 3 2638 Chris McKee 42 Vienna VA X 1:24:58 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 40 - 44 1 2018 Tonya Stotler 44 Leesburg VA X 1:33:16 2 2635 Billie Boersma 40 Alexandria VA X 1:35:15 3 2397 Diane Lathom 40 Ashburn VA X 1:39:28 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 45 - 49 1 2553 Derik Thomas 45 Alexandria VA X 1:14:54 2 2655 Eugene Holmes 46 Arlington VI X 1:20:26 3 2690 Howard Frost 45 Falls Church VA X 1:24:42 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 45 - 49 1 2479 Mandana Mortazavi 47 Leesburg VA X 1:32:43 2 2005 Amy Perkins 47 Leesburg VA X 1:42:33 3 2297 Anna Bradford 47 Vienna VA X 1:47:26 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 50 - 54 1 2740 Bob Ferry 51 Vienna VA X 1:20:55 2 2541 Kevin Dix 52 Manassas VA X 1:27:09 3 2585 Elias Tinta 53 Rockville MD X 1:28:53 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 50 - 54 1 2503 Deedee Loughran 53 Oak Hill VA X 1:25:48 2 2230 Carole Jones 54 Ashburn VA X 1:34:28 3 2304 Ellen Mannion 50 Herndon VA X 1:42:58 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 55 - 59 1 2686 Bruce Halpin 55 Ashburn VA X 1:24:17 2 2587 Richard Morgan 59 Silver Spring MD X 1:28:31 3 2276 Clyde Rollins 56 Herndon VA X 1:33:15 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 55 - 59 1 2352 Marcy Foster 57 Reston VA X 1:47:38 2 2561 Maria Nusbaum 59 Reston VA X 2:01:03 3 2178 Marilee Seigfried 59 Purcellville VA X 2:02:28 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 60 - 64 1 2567 John Bolton 60 Leesburg VA X 1:43:24 2 2565 Richard Kaplar 60 Herndon VA X 1:47:48 3 2598 Robert Lewis 63 Washington DC X 1:48:14 FEMALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 60 - 64 1 2711 Linda Mills 61 Salisbury MD X 1:50:19 2 2023 Mary Fredlake 61 Washington DC X 1:59:52 MALE AGE GROUP: NET TIME 65 - 69 1 2122 Bill Vislay 65 Bumpass VA X 1:43:16 2 2545 Lou Shapiro 69 Silver Spring MD X 1:45:33 3 2362 Patrick Brown 66 Reston VA X 1:51:59