Washington, DC

By Brenda Barrera
Fredericksburg, VA
May 20, 2012
For the Washington Running Report

There was much to celebrate at this year’s fifth anniversary of the Marine Corps Marathon Historic Half held in Fredericksburg, VA on May 20, 2012. The event has grown every year and had close to 6,000 finishers, compared to 3,800 from the inaugural 2008 event. For starters, it was a commanding victory for hometown favorite Bert Jacoby who came to the starting line with one goal: to win. And that he did in 1:11:33, almost three minutes ahead of defending champion Wyatt Boyd, from Washington, DC, who finished in 1:14:27. Brandon Dick, 25, from Fredericksburg took the final podium spot with his 1:15:36 finish.

What a far cry from Jacoby’s 2011 race experience when he was the very last person to cross the start line and he raised money for charity for each person he passed.

“This time I was focused,” smiled Jacoby. “Time did not matter; it was all about place.” He stayed at the finish area with his mother who used her iPhone and the MCM Runner Tracking options to follow his sister, Anne. She completed the race in 1:35:27.

Next up for the Jacoby is a move to Charlottesville for graduate school at the end of the summer. “I’m looking forward to training with the group out of Ragged Mountain Running.”

Courtney Chapman, 28, is juggling a heavy load at medical school in Norfolk, VA and yet still able to improve her race times. Chapman is best described as a tough competitor with a wide smile that is easy to spot whether she is clipping along at a fast pace or flying up a hill. And fly she did at the famous hospital hill on her way to a 1:21:56 victory. That is a big leap from her 2010 MCM Historic Half race when she posted a 1:31:10 finish.

Arlington’s Katherine Marden, 31, fresh off last weekend’s Ragnar Relay Cape Cod (“I had the longest leg”) finished in 1:26:44. She was followed by Marine Capt. Erin Demchko, 27, from Dumfries, VA who was pleased with her 1:29:02 finish.

“The hill wasn’t as bad as the hype,” said Demchko, “I had a riot and got a PR!”

Top masters division finishers were Lt. Col. Thomas Blackwell, 41, of Vienna, VA in 1:19:58 and Alexandria’s Stefani Watterson, 42, of Alexandria, VA who crossed the line in 1:33:41.

Mike Collotta, 58, (left) from Washington, DC has been running races for more than two decades and still finding interesting events like this one. “I especially liked the historical parts of the course,” said the DC Road Runners member. “The Marines provided extra inspiration.”

Deanna Cabrey, running for Team Fisher House, was pleased with her finish of 1:41:43. “I surpassed my goal of running a 7:45-8:10 pace,” said the 20-year-old college student. Cabrey started supporting the Fisher House when she was just ten and began giving 10% of her allowance to the charity.

Wedding bells will be ringing soon for John Swift and Sarah Longava (right) from Bristow, VA who crossed the finish line together just under two hours. Swift presented her with an engagement ring. And she said, “Yes!”

NBC’s “Biggest Loser” is a reality show about overweight contestants trying to lose weight and also adopt a healthy lifestyle. It has inspired not only contestants and viewers, but also First Lady Michelle Obama.

A highlight for many runners was to share the field with two familiar faces from the hit show. Contestant Lauren Lee, 27, from Poolesville MD, (right) sporting her yellow “Biggest Loser” tank top finished in 2:14:33 and the TV show’s host, Alison Sweeney, wearing bib#1,not only had duties firing the starting pistol but jumped in and ran 2:05:30.

“The show really makes you believe in the human spirit and overcoming whatever your obstacles,” said Sweeney who looked unfazed and fresh after the uphill finish. “I never would have dreamed of doing this [half marathon] before the Biggest Loser,” smiled the host. As with many finishers she was pleased that she had beaten her projected time.

 

New Course Records Set in Semper Fred 5K

Kenyan Reuben Mwei, 26, living in Lithia Springs, GA  is planning on racing the MCM 10K this fall and wanted to check out the “Marine Corps” experience. Not familiar with the course, Mwei picked a good competitor to tuck behind, defending champion Jordan Zwick.

“I was off my goal of 14 minutes,” said Mwei, an Academic All-American at Adams State. He crossed the finish line in 15:27, beating the 2010 course record of 15:59. Arlington’s Zwick, 25, was anxious to stretch out his legs having driven 11 hours from Rochester, NY the night prior. He finished with an impressive 15:36. Stephen Harrison, 23, from Fredericksburg was third in 16:19.

Reigning women’s champion Molly Roohi should probably listen to her coach, or maybe not. The advice for this day was not to race but Roohi did it anyway. It paid off as she clocked 19:03, setting a new course record (old course record 19:37 from 2009) and knocking 38 seconds off her 2011 time. Masters standouts Michelle Dolby, 44, from Fredericksburg finished next in 20:57 and Alexandria’s Kristin McCann, 40, took third place in 21:49.

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By Brenda Barrera
Washington, DC
October 30, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Charles Ware wins it all in a near Olympic-class 2:19:16.

What a weekend with so many elements of drama. A rare fall storm hit the mid-Atlantic on Saturday bringing not only rain, but hail, sleet, slush, and snow. On Sunday, however, the skies cleared in time for the 36th Marine Corps Marathon where Army 1st Lt. Charles “Chad” Ware from Wheeling, IL won in an impressive 2:19:16 and Tezata Dengera, from Ellicott City, MD by way of Turkey, claimed the women’s title in 2:45:28.

With early morning temperatures hovering in the mid 30s and a slight breeze kicking up, there was nary a trace of the storm from the prior day except for a few slick spots on the roads and muddy fields as 20,895 runners completed ‘The People’s Marathon’ under bright sunshine and blue skies.

“Cold weather is a good thing for me,” smiled Ware, 27, as he soaked in his victory after giving thanks by looking upward, giving the number one sign and breaking the finish line tape.

A head taller than most of the lead runners, the lanky Midwesterner was easy to spot during the race. “I felt good through the early hills,” he said, then lost a little ground at mile 13 before he made his move at mile 19 to take the lead for the rest of the race.

When asked, Ware claimed he was not aiming for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials standard time of 2:19:00, but he knew it was within his grasp.

“If I kept on 5:18s [per mile], I knew I could get it,” he acknowledged. By the last couple of miles, however, he slowed a bit, narrowly missing the qualifying standard by 16 seconds.

Brushing off that topic, Ware emphasized the honor to run for the All-Army Team. “It’s a privilege to be able to represent the Army and wear the Army singlet,” he said. An Army Reservist, he will be going on active duty this January.

While most of Ware’s competition was either dropped or dropped out, stalwart Michael Wardian, who gives his all whether the distance is a 5K, 42K, or 100K, was trying to reel in the leader.

“I saw him at Crystal City and thought that wasn’t too far,” remarked Wardian who thought he might be able to catch Ware but was not able to do so. The Arlington running icon took the runner-up spot three minutes later in 2:23:46. Representing the Coast Guard, Patrick Fernandez, 24, from Alexandria finished next in 2:26:37.

Finishing in the top ten was Adam Condit, (left) a familiar runner on the local scene who recently moved to Cedar Rapids, IA. Condit ran the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon two weeks ago finishing in 2:27:20. At this race he ran 2:29:28 to clinch 5th place.

The women’s competition as not decided until after the 35K mark where the trio of Tezata Dengera (217), Emily Shertzer (146), and Getachew Shiferaw(3) all went through in 2:16:44 battling for top honors. It was after that mark when Dengera and Shertzer pulled away from Shiferaw, making it a two-woman race to the finish. Dengera prevailed to cross the finish line 27 seconds ahead of her competition, 2:45:28 to 2:45:55.

In photo race winner Dengera (217) races in a tight pack through Georgetown early in the race.

Two weeks ago Dengera ran the Under Armour Baltimore Marathon finishing 7th among the women in 2:37:52. So it is understandable that, while her time was a bit slower, capturing the victory was certainly sweet.

Shertzer, 31, from Jonestown, PA and representing the Air Force, made her marathon début this past May at the National Guard/Lincoln Marathon. On Sunday, she crushed her May début time (2:54:20) with her 2:45:55 runner-up finish and also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. Shiferaw, 27, from Ellicott City, MD (ETH) took the final podium spot with her 2:47:30.

Arlington’s Lindsay Wilkins, 33, cracked the top 10 with her 6th place finish in 2:53:28 after running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon two weeks ago where she posted a 2:50:41.

Top wheelchair finishers in the rim category were Jacqui Kapinowski, 48, from Point Pleasant NJ in 2:05:46 and David Swope, 45, New Windsor MD in 2:12:12. The wheelchair crank field boasted almost 100 competitors. Leading the way in this division were Scot Seiss, 44, from Ricky Ridge, MD who crossed the finish 1:28:41 and Erica Davis, 30, from Carlsbad, CA who was the first woman in 2:13:52.

Most runners did not recognize a participant without his trademark wide-rim black glasses, but TV host and comedian Drew Carey, 53, finished his first marathon in 4:37:11. Carey finished 555th among the 1,170 competitors in the 50-54 age group.

Also among the marathon finishers . . .

Chas Bellew, 27, from Washington, DC who ran at Princeton decided to enter this race in 2010 and posted a 3:00:53 finish. He improved this year, bringing his time down quite a bit to 2:38:53.

Wearing bib #101, two-time Marine Corps Marathon champion Darrell General (1995, 1997), who is 45, ran a 2:48:06, placing third in his age group and 72nd overall. “My legs never loosened up,” he said afterward.

Kaitlin Koplin, 27, (left) from Washington, DC tried hard to break 3 hours but had a hard time warming up. She had to settle for 3:00:13. “I was still cold even at mile 8,” she said.

Speaking of cold, Maria Kozloski, 46, (right) from Bethesda, MD was all smiles at the finish but laughed as she recalled the chills earlier in the morning, “My teeth couldn’t stop chattering at the start.” Kozloski’s 3:08:54 was good enough for a second place in her age division.  She has now completed 20 marathons.

Caroline Bauer, 28, from Columbia, MD credits the group runs with the Howard County Striders for helping her finish in 3:17:35.

Among the many runners who raced in a costume was Sean Kelly, 25, from Annapolis MD. Here is a clue to his race day outfit: What is black and white and waddles? Yup, he donned a penguin suit and finished the race in 4:20:31. Kelly said the comments along the route included: “Go Penguin!” “Great, now I’m getting beat by a penguin!” and “Go Happy Feet!”

Araceli Uranga, 40, from Vienna, VA was dressed in pink from head to toe, including a tutu and even ran with a wand. Her time was 3:50:25.

At the runner finish area, Matt Stevenson, 40, from Arlington was happy to get off his feet and rested with his back against a fence, soaking up a little sun after finishing his 6th Marine Corps Marathon in 4:34:29.

The MCM 10K had 6,867 finishers and a new course record. Reuben Mwei, 25, from Acworth, GA handily won in 30:37, smashing the former record of 32:52 (Wyatt Boyd, 2009). Brian Dumm, 28, from Colorado Springs, CO finished next in 32:52 followed by the top local, Luke Belford, 29, from Nottingham, MD who finished the race in 33:13.

In the women’s 10K competition, Navy Lt. Amanda Rice, 27, from North Bethesda, MD, cruised to a 36:30 win. Rice said in an E-mail that being a member of the Armed Forces made the experience even more rewarding. Showing her competitive side, Rice admitted to adjusting her game plan mid-race from not only winning the women’s title, but seeing how many men she could beat. Her overall place was 14th and she beat 2,708 men. Jennifer Perrottet, 31, from San Marcos, CA took the runner-up spot in 39:22 and was followed by the top local Christine Rehwald, 32, from Arlington who crossed the line under 40 minutes with her 39:54 finish.

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