By Dickson Mercer
Washington, DC
May 15, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Name a local road race and Wilson Komen has probably won it. In 2005 and 2006, not long after the Eldoret, Kenya native moved to Washington, DC, the now 33-year-old runner more or less ruled the local roads. After winning the Capitol Hill Classic, though, Komen admitted that today’s race was his first taste of victory in quite some time.

“I just wanted to get a race in and see how I could do,” Komen said shortly before the awards ceremony. “I’m happy with it. It’s been awhile since I won a race.”

Komen won the Capitol Hill Classic, a challenging 10K race that starts and finishes at Stanton Park, at 5th and C streets in northeast Washington, DC, on a sunny, slightly humid morning in 32:24. Garrett Ash, 27 from Connecticut took second in 33:29. He then cruised to victory in the 3K, held about two hours after the 10K in 10:14.

This year’s Capitol Hill Classic, which offers a 10K, 3K, and fun run on historic Capitol Hill, had about 3,000 participants who traveled to the event from more than 20 states.

Kumsa Eticha, 27, of Washington, DC took third in 33:49, a day after placing second in the We’ve Got Your Back 5K in Reston, VA.

Local ace Maggie Infeld, 25, of Washington, DC was the top female, running 36:37 to hold off Alexandria, VA’s Lisa Thomas, 35, by 29 seconds. Kristi Markowicz, 41, of Arlington, VA took third in 38:24.

Top finishers received prize money of $200, $150, and $100, respectively. The top male masters finisher was DC resident Rodney Loeppky, running 35:51to place fifth overall. Markowicz was the top female masters finisher in matching her time that earned her second place in the Winter Runner Rankings.

Although Komen is losing track of the exact number, the Georgetown Running Company employee and Reebok-sponsored runner guesses he has run at least 30 marathons. In peak form, he ran 2:18:26, good for 14th place at the 2006 Boston Marathon. That same year, he placed third at the hilly Under Armour Baltimore Marathon in 2:17:06. More recently, Komen, who has dealt with hamstring problems in recent years, took third at the SunTrust National Marathon in 2:31:00.

“I’m going to pick it up now, just see what I can I do,” Komen said.

Sheika Brown, 29, of Frederick, MD finished 391st out of almost 1,000 female finishers in 58:29. She ran the Frederick Half Marathon on May 7 but said she had always wanted to run the Capitol Hill Classic.

Steve Coles, on the other hand, had run the race before. In 2000 the 53-year-old Frederick resident said he took up running as an incentive to quit smoking cigarettes. Eleven years later, Coles said he no longer smokes, and mixes the Capitol Hill Classic in with two marathons and several 10Ks he races every year. The course, he said, passes by the DC native’s former rival high school, Eastern Senior.

The Capitol Hill Classic was founded 32 years ago. Proceeds from the nonprofit race benefit Capitol Hill Cluster, a public school with three campuses: the Peabody Early Childhood Center, Watkins Elementary, and Stuart-Hobson Middle School.

Traditionally the race has started at 8:30 a.m., race director Don Montuori said. Due to events related to National Police Week, this year’s race started an hour earlier so Independence Avenue would not be blocked to traffic after 9:00 a.m. Also, to stay clear of Independence Avenue, the 3K course was rerouted on race day (and measured at 2 miles by the police patrol car).

After directing the race for his sixth year, Montouri, a runner and Capitol Hill resident, said the cost for putting on the Capitol Hill Classic has been on the rise since 2002. Combined fees to Metropolitan Police and the city have quadrupled since then to about $33,000, which used to be roughly equivalent to the amount that the race would raise for Capitol Hill Cluster.

“It’s a question for the PTA next year to decide whether we can afford to have it,” Montouri said.

The course, which takes runners along Massachusetts Avenue, around Lincoln Park and down to East Capitol Street before sending runners back for a loop around the U.S. Capitol, has not changed much since the event was founded, Montouri said. Race volunteer Mike Soderman called it a “runner’s course.” Komen, who ran the last four miles alone, described it as a “little challenging.”

The course record for men is 30:38, set by Gurmessa Kumsa in 2006. The women’s course record is 35:27, run by Heather Hanscom in 2002.

Afterward, an awards ceremony was held in Stanton Park. In front of the statue of American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, mats were laid out in the grass and many runners cooled down with a yoga session.

It would be a shame to lose this longest-running 10K race in the District of Columbia. This one has grown very nicely, and has become more than just a neighborhood event, attracting runners from all over the region as well as 27 different states. As typical of races today, this one included a wide range of ages from toddler to octogenarians; the sexes tip back and forth for majority participation, with women today holding the edge.


                               Awards Listing
                    Age Group Awards Based on Net Times
Place Name                    Ag City                  Time    
===== ======================= == ===================== ======= 
    1 Wilson Komen            33 Washington DC           32:24 
    2 Garrett Ash             27 Manchester CT           33:29 
    3 Kumsa Ethicha           27 Washington DC           33:49 
Place Name                    Ag City                  Time    
===== ======================= == ===================== ======= 
    1 Maggie Infeld           25 Washington DC           36:37 
    2 Lisa Thomas             35 Alexandria VA           37:06 
    3 Kristi Markowicz        41 Arlington VA            38:24 

    1 Ava Cavanaugh            8 Washington DC           51:30 

    1 Jackson Todd            12 Washington DC           48:47 

    1 Taylor Knibb            13 Washington DC           47:08 

    1 Thomas Smyth            18 Washington DC           40:03 

    1 Margaret Haley          18 Usaf Academy CO         45:02 

    1 Alexander Wepsala       23 Washington DC           39:01 

    1 Anna Novick             22 Hayama Machi            39:19 

    1 Matt Shechtman          26 Atlanta GA              36:11 

    1 Susan Hendrick          25 Washington DC           38:45 

    1 Daniel Yi               30 Alexandria VA           36:39 

    1 Laura Ramos             32 Silver Spring MD        40:59 

    1 Andrew Lipscomb         36 Alexandria VA           36:43

Photo below: Arrington Peterson (#2205) and Mary Robison (#2439), both 12, hold hands to finish the 2-mile race in 16:35.


By James Moreland
Washington, DC
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.



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