The inaugural Lauren’s Run was less of a race than a reunion. At 9 a.m., race time, the starting line in Rock Creek Park was clear as Jerry Alexander, the coach of GRC Racing Team, gave a short speech about Lauren Woodall Roady’s “indomitable spirit.”
That spirit powered Lauren’s fast rise from recreational to elite runner. But it wasn’t just running. It was the balanced yet tireless way Lauren lived her life, applying her talent and energy to her training and racing, her work as a lawyer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, her baking, her commitment to family and friends, and more. As one of her close friends, Jennifer Harris, who met Lauren in second grade and now lives in Connecticut, said at the event, Lauren “could multi-task like nobody’s business.”
Last December, Lauren was struck by a vehicle and killed in Lexington, Ky., hours after competing with her GRC teammates in the National Club Cross Country Championships, her first cross country race. But her 5K memorial run Sunday, organized by her GRC teammates and well attended by Lauren’s family and friends, was clear proof that her spirit lives on. All proceeds from Lauren’s Run will benefit an organization that supports Cades Cove, a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains where Lauren spent many summers hiking and camping with her family.
“It’s hard,” her father, Jack Woodall, said. “We still miss her every day. It’s great to be here and see her friends. … She had a lot of joy in her running, and that’s what you see [here].”
Jack and Sharon traveled from their home near Knoxville, Tenn., to take part in the event. They were joined by their son, Nicholas, a graduate student at UCLA, Jack’s brother, and family friends.
From an early age, Jack said, Lauren loved horses. “We knew nothing about horses,” he said, “but she wanted to ride horses so bad that she learned everything she could about them and did all that herself. And I think that really taught her a lot of organizational skills because it’s pretty complicated to go to school, and look after a horse, and ride.”
Through college and law school, Lauren’s passion for equestrian sports became more difficult to maintain. She started running recreationally, gradually re-applying her dedication to equestrian sports into distance running. In 2009, she ran her first marathon, qualifying for Boston. In early 2012, Alexander observed Lauren doing a workout one night at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School, where the club practices, and invited her to join the team. In one of her last races, Lauren raced head-to-head at the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon with an Olympic trials qualifier, nearly breaking her personal best for 5k along the way.
This 5k, really, was about bringing people together.
When Lauren’s husband Peter Roady, a budding triathlete, told friends about the event and they in turn told him they “weren’t really runners,” Roady told them, “It’s not really about running a race. It’s about being outside, being active” – celebrating the essence of Lauren’s dedication to the sport. His good friend, Anand Prakash, who does not think of himself as a runner, was convinced to run and walk the course the day after returning from a work trip to Bangladesh.
While James Pagano of Arlington was top male in 17:14 and Michelle Miller of Damascus was top female in 20:12, participants also walked and pushed strollers. Before and after, participants and GRC members who helped put on the event gathered around the Meadowbrook Park Activity Building’s picnic tables – near the start and finish – to socialize and share memories over baked goods supplied by club members.
“It’s always great to see everyone celebrating her,” Harris said. She then added, “I think the hardest thing is, you expect to see her there. I think that still catches me by surprise.”
GRC’s Lindsay Donaldson O’Brien, Laura O’Hara, and Patrick Murphy chose to stage Lauren’s Run where they did because it was near the park’s horse stables, which the route passed twice as it looped through park roads and bike paths.
Roady, who was joined at the event by his parents, sister, extended family, friends, and co-workers, added that the race’s location was Lauren’s favorite place to run. They lived near the park and often ran the trails together. Lauren also liked to do long marathon training runs on Beach Drive, Peter said.
“If it were any Sunday morning and she were still around,” he said, “this is exactly what she would have been doing. It just probably would have been 20 miles, not [5K].”
Four years ago, Lauren inspired Peter’s mother, Celia, to start running. She completed a 5K, and has been running four or five days a week ever since. Weeks ago, at 62, she completed her first triathlon.
For Rockville’s Jeff Lynch, Lauren’s Run was his first 5k in 28 years, when he was in high school. He was one among several dozen of Lauren’s co-workers at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who participated in the event – walking, running, getting across the finish line. Lynch and other NRC employees had learned of Lauren’s running accomplishments through an article in the agency’s newspaper.
Lynch was joined in the event by co-workers he meets at the end of the day to workout in the NRC gym, where Lauren used to sneak in a second workout on her lunch breaks.
“Maybe I’ll have to start running more,” he said.
By Dickson Mercer
October 2, 2011
For the Washington Running Report
Ten kilometers into last year’s New York City Marathon, Kenyan Moses Kigen Kipkosgei made what proved to be a smart move. He let the lead pack go. “The pace was high, so I set my own,” Kipkosgei recalled today after winning the 2nd annual Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in 1 hour 2 two minutes 37 seconds.
In New York, the strategy worked, as a game Kipkosgei went on to seize third place. His best ever result, he said. But today, as Kipkosgei passed 10K along the rolling George Washington Memorial Parkway, the 28-year-old professional had the opposite feeling: the pace was too slow. He already had command of the race; still, he pushed.
Kipkosgei’s winning time was a couple minutes slower than his personal best, but it lowered the event record set by Ethiopian Derese Deniboba, who this year finished 2nd though in an even better time of 1:02:56. Kipkosgei said the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon had served as a fine tune-up for his return to New York on November 6. “This year I am in better shape,” said Kipkosgei, who flew in from Eldoret, Kenya on Friday and will return there Monday to put the final touches on his marathon training.
The women’s runaway winner, Bekelech Bedada, (right) arrived in New York from Ethiopia just weeks ago. A member of Ethiopia’s national team, Bedada plans to get a taste for the American road racing scene for a little while longer before returning to Ethiopia to focus on the track, specifically the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Unchallenged, she cruised to the win in 1 hour 12 minutes 44 seconds, besting Gladys Asiba by more than three minutes. “I’m happy,” she said.
Whether it was to prepare for an upcoming 26.2-mile romp through the Big Apple or the month-away Marine Corps Marathon, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon offered runners of all abilities an apt practice venue. Jennifer Yang, 29, of Alexandria, VA, for instance, took advantage of familiar terrain—she does most of her running on the bike paths surrounding the race’s finish—to sneak in her first half marathon before her first attempt at 26.2 at the MCM.
For big city marathons, just getting to the start can be a challenge. Gracefully dealing with all the logistical challenges to minimize stress can ultimately make a big difference.
The point-to-point Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon attuned a runner to such an experience. Before 6:00 a.m., runners were arriving in National Harbor, where the race finished and boarding buses bound for Mount Vernon, where the race started. Once the race got going, runners were met by a course that, much like those aforementioned marathons, allows for reasonably fast running … so long as you run smart.
The opening mile featured a big downhill. From there, runners met a mix of subtle climbs and drops. That was until between miles 8 and 9, when they hit a challenging hill on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which returned the runners to Maryland. This hill, however, was really only a prelude to the tough climb still to come as runners rounded National Harbor toward the finish.
“I find this hill … very challenging,” Marirose Jarvis, 37, of Springfield, VA, said while waiting in line for a free massage at the post-race festival. She was shivering a bit, but, like the thousands there—plenty of whom had a complimentary beer and took in a band—did not seemed to be bothered by it.
Three days ago, though, as humidity spiked, Race Director Steve Nearman almost put in an order for a couple tons of ice. Good thing he did not pull the trigger. Rather than heat, runners wound up taking on the first legitimately chilly day of the year. Conditions, all told, were favorably cold and blustery.
The elite field Nearman assembled for today’s race included a mix of top-notch international runners, members of McMillan Elite/Team USA Arizona and top locals such as Michael Wardian, who finished 8th in 1:09.16, and Michelle Miller, who finished 3rd in 1:19:43. She was also the top American female.
Miller’s (left) performance was tops for Georgetown Running Company’s racing team, which also offered guides for the race’s National Industries for the Blind National Half Marathon Championships. The winner of that event, Amy McDonaugh, 34, of Irmo, SD, was also fifth overall among women and second American in 1:24:01.
Rebounding from an injury, Miller ran 1:19:43, a 6:05 pace she said indicates her fitness level is on the right track as she prepares for November’s Philadelphia Marathon. Her plan was to run conservatively the opening 10 miles and then pick up the pace if she felt good, she said. “I’m in better shape than I thought, so that was a great confidence booster.”
Prize money ran five spots deep, with the overall winners pulling in $1,000. American-only prize money went five deep as well, with $800 going to winner. While Wardian picked up the top American-only check in the race’s inaugural running, this year he was fifth in a deeper field.
With the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials just months away, Nearman offered a special incentive of a $1,000 bonus to any runner who dipped under the trials-qualifying standard of 1:05:00. Afterward, Nearman could not have been more pleased: The top four American men in today’s race all qualified for the trials.
The group was led by Jordan Horn, 26, and Danny Mercado, 23. Both train with Team USA Arizona. Both were pleased with their results.
Horn, who was 3rd overall, joined Greg McMillan’s program about four years ago, not long after it was founded. Mercado, however, only joined two months ago, not long after he graduated from the University of Oregon.
Mercado, who was 4th overall and sports a Prefontaine-esque mustache, said he was not initially sure what direction he wanted to go with his running after Oregon. He thought about quitting, he said, but Horn was among McMillan’s athletes who encouraged him not to give up.
Horn, in turn, has been focusing on the mile the last couple of years. While this was Mercado’s first half marathon, it was only Horn’s second. Still, the older runner nonetheless served as a guide of sorts for Mercado, who admitted after the race that, on the starting line, he was nearly overcome with nerves.
“Right before the race I thought I was going to drop out,” he said. “As soon as we started taking off it felt so much better. I got in right behind him and it felt just like practice.”
The two ran together all the way until the bridge, where Horn, who clocked 1:03:53, gapped his buddy on the downhill. Mercado came through in 1:04:03. Though he now has a qualifier, he said he is not quite ready to tackle the marathon. Horn, on the other hand, is all set to debut at the trials.
“It’s a little scary,” he said, “but I’m excited.”
Third place Jordan Horn (10), fifth place Danny Mercado (11), sixth place Bobby Mack (12), and seventh place Ricky Flynn (647).
Top Male Finishers
1. Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, KENYA, 1:02:37 (breaks event record of 1:04:44 set by Derese Deniboba in 2010), $1,300
2. Derese Deniboba, ETHIOPIA, 1:02:56, $800
3. Jordan Horn, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:03:53, $2,350
4. Abiyot Endale, ETHIOPIA, 1:04:01, $500
5. Danny Mercado, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:04:03, $1,900
6. Bobby Mack, Raleigh, NC, 1:04:13, $1,600
7. Ricky Flynn, Lynchburg, VA, 1:04:15, $1,500
8. Michael Wardian, Arlington, VA, 1:09:16, $300
9. Seife Geletu, Washington, DC, 1:10:08
10. David Burnham, Arlington, VA, 1:10:51
1. Patrick Kuhlmann, Arlington, VA, 1:14:14, $200
2. Alex Hetherington, Vienna, VA, 1:17:11, $150
3. Paul Willis, Bronx, NY, 1:19:16, $100
1. Wardian, $300
2. Hetherington, $200
3. Lavar Curley, Washington, DC, $100
Top PVA Masters
1. Hetherington, $250
2. Robert Britain, Wayzata, MN, $150
3. Jack Beach, Nottingham, MD, $100
Top Female Finishers
1. Bekelech Bedada, ETHIOPIA, 1:12:44, $1,300 (breaks course record of 1:13:17 set by Catherine Ndereba in 2010)
2. Gladys Asiba, KENYA, 1:15:57, $500
3. Michelle Miller, Damascus, MD, 1:19:43, $1,050
4. Mekides Bekele, ETHIOPIA, 1:20:04, $200
5. Amy McDonaugh, Irmo, SC, 1:24:01, $600
6. Lisa Cron, Herndon, VA, 1:24:03, $300
7. Michelle Harburg, Washington, DC, 1:26:55, $200
8. Lauren Woodall, Washington, DC, 1:29:37, $100
9. Laura Greeson, Alexandria, VA, 1:30:33, $200
10. Sarah Brown, Arlington, VA, 1:30:45
Top Female Masters
1. Greeson, $200
2. Susan Graham Gray, Greencastle, PA, 1:33:47, $150
3. Gillian Walker, Springfield, VA, 1:35:17, $100
1. Kara Christenson, Alexandria, VA, 1:46:42, $300
2. Valerie Bambha, Alexandria, VA, 1:55:01, $200
3. Jessica Orozco, Arlington, VA, 1:55:29, $100
Top PVA Masters
1. Joann Johnson, Herndon, VA, 2:06:54, $250
NIB Visually-Impaired National Half Marathon Championships
1. Amy McDonaugh, Irmo, SC, 1:24:01
2. Matthew Rodjom, Alexandria, VA, 1:24:23
3. Susan Graham Gray, Greencastle, PA, 1:33:47 (in photo below)
4. David Kosub, Washington, DC, 1:34:37
5. John Morgan, Adelphi, MD, 1:43:16
6. Joseph Aukward, Bethesda, MD, 1:45:33
7. Thomas Panek, McLean, VA, 1:52:14
8. Rodan Hollins, Washington, DC, 2:10:07
9. Tim Paul, Chicago, IL, 2:21:34
10. Cassandra Dozier, Chicago, IL, 2:29:54
11. Doug Powell, Falls Church, VA, 2:33:01
By James Moreland
June 4, 2011
For the Washington Running Report
Here it was a cacophony. It was a city of runners and walkers. The weather was glorious. “Isn’t it great to know that every year more participants of the Susan B. Komen Global Race for the Cure are wearing the [Proud Pink] of the survivor?” Everyone is touched by someone in their lives as proof of the tens of thousands of participants, nearly 7,000 who ran in the 5K event. For several hours the river of humanity streamed up and down main street Washington, DC to celebrate life, remembrance, hope, and the search for the cure.
At times the music was deafening for those closest to it but they were announcing their presence to the world. There were many testimonials and videos on the big screen. Most telling was the Komen plan to insist on even more access to have earlier screening and prevention. To let the health industry and Congress know that some awareness was not enough and that a cure for everyone would be relentlessly sought after.
The event took up nearly half of the mall from Third to Seventh Street with the music beginning at dawn. The 5K running began at 8:00 AM and hundreds of runners were still getting lined up. It would take many minutes for everyone to cross the ChronoTrack mats but they would insure runners of an accurate net time. Many of the runners were really not here to race today. Still, they were used to lining up for a race. Very few were racing for the best clock time; they were having the best time participating.
Many of the runners did not understand the need for age, which is to clarify their competition. First you can be the overall winner, than you can be the best in your age group. Nearly all the large races have five year age groups. For this event many people left off their age or responded, “fifties,” or “old.” Some just gave us the month and day and left us to ponder. For this event the two main categories are survivor and everyone else. This was their day to be proud and to celebrate and earn our applause.
Close to forty thousands others composed of friends and family started their parade-like celebration at 8:15 a block away. All would unite in the next two hours at the finish line.
Wilson Komen (left), one of the elite runners in the region, is back and added to his winning streak his second overall win in the last two weeks in a very nice 15:35. Four twenty-something runners battled down the final straightaway on Independence for the next spot. The top masters division runner was Henry Wigglesworth, 53, who recently moved back to Washington after have been away for a couple decades. His time was a national–class 17:05.
Top ranked Michelle Miller bolted out early for the honor of being the top woman in the race, finishing in 17:35. With more than twice as many women in the race as men, her time was just a stride behind the 11th fastest man, Tom Beekhuysen, who was the second masters division finisher.
The next six women all finished faster than 19:00. The sixth place finisher, Katie Sutton, 31, of Kirkwood, MO was the first survivor. Her time of 18:44 proved she still has plenty of life in her.
Hundred of volunteers donated their time to make this event a success.
Top ten men
Pl Div/Tot Num Name Age Hometown Gun T Net T Pace == ======== ==== =================== === ================ ===== ===== === 1 1/387 7942 Wilson Komen 33 Washington DC 15:35 15:34 5:01 2 1/449 4955 Jason Myers 25 Alexandria VA 16:09 16:08 5:12 3 2/449 7988 Andrew Sovonick 25 Gaithersburg MD 16:12 16:12 5:13 4 3/449 7084 Matthew Logan 25 Washington DC 16:15 16:15 5:14 5 4/449 7527 Chris Pruitt 28 Arlington VA 16:19 16:19 5:16 6 5/449 6625 Jossi Fritz-Mauer 26 Ardmore PA 16:32 16:32 5:20 7 6/449 1982 Brian McCabe 25 Washington DC 16:40 16:40 5:22 8 1/182 1848 John Black 23 Arlington VA 16:53 16:52 5:26 9 1/114 7142 Henry Wigglesworth 53 Washington DC 17:05 17:05 5:31 10 2/387 11145 Daniel Yi 31 Alexandria VA 17:17 17:16 5:34
Photo below: Henry Wigglesworth, 53, make it look easy, finishing ninth overall.
Top Ten Women
Pl Div/Tot Num Name Age Hometown Gun T Net T Pace == ======== ==== =================== === ================ ===== ===== ===== 1 1/814 6837 Michelle Miller 30 Damascus MD 17:36 17:35 5:40 2 2/814 7151 Meghan Ridgley 32 Vienna VA 18:15 18:15 5:53 3 3/814 11449 Catherine Seaton 32 Raleigh NC 18:27 18:26 5:56 4 1/533 7800 Janet Whittaker 37 Washington DC 18:31 18:30 5:58 5 1/1086 2709 Kaitlin Sheedy 28 Arlington VA 18:41 18:37 6:00 6 4/814 42648 Katie Sutton 31 Kirkwood MO 18:44 18:44 6:02 7 5/814 4021 Martha Nelson 30 Chevy Chase MD 18:59 18:59 6:07 8 2/1086 7443 Terri Firedline 29 Fairfax VA 19:40 19:24 6:15 9 2/533 3917 Chrissy Graham 37 Olney MD 19:31 19:29 6:17 10 1/100 5210 Paige Callahan 18 Annapolis MD 19:56 19:48 6:23
Photo below: first female masters division finisher Sandrine Falgon, 40, hurries after Kelly Devine just off the 20:00 mark.