By Brenda Barrera
Washington, DC
March 26, 2011
For Washington Running Report

Long lines of racers get underway.

Under clear skies, chilly race temperatures in the 30s, and the backdrop of the RFK Stadium, more than 13,000 runners finished this year’s SunTrust National Marathon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon, and United Way National Team Relay in the Nation’s Capital, setting an all-time record number of participants.

SunTrust National Marathon

While it may not have been a surprise to local fans that Michael “Mr. National Marathon” Wardian earned his fifth SunTrust National Marathon title in six years, this running icon never takes anything for granted. Coming off a disappointing third place finish at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon last week, the Arlington runner had a look of determination as he lined up at the start.

“I was not happy with my last race so I took off my watches for this one,” said Wardian who usually wears more than one watch when he races. His strategy of “attacking each mile” paid off with a 2:23:01 victory, but his main goal is to run a 2:19:00 qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials.

How is this win compared to his other four at this event? “This was really special,” said Wardian as he held his two boys, Pierce and Grant, in each arm after completing the 26.2-mile race.

Canadian Greg Wieczorek, 29, finished five minutes later in 2:28:08.  Compared to racing in the far north Wieczorek quipped, “This is beach weather!” He stayed at the finish to greet his wife, Maura, 29, who notched a seven minute PR with her 3:06:05 finish. Another familiar runner from the local scene is Wilson Komen. He finished third in 2:31:00, despite missing the marathon split-off and ran with the half marathoners before realizing his mistake and turning back to get on the right course.

In the women’s competition, Russian Nadezhda Tuptova, 35, who is training in Gainesville, FL, won in 2:50:53. Virginia Beach’s Renee High, 29, (photo) took second place in 2:53:05 and Beth Woodward, 35, from Orrville, OH rounded out the top three in 3:01:26.

Chris McDonald, 51, from South Riding, VA was the lone wheelchair competitor. He completed the marathon in 3:08:17.

For Yvette Ju (Rockville, MD) today’s race was extra special. She celebrated her birthday with 2,866 other marathoners, finishing in 4:29:42. It was also Casey Simpson’s (Columbia, MD) birthday and she  ran a 1:55:42 half marathon to celebrate her big day. Other half marathon birthday runners included Douglas Edgecomb (Washington, DC) who finished in 1:52:24 and Sam Hadley (Arlington, VA) who ran 2:39:31. Ryan Leirvik (Arlington, VA) also completed the half marathon and wanted to let everyone know it was his big day. He wore a t-shirt that had this on it: “My name is Ryan and today is my birthday!”

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield National Half Marathon

As with the marathon, it was a local finisher who broke the tape first followed by a Canadian. Gurmessa Mergerssa, 31, from Washington, DC (photo) finished just ten seconds ahead of Canadian Adam Hortian, 1:07:16 to 1:07:26. Mergerssa also won the Scope It Out 5K in 14:55 last weekend. Defending champion Mark Fruin, 25, from Bloomington, IN did not run nearly as fast as he did last year and had to settle for third place in 1:08:15.

Christine Ramsey described 2010 as an “off” year. If this race is any indication, 2011 looks to be an “on” year. The 28-year-old from Baltimore won in 1:17:01. Tezeta Dengersa, 30, from Butsonville, MD finished second in 1:17:15. Local ace Maggie Infeld, 24, from Washington, DC was all smiles after today’s race with her 1:18:28 finish.

To see Rachael Holt and Christina Glasener, 16, (photo below) together you might think they were related since they look alike and both finished in 1:42. Holt was beaming as she introduced Glasener, “I’m so proud of her!” But they aren’t related. Holt mentors Glasener in the popular Teens RunDC program, which empowers at-risk youth to envision and work toward achieving their personal goals through mentoring and a distance running program.

Many of the participants in today’s events support various charities like T.J. Senker, 34, from Baltimore who was running in support of Back On My Feet Baltimore, a nonprofit organization that works with the homeless to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem through running. “Volunteering with this group is really rewarding and inspiring,” he said after finishing the half marathon.

In addition to these two events were the Kids RunDC Monumental Mile and the United Way National Team Relay consisting of three participants with two runners completing 5 miles and the final runner finishing the last 3.1 miles. The Excella-Team from Arlington won in 1:26:34 (6:37 pace). In all, 274 teams competed this year.

For additional coverage, be sure to check out the May/June issue ofWashington Running Report: The Runner’s Source for DC, MD & VA.


Top Five Men Overall

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 2:23:01 Michael Wardian          36     1 Arlington VA                
    2 2:28:08 Greg Wieczorek           29     8 Halifax NS CAN              
    3 2:31:00 Wilson Komen             33     5 Washington DC               
    4 2:31:31 Dustin Whitlow           24     6 Arlington VA                
    5 2:33:42 Joe Kelly                25  3692 Arlington VA                
Record 2:21:17.6 by Patrick Moulton in 2009

Top Three Men Masters

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 2:49:10 Steven Peterson          45  2365 Fairfax Station VA          
    2 2:50:53 Thomas Jensen            47  1558 Oakton VA                   
    3 2:51:16 Sean Reilly              42  4283 Toms River NJ               

Top Five Women Overall

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 2:50:53 Nadezhda Tuptova         35    20 Gainesville FL              
    2 2:53:05 Renee High               29    28 Virginia Beach VA           
    3 3:01:26 Beth Woodward            35    17 Orrville OH                 
    4 3:03:12 Lisa Reichmann           36    16 Gaithersburg MD             
    5 3:03:39 Amanda West              34  3198 New York NY                 
Record 2:48:38.1 by Jeannette Seckinger in 2009

Top Three Women Masters

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 3:07:57 Karine Falgon            40    62 3100 Montlucon FRA          
    2 3:10:44 Cheri Fine               46  1069 Atlanta GA                  
    3 3:11:05 Claudette Augert         47   299 Edmonton AB CAN             

Half Marathon

Top Five Men Overall

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 1:07:16 Gurmessa Mergessa        31  5218 Washington DC               
    2 1:07:26 Adam Hortian             26  5221 Waterloo ON CAN             
    3 1:08:15 Mark Fruin               25  5233 Bloomington IN              
    4 1:08:25 Charlie Hurt             27  5223 Richmond VA                 
    5 1:08:36 Craig Schmidt            27  5257 Sheboygan WI                
Record 1:05:02 by Mark Fruin in 2010

Top Five Women Overall

Place Guntime Name                    Age Bib#  City State                  
===== ======= ======================= === ===== =========================== 
    1 1:17:01 Christine Ramsey         28  5226 Baltimore MD                
    2 1:17:15 Tezeta Dengersa          30  5219 Burtonsville MD     
    3 1:18:28 Maggie Infeld            24  5212 Washington DC               
    4 1:20:07 Laura Onderko            24  5214 Philadelphia PA             
    5 1:20:51 Emily McGregor           24  5209 Philadelphia PA             
Record 1:15:35.9 by Hirut Mandefro in 2009



By Brenda Barrera
February 12, 2011
Virginia Beach, VA
For the Washington Running Report

Leaders Ryan Carroll (#13) and David Hryvniak have not yet sorted out who will win.

The sky was clear blue, a slight breeze touched the 35 degree air, and a sea of red and pink clad runners celebrated their passion at the 3rd annual Virginia is for Lovers 14K in Virginia Beach, VA on Saturday.

Medical student David Hryvniak, 26, from Chesapeake, VA ran slightly ahead of Ryan Carroll, 28, from Portsmouth, VA until mile 7 when Carroll put in a few surges and pulled away, winning in 46:00 with Hryvniak following 19 seconds later. Jordan Chang, 23, of Winchester, VA wrapped up third in 49:20.

Virginia Beach’s Renee High, 29, running under the Final Kick colors, handily won in 50:42, finishing eighth overall. Dolores Ware, a top local masters division competitor, finished second in 55:49. Not too far behind was Mary Davison, 38, from Bristow, VA, (left) who completed the unique distance in 56:12.

In addition to the “single” competition the event offers the popular couples team division. Greg Cauller drove down from York, PA and made a stop in Wilmington, DE to get Lynn Knothe. Their combined time of 1:48:31 earned them second place among the 199 teams. Cauller said they enjoy the J&A Racing events in Virginia Beach. “It’s a good place for a weekend getaway,” he recommended. “And there are a lot of good restaurants.”

Team “Greg-n-Lynn” might not have needed Cupid’s assistance, but he was spotted (with bow and white wings) racing with a bib labeled “Cupid’s Shuffle. In case runners had a chocolate craving, they could have a handful of M&Ms at Candy Curve near mile 7.

Many runners showed their valentine spirit by donning outfits with various shapes of hearts, but one participant got extra cheers as he motored around the winding course—in his tuxedo. Not only did Peter Zink (right) run in the formal attire, but he clutched red-stemmed roses in one hand and a heart-shaped box of chocolates in the other. Let’s hope whomever he was presenting the gifts to at the finish said, “Yes!”


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