Photo: Dustin Whitlow/ D. Whit Photography
Stephen Sambu leads in mile five, with Jacob Riley, in black, Photo: Dustin Whitlow/ D. Whit Photography

Editor’s note: A version of this story published Sunday night indicated the course had been remeasured at 9.54 miles and bonuses would be paid. As of Monday morning, Race Director Phil Stewart said the course would be remeasured again and the plan to pay bonuses based on that measurement was off.


We still don’t have a course measurement for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run after a morning traffic accident shortened the course by roughly half a mile, but we know who won.

Kenyans once again swept the individual titles, with Stephen Sambu repeating his 2014 title and  Mary Wacera edging countrywoman Cynthia Limo.

American Jacob Riley made a splash in second place, and when the course was intially measured at 9.54 miles, his 43:28  time extrapolated to 10 miles indicated he’d have run around 45:34, which would have broken the American Record, set in 1983 by Greg Meyer in 46:13. Early Monday morning, race officials said the measurement would have to be taken again, and an initial plan to pay performance bonuses was scrapped.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“Before the race, there was talk about going after the American Record, the conditions were right for it,” Riley said. “Once we found out the course wasn’t going to be 10 miles, it took a lot of pressure off because we weren’t worrying about the watch, it was all about competition.”

Though he was one of four runners Sambu shed with two miles to go, heading north from Hains Point, Riley kept his wits about him to nab the runner-up spot.

“We watched videos from previous races last night at dinner, and I noticed that (Daniel) Salel liked to make a move the last few years at 400 meters to go,” Riley said. “I knew I had to get on my horse if I wanted to hold him off.”

So Riley moved with 500 to go, catching Salel, and Elisa Barno, by surprise and finishing second, eight seconds behind Sambu.

“Ten miles isn’t a distance I run much, so running a little less wasn’t much of a problem for me,” Riley said.

In defending his title, Sambu, a Kenyan who ran for the University of Arizona and lives in Tucson, ran 43:20 for the shortened course, compared to 45:29 last year, when he nipped Salel at the line.

“I love this course, it’s flat and very fast,” Sambu said. “I’ve run this three times. I knew that change was coming (in miles five and six, where the course was altered), so I know not to think about those miles. Once I got to seven I was feeling very good.”

Other Americans in the field included U.S. marathon champion Jared Ward in 10th (44:20), Luke Puskedra in 12th (45:25) and Arlington’s Chris Kwiatkowski in 13th, in 45:43.

“I just wanted to get in there and hang as long as I could,” Kwiatkowski said.

The women’s race had all the drama of last year’s race, with Wacera and Limo finishing in 48:35.

“I didn’t have a plan, so nothing changed,” Wachera said. “It didn’t me too much. I made my move, maybe, in the last 800.”

Stafford County, Va. resident Serena Burla was the first American finisher in sixth place, running 50:18.

“Everyone had been asking me when I was going to run Cherry Blossom,” she said. “I drive these streets every day, and it finally worked out in my schedule to race here. It’s a local fixture with a worldly feel.”

She went out early in the lead pack, then packed off in the second and third miles.

“I wanted to make sure I had something left for the finish,” she said. “I had to focus on being the best me I could be.”

Despite earning her living as a professional runner for Mizuno, winning U.S. half marathon championships in 2014, she said she drew inspiration from “the masses.”

“The people who are running before dawn or after they get home, when I’m already in my pajamas,” she said.
“It’s a great tribute to the sport and the city.”

Mizuno teammate and first immediate D.C. area finisher Lindsay Flanagan finished 10th overall in 51:15.

“If I had run this again, I would have committed to racing earlier,” she said. “I hesitated when I thought about breaking away.”

The Silver Spring resident raced her first local competition after a tenure in the area that saw her run the Olympic Marathon A standard at the Houston Marathon this year.

“I wish I had that extra half mile,” she added. “I like long stuff, so I think I could have done something with that extra room on the course.”

Falls Church’s Susanna Sullivan, fourth last year in the U.S. 10 Mile Championships when they were held here, was 11th in 51:44.

Photo: Dustin Whitlow/ D. Whit Photography
Mary Wacera edges Cynthia Limo. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/ D. Whit Photography
Cherry Blossom Race Director Phil Stewart, holding the microphone, before the start of this year's race. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/D. Whit Photography
Cherry Blossom Race Director Phil Stewart, holding the microphone, before the start of this year’s race. Photo: Dustin Whitlow/D. Whit Photography

A morning traffic accident and resulting crime scene near the Kutz Bridge forced the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run to cut roughly .61 miles from the course.

U.S. Park Police Sgt. Lelani Woods said the accident happened at 5:52 a.m., when a man on a motorcycle heading east on Independence Avenue struck a woman who was crossing the road near the bridge, away from a crosswalk. Woods said that portion of Independence Avenue, along with others in the area, were already closed in preparation for the race. The pedestrian, an “older woman” was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where she died  April 21. Charges against the driver are pending.

Less than 90 minutes after the accident, the elite women’s race started on time, followed by the rest of the race field.

Race Director Phil Stewart said that once the crew in the race’s unified command heard about the accident, it was apparent that rerouting the course down West Basin Drive, past the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, back onto Ohio Drive and over Inlet Bridge, was the best contingency to keep the race going.

The altered distance was announced before the elite women’s advanced start.

“If the accident had to happen, it happened in a place where it was relatively easy to adjust,” he said. “There could have been places where it had happened and it would have been more difficult.

We knew it would be a little short, but it would enable to preserve 9.5 miles.”

Runners’ splits could be trusted up until the four mile mark and beyond the six mile mark. The redirection eliminated the lap around the Tidal Basin, past the Jefferson Memorial.

“Based on times runners had hit previously, we figure it was about a half a mile,” Stewart said. “The times are the times, but we’ll project their times to give people a sense of what they would have run had they finished 10 miles.”

An added wrinkle for organizers was managing the departure of the final waves of runners, versus the arrival of the first female finishers. That time, Stewart said was typically nine minutes, so the expected loss of less than three minutes would not be onerous, but it was enough to try to create some space for runners to finish.

“There was a lot of pent-up anticipation for Spring, so people had invested a lot in the event,” Stewart said.

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David Lister hugs his wife, Ashley, after finishing the Bull Run 50 Miler. Ashley won the women's overall title. Photo: Charlie Ban
David Lister hugs his wife, Ashley, after finishing the Bull Run 50 Miler. Ashley won the women’s overall title. Photo: Charlie Ban

Runners from Pennsylvania claimed top honors at the Bull Run 50 Miler Saturday in Clifton, Va., but when the first 100 finishers were counted, the entrants who identified with the South were the team champions. Of the 325 runners who started the race, 282 had finished roughly 13.5 hours after the 6:30 a.m. start.

In terms of the individual finishes, it was a testament to the collegial nature of ultra running that when Jim Blandford crossed the Bull Run 50 Miler finish line in first place, he credited the guy who won last year.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“I have to thank Brian Rusiecki for not showing up, “ Blandford said self-deprecatingly. Rusiecki held a nearly-five-minute gap last year, but Blandford’s win was not unearned. He had finished second in the two prior Bull Run races, and his victory was the culmination of eight tries. “My time was slower than last year, but I feel like I left everything out there. I couldn’t have run it any faster.”

From the point where he took the lead roughly eight miles into the race, he never trailed on course that heads north on the Bull Run Trail to Bull Run Regional Park and south toward Occoquan and the “Do Loop” before returning to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton. The course, in contrast to many eastern ultra courses, was not terribly technical nor hilly in the estimation of several ultra veterans at the race.

“I knew if I could get through the ‘Do Loop’ without anyone in front of me, I thought I could keep the lead,” Blandford, of Hamburg, Pa., said.

He was one of many Pennsylvanians to make the trip, many of them members of the Reading-area club the Pagoda Pacers.

From northwest of Reading, Lock Haven, Pa. resident Ashley Lister claimed the women’s title in 7:56:04, ahead of Megan McGrath‘s 8:12:25 second place finish.

Lister started out with the intention of taking the race easy and spent the first half on her own. After catching up and integrating into a group of four other runners, her spirits improved and she went on to take the title, a year after being shut out of the race’s lottery.

“Once I started talking to people, I felt better,” she said. “I like tough courses, this course was really runnable, so it was a little out of my comfort zone. I’ve been doing a lot of training on roads to get ready for this course. I needed to get a little consistency, so I did a 40 miler that was similar to this course two weeks ago and 30 miles on the road a week before that.”

She and her husband David met while serving in the Marines, and their 12 hour shifts as security guards while stationed at Quantico helped them adapt to long hours on their feet in the middle of the night, preparation for ultrarunning.

He usually finishes ahead of Ashley,  but temperatures cresting 60 degrees got to him, and she passed him around mile 40. He remains confident heading into late June’s Western States 100 mile race in Colorado.

“This was first time it was this hot this season,” he said. “I’ll be used to it in time.”

Many runners used the Bull Run race as preparation for the Massanutten 100, a mid-May race at the Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County, Va. Both races are managed by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club.

Keith Knipling, of Alexandria, ran Bull Run despite his professed lack of training, finishing nearly 90 minutes behind his best time on the course, but said it would be silly to turn down the chance to run the race.

“I’m running Massanutten, and I’d need to do a 50 mile training run anyway,” he said. “I wasn’t going to do it on my own, so I might as well run the club’s race and have a great time doing it.”

Sean Andrish, of Leesburg, runner up in 7:06:46, remarked that the course was in wonderful shape, despite some mid-week rain.

It had been a few years since he had run the race, and he was only slightly dismayed that his favorite aid station no longer offered ice cream sandwiches. He ran with a group of Bull Run rookies and tried to offer his experience.

“It’s so easy to go out too hard in the first 16 miles, it’s so runnable,” he said.  “I told them to relax. I saw them later on and they were fading.”

Charlottesville’s Rebecca Weast noticed that trap during her first Bull Run 50, the first 50 miler in which she ran the majority of the race.

“You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but without hills to walk up, you don’t get any breaks,” she said.

Seeing her boyfriend, who was working an aid station, helped buoy her spirits.

“There were a few times I sat down with him, but eventually he told me I had to get … out of there and get back to the race.”

Phil Lechner, another Pagoda Pacer, said that experience for Weast was just right.

“Unless you’re winning, it’s an accomplishment just to finish,” he said. “You learn something every time you’re out there. And you meet so many great people you see again and again at a lot of the same races. It’s like a big family.”

Margaret Campbell of Rockville, Md. finishes the Bull Run 50 Miler. Photo: Charlie Ban
Margaret Campbell of Rockville, Md. finishes the Bull Run 50 Miler. Photo: Charlie Ban
Isaac Mativo is all smiles while Tom Kalka leads the way at mile 15 of the Runners Marathon of Reston. Photo: Charlie Ban
Isaac Mativo is all smiles while Tom Kalka leads the way at mile 15 of the Runners Marathon of Reston. Photo: Charlie Ban

As important as discipline and determination can be when training for distance running, the trait that was most valuable to a lot of racers at Runners Marathon of Reston was adaptability.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]Chris Compson adapted when, after 24 miles of just trying to improve on his personal best time, he found himself in a position to win the race, after his best finish to date being ninth place at the Toronto Marathon. He was on spring break from his job teaching English and coaching track at Pittsford-Mendon High School near Rochester, N.Y. and his 2:50:35 finishing time was agonizingly close to a PR.

“I was just training to maintain my pace,” he said of the move into the lead. “In my quality of runner, I’m not making the big moves like Olympians, not making any surges.”

But there he was, able to carry his 18-month daughter across the finish line, at which point she claimed his medal, because after all, she finished in front of him.

Adaptations helped out other runners, too, when 21 marathoners saw their plans change twice when their original race, Greenbelt, Md.’s George Washington’s Birthday Marathon, was postponed and then cancelled in February because of cold weather and then heavy snow. The Reston Runners welcomed those racers onto the course as a kind of  independent subsidiary of the club’s marquee event. The man Compson passed, James Downey, was one such race refugee, who went on to win the Washington’s Birthday Marathon (in exile) in 2:54:14.

The situation was becoming familiar to Annapolis’ Mitch Keiler.

“Picture somebody carefully paintbrushing their marathon training, step-by-step, heading into an April target race,” he said. “All of a sudden, your races are all cancelled, and when they reschedule them, they’re all back-to-back.”

He was left with the rescheduled Seneca Creek Trail 50k in Maryland (originally earlier in March) seven days before the rescheduled GW’s Birthday Marathon/Runners Marathon, which was the same day as the B&A Trail Marathon in Annapolis, which he was also planning to race. He did the 50k and saw the hilly Reston course as an improvement. He still volunteered for the B&A packet pickup, though he couldn’t race.

He’s now off to the Athens Marathon, in Ohio, which itself has seen course changes due to construction and river flooding in the years Keiler, an Ohio University alumnus, has raced near his alma mater.

“I got time on my feet and tried out at different race,” he said. “It would have been easier to roll out of bed and drive 20 minutes to the B&A starting line, but I had a good time.”

Emma Johnston, from Alexandria, was another GW refugee, and she ended up being the first woman across the finish line in  3:24:58, ahead of Runners Marathon winner Kimberli O’Connell.

Johnston tired to race the rescheduled GW Marathon, along with four other runners, by her count, but the race was cancelled at 17 miles when heavy snow and wind picked up.

Though Reston’s 30 degrees was warmer than GW’s weather, Johnston, like many runners, decked out in all black, in hopes of capturing as many rays of sun to help her warm up, though the weather was a marked improvement from 2014’s rain, sleet, hail and snow. A chest cold scuttled Johnston’s plans to chase a 2:55 finishing time, but she felt fortunate to keep her lead up.

She ran most of the race alone, but she was ready for that, having trained alone. The volunteers, she said, helped keep her on track, and she remarked that given the size of the race, she was surprised how many course marshals she came across for roughly 155 marathoners and nearly 300 half marathoners.

For Reston champion O’Connell, from Frederick, her entry was predicated on trying other races besides Marine Corps and Baltimore. Like Johnston, she’s a solitary runner, hitting a lot of 4 a.m. headlamp training runs. Here, a line of traffic cones gave her more of a buffer from cars than she typically enjoys during training runs.

“I wanted to see what I was capable of, how strong I could be,” she said. “This was a good test. There are some hills here, but I have a great sense of accomplishment.”

Ben Adams, of Arlington, ran the race to get some time on his legs in preparation for his native Pittsburgh Marathon, where he hopes to run under 3:25. He’s been putting in some hard training pushing his son, decked out in a tiny track suit, in a jogging stroller, but worries the W&OD might not be his best choice for training.

“When I race hills these days, they get me,” he said. “I think I’m getting weak not running them enough.”

Carlos Jamieson finishes the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon to win in 1:07:43/ Photo: Cheryl Young

History repeated itself for Patrick Moulton at 2015’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon.

The Providence, R.I. native earned a first-place finish with a time of 2:32:54. He also finished first (2:21:17) in 2009 when the race was then called the Suntrust National and Half Marathon.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“It’s been a while, so it’s nice to come back,” the 2008 Olympic Trials qualifier said. “The biggest challenges today were the elements. There was the cold rain. I just tried to finish as strong as I could and took it mile after mile. I caught [second-place finisher] Mynor Lopez (2:34:25) around mile 23 or 24 and I actually felt great coming in. The finish is awesome because you see the [Robert F. Kennedy Memorial] stadium and it’s a nice backdrop. That’s really cool.”

Lopez, who lives in Guatemala, decided to run his first Rock ‘n’ Roll race to qualify for a future race in Canada. It didn’t hurt that his cousin, Danny Lopez, also lives in the area.

“It is a very nice race and it is very organized. The weather just did not cooperate very well,” Mynor Lopez said, through his cousin Danny who served as his translator.

While Lopez, 31, didn’t get time he needed to qualify for his race in Canada, he said he will compete again in next year’s race.

The Moulton-Lopez battle wasn’t the only one to occur in the course’s final miles.

Rebecca Bader (2:55:53) and Martha Nelson (2:55:36) remained on each other’s heels through the course’s final stretch as they neared the finish line. Bader, who finished as runner-up in last year’s race, held a slim lead as she sprinted toward the inflatable arch near course’s end. And like last year, she also saw her lead dwindle in the race’s final moments.

When asked if she plans to give it another try next year, Bader, who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., laughed.

“I thought this time would be the time, but it happens in racing. I came in second place last year, too. You just never know,” Bader, 37, said.

This year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, half marathon and 5k drew more than 25,000 entrants from around the world. Early morning rain and 40-degree temperatures greeted participants upon arrival and remained throughout the duration of the race.  Event staff provided runners with ponchos, but they offered little protection from the elements.

Participants in the half marathon didn’t have to endure the weather’s wrath for as long.

American University’s Carlos Jamieson (1:07:43) edged Andrew Brodeur (1:08:50) to finish first among men’s runners in the half, and mere seconds separated Hirut Beyene Guangul (1:15:54) from Rachel Schneider (1:16:24).

Saturday’s half marathon was a first for Brodeur, who is a fixture at local races.

“I really didn’t know how to pace myself for the first part of it,” Brodeur, 24, said. “But at about five or six miles I had [third-place half finisher] Kevin Hoyt (1:08:54) around and he had a real good idea of what his pace should be. I just kind of tried to stick with him the whole rest of the race. Probably at the last 200 meters we started sprinting… we actually thought the blue blowup [arch] was the finish, but it wasn’t. We had an extra 150 meters after that.”

Marcello Simoes, 25, made the five-hour drive from his home in Fairfield, Conn., to Washington, D.C., to run in his first Rock ‘n’ Roll half.

“I heard about it through the Boston Marathon so I decided to run it with my girlfriend,” he said. “We got into town yesterday and we’re heading back up tomorrow. “The weather is terrible. It was very cold, but I think we’re going to do it again.”

Despite the weather, a multitude of fans still traveled to Southeast D.C. to cheer on marathoners.

Potomac Runners and D.C. Triathlon Club member Becky Hirselj (2:08:06) has participated in the yearly event since it was called the Suntrust National and Half. Hirselj said the amount of fan support was impressive.

“I would have guessed that everyone would have stayed home,” Hirselj, 41, who ran the half, said.  “No pun intended, but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. There were a lot of people out cheering in costumes. It was great. I would have had a hard time getting out of bed. I was pleasantly surprised.”

Saturday’s marathon marked the 100th for Fairfax, Va., resident Joe Harris (2:27:00). Former Congressman Jim Ryun (R-Kan.), who won a silver medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games in the mile, presented Harris with a plaque to commemorate the milestone.

Harris, a Vietnam veteran, said his inspiration to run long-distance races came from an unlikely source.

“In November of 2004 I got a phone call from my company commander in Vietnam who I hadn’t spoken to in about 30 years. He found my name and he gave me call and said ‘there’s a half marathon out here in Arizona in January. Let’s run it together,’” Harris, 65, said. “I did, and it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. It was my first ever half.”

Harris has run 85 half marathons and 15 full marathons. He’s even convinced others to join him.

“I have a special group of friends and we call ourselves the Rock ‘n’ Roll gypsies. We travel all over the country and we see each other at different events,” he said. They’re just the greatest group of people in the world and they’ve stayed with me, they’ve run with me and they’ve pushed me on when I’ve gotten tired. Just having them with me gives me so much motivation. And that’s what running is really all about–being with friends.”

Harris doesn’t plan to slow down now that he’s reached the century mark. In fact, he and the Rock ‘n’ Roll gypsies will soon head to East Texas.  “I have Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas next week, and then San Francisco. This year I have at least 12,” he said.

The pair was due at their own wedding later in the day. Photo: Swim Bike Run Photography
Kathleen Sims and Alex Ozenberger climb back up Wilson Boulevard. The pair was due at their own wedding later in the day. Photo: Swim Bike Run Photography

Paul Thistle and Kevin McNab had finished within a handful of seconds of each other before on this four-mile run down Wilson Boulevard starting in Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood.

But unlike the last time, Thistle was able to come out on top at Saturday’s rain-soaked Four Courts Four Miler.

The 27-year-old crossed the tape in 20:11, better than second place McNab’s 20:41.

“He was just a better man than me today,” said McNab, 28, of Washington.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]McNab, who runs for Georgetown Running Club, finished first in 20:05, a slightly better time than Saturday’s winning finish, and Thistle third in last June’s Freedom Four Miler on the same course. Both races stretch from Courthouse downhill to Rosslyn before going south on Washington Boulevard. At the two-mile mark, there’s a hairpin turn before coming back on the same path, which is entirely uphill this time.

“[After] that turn around, he makes this surge. That was pretty much the end of the story,” McNab said. “He got just a big enough gap.”

McNab was hoping Thistle would slow down on the Hill, but that didn’t happen. Otto Kingstedt, 20 was the third overall male at 21:25.

McNab hopes to break 50 minutes during a 10-mile race later this year. Thistle has his sights set on this summer’s track season.

Woman’s winner Amy Laskowske, who, like Thistle runs for Pacers-New Balance, finished second in the Four Courts Four Miler last year, but was able to come out on top Saturday in a time of 22:44 with last year’s winner not around.

The 27-year-old is still getting back into competitive racing following a four-year break after a successful track and cross country career at the University of Minnesota. She was an All-American in the 10,000 meters on the track in 2009 for the Gophers.

The cool, drizzly weather didn’t bother the Arlington resident, saying it keeps her cool.

“I think it’s great actually great,” Laskowske said. “I love running in the rain.”

With temperatures in the mid-40s at the 9 a.m. start, there was a light to moderate rain throughout the morning.

Said men’s winner Thistle, “Other than being a little miserable warming up, it’s not too much of a factor. A little breezy, but nothing out of the ordinary.”

Laskowske finished just under a minute ahead of second place woman Lindsay O’Brian of the Georgetown Running Club, who clocked a 23:37. The course’s hill made for what she called an “unusual course,” she said.

“It’s definitely not a PR course,” O’Brian said. “It’s good for a solid race and a workout,” which is exactly what the 29-year-old used it for.

She hadn’t raced since early December and wanted to kick the rust off her racing flats before tackling next month’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.

Emily Potter of Alexandria finished as the third woman in 24:25.

Laskowske and McNab each won last month’s Love the Run You’re With 5k.

The weather somewhat soured turnout. A bit more than 1,100 runners crossed the finish line of the race that was capped at 1,750 and nearly sold out beforehand. A bit more than 1,500 ran last year’s race.

But the rain didn’t stop the 1,100 runners from donning their green on the St. Patrick’s Day weekend road race.

“This race is so festive that a little bit of rain did not dampen the sprits, the excitement,” Race Director Lisa Reeves said. “It’s always a fun race.”

Reeves dressed as a leprechaun for the race, complete with a green tailcoat jacket, top hat and long, and red beard, to call runners to the start line, goose late arrivers, take pictures with finishers after the race, and do other race-director duties.

Bag pipes played a runners set off on the course, and finishers were given a pint on the house at Ireland’s Four Courts afterward.

Mike Howie, 34, sported a green “I heart beer” t-shirt with a full beer stein replacing the heart.

His wife had signed up for the race but stayed home with their kids because of the cold rain.

“It was a little colder than I was expecting,” Howie said.

The Alexandria resident has never ran a St. Patrick’s themed race but decided to enter when his wife recently took up running.

Jeremy Lynch, 34, took the unofficial title of baby stroller-pushing champion, finishing in 26:08 with his 18-month-old daughter. The weather didn’t stop his family, having survived St. Pat’s 10k two weeks prior. That race was nearly canceled because of sleet and icy conditions.

“That one was a little bit worse than this one,” Lynch of Springfield said.

“I figured she’d tough it out. She’s usually pretty good in a stroller,” he said referring to his daughter.

Gigi Good, 26, wore a big, green felt leprechaun hat while drinking her post-race beer.

“We would have worn them if it wasn’t raining,” Good, who ran the race with four of her college friends, said.

Dave Cahill, Ireland native and general manager of Ireland Four Courts, which sponsors the race and post-race party, started 10 minutes after the starting horn sounded.

For every person he passed, Pacers will donate one dollar to the Arlington County Police Benevolent Foundation, a nonprofit that helps families of police officers injured or killed in the line of duty and other officers in other ways.

The effort gives between $1,000 and $1,200 to the cause each year, although he only passed about 850 Saturday because of the lower turnout. Saturday was the third year Cahill has undertaken the effort.

Cahill, 43, the top runner of his age group in the Washington area last year, finished in 24:38, the 15th fastest person overall if not for this 10-minute delayed start.

“There’s a lot of banter when you pass people,” Cahill, who has been in the U.S. for about 20 years, said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

He even makes friendly wagers with customers, who often run the race, beforehand.

Sleet pelts the faces of runners during the St. Pat's 10k. Photo: Bruce Buckley/Swim Bike Run Photography
Runners finish the sleet-free first mile of the St. Pat’s 10k. Photo: Bruce Buckley/Swim Bike Run Photography

On a morning so unpleasant the air horn refused to work when it was time to start the race, runners still filled the icy streets around the National Mall for the St. Pat’s Day 10k.

Under constant snow and freezing rain that almost cancelled the 10k, thousands of runners sported green tights, shamrock t-shirts and some even bared their legs to the cold in traditional kilts.

While many said they didn’t come into the race with a time goal because of the less-than-ideal weather conditions, Chris Kwiatowski dominated the 10k race for the Pacers team with a time of 30:26.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“It’s D.C. winter, it’s fun out here,” he said. “Running is hard as it is, so you just have to adjust and kind of go with what the weather gives you and just try to finish faster than you started.”

Running sub-5:00 miles, Kwiatowski finished about two minutes ahead of the next runner, Gregory Mariano from Capital Area Runners in 32:15.

Kwiatowski said he used Sunday’s event as a springboard for his upcoming Spring races, including the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and some outdoor track events.

The race was a departure from its old venue at Freedom Plaza, where for nearly a decade it was run as an 8k. Construction on that course forced December’s Jingle all the Way race to shorten to 5k from its normal 8k, and Pacers Events decided instead to try a new format, with courses looping the Tidal Basin.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] 5k Results [/button-red]For the women, Amy Laskowske won the 10k in 35:20 and said she actually enjoyed the winter weather conditions “to take your mind off the pain of the race.”

Laskowske said she enjoyed having other people around her for the racing, including another woman a pack of men behind the leaders.

“They were ticking off pretty even splits so it was nice to have people around me,” she said.

Tripp Southerland, running for Pacers, won the 5k in 15:52. The race came down to the finish, as Cabell Willis finished just one second behind him.

Southerland said the two ran together for almost the entire race. While he lead the first mile, Willis took the lead around the halfway point.

“I sat on the guy who got second for a while then, I have a pretty good kick, so I relied on my kick to pull away from him after he came up that last hill, I took it,” Southerland said. “Kind of a slow time, but the conditions are really, really not great.”

Despite the bad weather, Southerland said he didn’t encounter any slippery spots on the course, though other runners complained of issues on the painted parts of the road.

“It was kind of like freezing rain. You could hear us crushing it, but it wasn’t slick,” he said. “I was worried at the turn around, because we’re running pretty fast and then you got to do a 180 and I’ve fallen before doing that. So I was pretty careful on that turn, but no one fell.”

His next race is the Gate River Run 15k in Jacksonville, Fla., later this month.

Emily Potter won the 5k for the women, with a time of 18:12. She had had finished fourth at the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon.

For some runners, picking between the 5k and 10k proved too difficult and they chose to double up, running both races back-to-back. Jack DaSilva of Arlington was the first 10k finisher who also ran the 5k and, while he wasn’t happy with his 5k time, he said the first race set him up well to run a good 10k.

“I just warmed up for the 10k and felt great. I was hanging with the top women for a while and then I surged with another guy and just kept going and going,” he said. “It felt good, I got lucky.”

He finished both races with a combined time of 51:42 and said everyone seemed to adapt well to the difficult weather conditions.

“It was challenging. Wind, snow, slick surfaces,” he said. “Everyone out here was battling with pretty challenging conditions.”

His next race is the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in a few weeks.

Chester Kraft also did the double and loved the scenery of running around all the monuments – though it almost wasn’t enough to get him back on the course for the second race.

“I was just trying to convince myself to still do the 10k after the 5k,” he said.

Kraft did the race in full leprechaun garb, including a blazer and bow tie.

While many complained about the weather and didn’t stick around long at the finish line, the cold didn’t bother everyone, including North Dakota native Erin Vranish who loved the wintry backdrop.

“It was a fun course and the snow coming down, it was beautiful,” she said.

Lauren Krause of Alexandria said she was afraid people would decide to skip the race because of the weather, but was excited that so many people showed up in costume and excited to run.

“I really excited to see how many people came out even though it was freezing rain, it was a really great crowd,” she said.


Kevin McNab nabs the win at the Love the Run You're With 5k. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography
Kevin McNab nabs the win at the Love the Run You’re With 5k. Photo: Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography

Georgetown Running Club runner Kevin McNab’s pre-race ritual is quite unorthodox, to say the least. Some runners prefer to get a quick warmup the morning of the race, while others load up on carbs and water for sustenance. McNab, however, said he is lucky if he arrives to the race venue more than 10 minutes before start time.

Sunday was no different.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“This morning was less hectic than races in the past. Catching the Yellow Line on the weekend is like rolling the dice, in terms of whether you’re going to make it somewhere in time,” McNab, 28, said. “I made it with like 15 minutes to spare before the race started—which is pretty good for me.”

While unorthodox, it works for McNab. He breezed through the finish line in 15:14 to claim a first-place finish in the 2015 Love the Run You’re With 5K at Arlington’s Pentagon Row.

Pacers/New Balance runner Andrew Brodeur placed second overall, coming in at 15:17.

“It was a great competition between Andrew and me. We started out and it could have been one of those very slow races where everyone just runs as this big group that breaks up with a half a mile left to go. I saw that happening,” McNab, who ran collegiately at Texas A&M University, said. “I decided to push the pace a little bit and we strung out through about a mile. It was Andrew and I running shoulder to shoulder pretty much the whole way. We turned around and came back and I hopped on his back for a little while and made a surge. He made a counter surge and laid the hammer down. I made one last big push—I probably lost like 10 years of my knees’ life going down that last hill. I value the win more than I value my ability to walk.”

McNab and Brodeur last raced against each other in November’s Stache Dash 5k where Brodeur edged McNab for first place.

“There were similar circumstances, except that time I ended up winning. We’ve been going back and forth,” Brodeur, 24, said. “Going into that last mile, I was thinking about his strategy. I knew he was going to make a move soon and I was trying to prepare for it. I actually tried to make a move before the downhill to see if I could get rid of him before then, but he held on. When I finally got down that hill, my legs were just beat. They were spinning at that point. I just couldn’t keep up with him.”

Earlier in 2014, McNab kicked to victory in the Germantown 5 Miler and Freedom Four Mile.

More than 1,400 people participated in the Valentine’s Day-themed race that took runners on Arlington’s South Joyce Street and Army-Navy Drive, before ending at Pentagon Row, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon City Mall.

And as with many holiday-themed races, team participation was strong.

Amy Laskowske and Joanna Russo (24:20) chose Ovaries Before Brovaries — inspired by the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation— as their team name and finished first among female team runners with a combined time of 20:50. Laskowske also placed first among individual female runners with a time of 17:19.

“This race was fun because of the team aspect. Joanna and I did one of the paring teams and while we didn’t run together, we came up with a team name and competed under the same gender. But we won, so that was great,” Laskowske, 27, said. “The course was fun. I hadn’t run a 5K in a while. I love running, but I really like the team aspect—I like the camaraderie more than the times. Joanna did great. It was nice because I was able to finish and then watch her finish. I cheered her on and she cheered me on since it’s an out-and-back course, so we could see each other. We obviously wanted to win, and we did. So we’re pretty pumped about our medals.”

Champps Americana opened its doors to runners for a post-race party and medal ceremony. And despite it being early morning, the sports bar was filled to near capacity. A deejay with karaoke equipment posted up near the back of the restaurant as runners trickled in throughout the morning. A microphone was available to brave souls who wanted to exercise their vocal cords.

Melissa Reyes (42:16) and Nicole Frisone (42:16) didn’t wait for an invitation. The two belted out their version of the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline,” which garnered the approval of those in the restaurant who joined in the chorus from their seats.

“I was not intoxicated at all,” Frisone, 29, said with a laugh. “I just wanted to do it. There’s no shame in our [race] time and there’s no shame in our singing. It was all fun.”

The two recently began running together, but met on a rowing team at Georgetown’s Thompson Boat Center a while back.

“I took Melissa to a 5k in January, and now she’s back for more.”

Reyes ran her first competitive race with Frisone in January at the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in Orlando, Fla. And while Sunday’s weather wasn’t as warm as sunny Central Florida’s, Reyes said she still enjoyed the race.

“How could you not have a good time? We sang the whole way, right into the karaoke,” Reyes, 42, said. “When we were running we sang a little Bon Jovi and a little Blind Melon. We also sang a little “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. We’re definitely doing this again.”


A warm day meant a lot of pairs of shorts on the starting line for the Jingle All the Way 5k. Photo: Swim Bike Run Photography
A warm day meant a lot of pairs of shorts on the starting line for the Jingle All the Way 5k. Photo: Swim Bike Run Photography

For much of the 2014 Jingle All the Way 5k, Nicolas Crouzier (16:01) remained on Tom Dichiara’s (15:56) heels. Both runners battled for sole possession of the lead throughout the 3.1-mile course.

But as the two neared the finish line, Dichiara turned it on to edge Crouzier, and captured a first-place finish among all runners.

[button-red url=”″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]“For the last stretch, Tom just had a good kick. I tried to follow him for a few seconds, but I couldn’t hold on,” Crouzier, 29, said. “But I got second place at 16 minutes, so that’s pretty good.”

Dichiara, who coaches the Landon School’s varsity track and cross-country teams, breezed through the downtown course averaging 5:08 a mile. After the race, he said he had incentive to run faster.

“We started off and one of the guys was wearing bells. That definitely made me run faster because I didn’t want to have to listen to that for the entire race,” Dichiara, 37, said with a laugh.

“This is my third time running the Jingle All the Way race. I did it twice when it was an 8k and I really loved it. It’s just a great way to kick off the holiday season to be able to come here and see everybody all dressed up. It really gets you into the holiday spirit.”

While last year’s wintry mix provided an idyllic backdrop for the race, the weather this year was far more cooperative. The rain that battered the region for much of Saturday cleared out in time, and while temperatures at the beginning of the race remained frigid, they warmed up as the first group of runners crossed the finish line.

“I thought it was a gorgeous morning. The weather was wildly more cooperative, opposed to last evening when we were setting up in the rain. But it was beautiful this morning, there were lots of great competitors and the costumes were amazing,” Pacers Race Director for Events Lisa Reeves said.

Elves, reindeer, Santa Claus and a human Christmas tree counted among the costumes worn by the more than 4,835 runners who finished the popular holiday race. Last year, 4,403 finished.

Former roommates Molly Carpenter (33:52) and Claire Pearcy (33:52) donned complete, matching Santa suits. The two haven’t lived together for a couple of years, but said events such as the Jingle All the Way 5k give them a good excuse to see each other.

“We always run our races together” Pearcy, 26, said. “I don’t think I’ve ever run a race without her — she’s my accountability partner. She called me and talked me into doing it this year.”

Carpenter said the race’s festive atmosphere added a unique element that helped make the running more enjoyable.

“Checking out everyone’s costumes while you’re running actually makes it seem like time is going by much faster. There’s definitely a different energy among the runners. While it’s competitive, people look like they’re having a lot of fun,” Carpenter, 28, said.

While Carpenter and Pearcy opted for a more traditional look, Carolyn Genegaban (41:41) channeled her inner-Martha Stewart to create a wearable Christmas tree that drew the attention of fellow runners and passersby who strolled around the Freedom Plaza area.

“Well, I joined as a team, and my team already had a Santa, a Christmas gift and a reindeer. So I had a couple of options. I ultimately thought a Christmas tree would be the funniest,” the 28-year-old Germantown, Md. resident said.

Genegaban’s wearble Christmas tree earned first-place costume honors from race judges.

“I put it together yesterday with the help of my husband. I spray painted foam mattress toppers, I attached the ornaments and tinsel with a glue gun and I added a star on top. It got a little heavy. Needless to say, this was my slowest 5k.”

Stephanie Lundeby moved from Oklahoma to Alexandria, Va. in July. The 31-year-old personal trainer didn’t waste time establishing herself in the local running community. Lundeby finished first among female runners on Sunday as she turned in a time of 18:29.

She also gained a new friend and potential running partner in second-place female finisher Chelsea Bollerman (18:42).

Like Dichiara and Crouzier, Lundeby and Bollerman also had their own in-race duel.

“Chelsea fell on my shoulder at about the mile mark. She came up on me and it was great to have her there because I was kind of on my own, and I was trying to figure out my pace. It was nice to have somebody there to keep me motivated. She definitely helped me keep my pace,” Lundeby said.

This year’s race was also the first for Bollerman, a graduate student at The Catholic University of America.

“I saw Stephanie take charge of the race so I decided that I was going to try to stick to her. I was pretty much on her shoulder for most of the race until she dropped me with about half of a mile left to go,” Bollerman, 27, said. “It was really great to get out there and run with her. I think everyone’s enthusiasm was really great.”

Bollerman and Lundeby chatted for a while after the race to congratulate each other and discuss running together in the future.

The friendly rivalries weren’t limited to just the adults.

Thirteen-year-old Carmen (22:08) and 15-year-old Alicia Booher (22:53) joined their mother Ivette (25:08) for Sunday’s race. Ivette Booher, 49, said the two sisters enjoy spirited competitions against each other.

“When racing one another, they go back and forth,” she said with a laugh. “You never know whose day it’s going to be.”

Sunday was younger sister Carmen’s day as she finished first in her age group.

“I thought the course today was pretty good,” the eighth grader said. “I liked seeing all of the costumes on everyone.”

Thomas Foley's (left) idea of getting jolly is kicking to the finish of the Run with Santa. Photo: Cheryl Young
Thomas Foley’s (left) idea of getting jolly is kicking to the finish of the Run with Santa. Photo: Cheryl Young

Some children may still have been nestled all snug in their beds, but others dashed away Sunday morning at the Run with Santa 5k in Reston.

[button-red url=”” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red]At what many called a great family run, kids and adults alike donned Santa hats, ugly sweaters and jingle bells to be greeted by Santa Claus at the finish line on a brisk but sunny winter morning.

Runners wear base layers, hats and gloves to keep warm during winter runs, but Zoo Flynn, 43, had a more unconventional way to stay toasty: a tree skirt wrapped around her waist.

“It definitely keeps you warm, we didn’t know that last year,” said Flynn, who also wore a tree skirt to the same race last year in the show. “This year we thought we’re definitely doing the tree skirts again.”

Flynn said she is not an avid runner, but loves the run environment at the annual race.

“It’s really great seeing all the kids who are out here actually running it. It’s kind of embarrassing too because they finish before we do,” she said.

Some of those kids were Ethan Sanderson’s elf helpers: sons Evan, 11; Eric, 8; and Emmett, 5. Sanderson, a Vienna resident who dressed as Santa, decided to bring his three sons to the race in costume as a surprise to his wife, who was away on a weekend trip.

“My wife went out to Landsdowne — (on) one of those overnight Groupon deals — so we thought we’d send her Facebook pictures to surprise her,” he said.

Sanderson’s Santa costume was pretty lifelike, including a white beard and a fake gut that did more than just shake like a bowl full of jelly.

“I had to keep the arms up higher, it interrupted the normal gait. I kept having wardrobe malfunctions where the gut kept coming out,” he said.

His oldest son did the 5k with him – saying that he had to keep dragging his dad along – and the two youngest did the kid’s fun run following the race.

While some were out at the race in costume or just to have a good time and get in the holiday spirit, others ran the race competitively or were using it as a tune up for future competitions.

Ryan Hagen, of Sterling, won the race in 15:10, matching his winning time from the Reston Turkey Trot on the same course. Hagen said his plan was to go out aggressively and maintain that throughout the race.

“I kind of took it out hard and just tried to maintain that. I went out like I thought, then the third mile was straight into a pretty heavy headwind so that slowed us down a bit,” he said.

Hagen, who is the manager of the Potomac River Running store in Reston, said he recognized another local runner at the starting line who he’d been competitive with at a turkey trot and said he wanted to try to outrun him. While the two stuck together for about the first mile, Hagen took the lead the finished the final two miles alone.

“I’ve been doing a lot of training on my own so I’ve been kind of used to trying to push myself out by himself, but it is always nice to have someone there next to you,” he said.

Susanna Sullivan, who runs with Capital Area Runners, finished seventh overall and was the top female finisher in 16:57. After recovering from a stress fracture this fall, Sullivan said she was just hoping to have a good race.

“It was a fairly controlled effort, but I was happy with the time, happy to get under 17,” she said. “But we just wanted it to be a hard but controlled effort to get ready for next week.”

Both Hagen and Sullivan are competing in the USA Track and Field Club Cross Country National Championship next weekend and used Sunday’s race as a tune up.

The lead pack of men got out ahead pretty quickly, so Sullivan settled in with the chase pack on the hilly course.

“There are some decent hills in this one so I tried to be conservative early since the first mile is net uphill,” she said. “It was a challenging last mile, the last half mile is mostly uphill, so I was trying to just hang on. I didn’t know what was going on at all behind me, I really tried to focus on running my own race.”

Maureen Ball of Herndon has run the race before and likes knowing the so course well, saying that it gives her a good way to gauge how she’s doing. Ball also said she loved the race’s great swag – including a bright green tech t-shirt with Santa on it and a pin with the race’s logo.

“It’s all about the cute t-shirt,” she said.

Ball liked the variety of costumes at the race, where most participants were in some sort of holiday gear.

“You’ve got antlers, you’ve got Santas, you’ve got Mrs. Santas, you’ve got men in tutus,” Ball said. “Where else can you see that?”

While there was a sea of red and Santas around the finish line, some costumes were a little more unique. Natalie Metz, 14 of Herndon, stood out in neon green furry leg warmers and full face paint, doing impressions of the main character of her favorite movie: Jim Carrey’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

“Lots of random people came up to us,” Metz said. “Some one say that’s the girl who stole Christmas.”

She was joined by little sister Nicole Metz dressed as Cindy Lou Who and friend Sophie Barkhordari dressed as the Grinch’s pet dog, Max.

While the costumes may have been a hit among other runners, they proved a little difficult to run in. Metz said her leg warmers kept falling down during the race and Barkhordari said her dog ears almost blew off in the wind.

Still, it was worth it, as they placed second in the costume competition.

“Now we’re going to have to beat this next year,” Barkhordari said.

The top costume prize went to four women dressed as the “Baaa Humbug” sheep.

“Pinterest played a minor role in it,” said Heather Helmig of Burke. “We wanted to be something different.”

The women said they spent about six hours brainstorming the costume idea.

“We started with Bah Humbugs, we were going to be bugs. Then we morphed into sheep and went baaaaa,” said Kathy Jones. “It was a whole brainstorming process.”

The women made the costumes themselves. Each wore sheep ears and a t-shirt that said “Baaa Humbug” covered in cotton balls and rhinestones around the wrist.

For three of the women, it was their first ever 5k. The women trained with the Couch to 5k training program and finished in about 31 minutes.


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