Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 速 ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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COVER PHOTO : TAMARA DONOHUE greets runners at the Race to Rid SIDS in Herndon. The race is in memory of her son Jack and Brody King and raises money for SIDS reasearch at the University of Virginia Research Hospital. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY JIMMY DALY
LETTERS / CONTRIBUTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 OFF THE BEATEN PATH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 MILITARY RUNNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 RUNNER SAFETY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 ORGANIZING A MEMORIAL RACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 .US ROAD RACE SPECIAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 SHARING THE TRAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 GETTING THERE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 USMCM: EYE ON ARLINGTON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 USMCM: RUNNING THE BOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 RACE CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 OFFICIALLY ENJOYING RUNNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 TRANSFER STUDENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 CELEBRATE RUNNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
STARTS ON PAGE 27 OFFICIAL GUIDE WELCOME THANK YOU COURSE MAP EXPO SCHEDULE
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NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2013
Publisher Kathy Dalby RunWashington LLC Editor in Chief Charlie Ban email@example.com Senior Editor Dickson Mercer firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE / production AZER CREATIVE www.azercreative.com Sales Director Denise Farley email@example.com 703-855-8145 Customer Service firstname.lastname@example.org branding ORANGEHAT LLC The entire contents of RunWashington are copyright ©2013 by RunWashington, LLC. All rights reserved, and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, results, or other materials are welcome but are not returnable and are preferred via electronic communication to charlie@ runwashington.com. Please inform yourself of applicable copyright and privacy laws before submitting for publication; if we decide to publish your submitted material we conduct no such checks and you alone will ultimately be responsible for any violations of any laws including infringement and copyright. Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, advertiser, or sponsors. Back issues are available for $5.00 for each copy to cover postage and handling. RunWashington is published five times yearly by RunWashington, 4544 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Copies are mailed to subscribers and area businesses and events. Presorted Standard Postage, Permit 144, paid at Waldorf, MD. Postmaster: Send address changes to RunWashington 4544 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Be advised that running is a strenuous sport and you should seek the guidance of a medical professional before beginning an exercise regimen.
This fall has been good for our running community. The Marine Corps Marathon is about to go off, having sold out its general registration period faster than all but six runners took to finish the race in 2012. Hundreds, if not thousands, will be making it their first marathon, hopefully all enjoying themselves enough to stick with the sport. We have a local runner, Patrick Fernandez, has a great shot to challenge for the title (page 11). Two local journalists who have put their experience with the race together into a beautiful picture book, the first of what I hope will be many looks at iconic races throughout the country, and the world (page 44). The .US Road Racing Championships is bringing the top American elite runners to Alexandria for the next three years, allowing us to line up alongside them for a great 12k race through Old Town. Though arguments whether elite runners have any impact on the general running population have been largely anecdotal, I strongly suspect runners will come away from watching or running this race with a lot of anecdotes about being inspired by the performances they saw there. The United States has some outstanding distance runners, and we have an opportunity to see many of them go to work right here. George Washington University’s decision to reintroduce varsity track teams after decades without them is hard to over-celebrate. In an age which colleges routinely make shortsighted decisions to cut track teams, especially men’s, when challenged with budget or Title IX considerations, the Colonials are making a bold move to attract talented prospective studentathletes. A varsity track team will also allow their current student athletes already running cross country to travel to more track meets than they were allowed as a club team and participate in the NCAA Championships. Thanks to the federal government shutdown’s effect on the National Parks Service event permits, we have two extra races — the Run! Geek! Run! 8k and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon — that will make November even more chock-full of great opportunities to put your fitness to the test. See you out there,
@runwashington RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY ISLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 3
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Boston Benny (June/July 2013) I thought you guys did a great job: text and layout. I can’t seem to find a hard copy. I looked at R&J Sports last week but didn’t see it. Can you give me tips? Thanks, Ben Beach, Bethesda, Md.
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Ben, We should have back issues of our digital editions online now that we have upgraded our website, which will also have a list of places to which copies of the magazine are delivered. - Charlie
The Postal Meet (August/September/October 2013) Thanks for such a great story. What a testament to Mike’s devotion to the sport and the kids. You’re the best!! Karen Agostinella, Bethel Park, Pa.
Kathleen Amos (Running to Remember) recently embarked on a career as a professional photographer. She is a Reston native and got her start running by participating in the Tim Susco 8k, in memory of her high school sweetheart. Events like that race are helping motivate her to run. Tom Brennan (Celebrate Running) is the founder and head coach of the MCRRC Speed Development Program going into its 13th year. He enjoys family and event photography. To see more of his work visit TomBrennanPhoto.com. Find him on Twitter @ RunCoachTom. Katie Bolton (Voting with their Feet) ran her first 5k in high school. She finished 12 minutes behind the star of the cross country team but she beat two of her friends, so she kept running. She’s not much faster today but she can run a lot farther. She once wrote a college paper about Dean Karnazes. It was for a gender studies class. She stands by it. Katie lives, works, and runs in Washington, D.C. Joanna Russo (Off the Beaten Path) is the assistant manager at Pacers Running Stores’ Logan Circle location and the advertising and marketing assistant for RunWashington magazine. I will add another sentence or two once she gets back to me with more. I will add another sentence or two once she gets back to me with more. Peter Silverman (Running to Remember) is a freelance filmmaker and photographer who has traveled internationally on assignment for National Geographic. He holds the Chapman University 8k cross country record, and volunteers as an assistant cross country coach at his alma mater, the Georgetown Day School.
Mrs. A (I can never call her or Coach A by their first names), You’re welcome. Being able to tell the story, or assign someone to tell the story, of an environment that built my and many others’ enthusiasm for running is a great benefit of this job, especially seeing how it will ultimately influence runners at Annandale High School. - Charlie Note: Mt. Lebanon once again won the postal meet over Annandale. send letters to the editor, feedback, love letters and hate mail to email@example.com
RunWashington regrets the following errors in its August/ September/October 2013 issue: Page 15- In the table “coaches panel,” Chris Pellegrini was incorrectly associated with West Potomac High School. He coaches at West Springfield High School. Gonzaga College High School was incorrectly referred to as “Gonzaga Prep” Page 41- The photo on refers to Polly Murray. Her correct name is Polly Morgan. In the article, Danny Morgan is incorrectly referred to as Tommy. Page 57- The table of local historical results lists Alisa Harms as representing Jefferson High School at the Footlocker Cross Country Championships in 1982, as stated in archived results. Both the results and the table are incorrect, the runner was Alisa Harvey.
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By joanna russo
went to the woods to feed my soul; to gain back energy drained by a fast-paced life; to feel something other than cement beneath my feet. I found what I was looking for at Greenbelt Park. It was a massage for the senses, an elixir for the mind, a balm for the body. Greenbelt Park offers the sights of tall trees on a hot summer day, beams of sunlight straight off a prayer card and melodies of birds for my ears only. It’s not for those seeking an overly technical and rugged trail experience, but it fills a need to experience the road less traveled with less traveling. To most city dwellers, Greenbelt is just the northern end of the Green Line. The area has the distinction of being one of three New Deal-era planned communities, intended to be self-sustaining and affordable. The original town, commonly known as “Old Greenbelt” these days, boasts a network of paved paths connecting residents to neighborhoods and playgrounds and a downtown area of art deco-styled restaurants, a grocery store and even a movie theater. The vast acreage of “green” belting the town was purchased by the National Park Service in the 1950s and renamed Greenbelt Park. Although this park is nestled between two major highways and surrounded by high-rise buildings and business complexes, it offers a peaceful respite from city life. Ten minutes up the Baltimore Washington Parkway, the sounds of the District melt into the sweet soundtrack of summers in my youth. Leaves swaying with a gentle breeze, birds chirping from their high perches and a chorus of cicadas hidden in the landscape. I chose the Sweetgum parking lot and started my run along the white-blazed Azalea trail. Dappled sunlight on the forest floor reveals a mixed growth of grasses and ferns, nettles, wildflowers and berry bushes. The designated Azalea nature walk trail has rocky patches and is littered with roots and branches. Different stations of a fitness course dot the side of the trail. Since its purchase of Greenbelt Park, the National Park Service has been working to restore density and balance. The efforts of the Park Service are evident in the evergreen and deciduous cultivation of the park. As I continue, I meet up with the yellowblazed Perimeter trail. Around a bend, I encounter my first other runners of the day, two young women from Washington, D.C.. Erica Baca grew up in Old Greenbelt and although her travels took her around the world, she ended up in the District and still finds peace hidden in the Greenbelt woods.
“Like every good D.C. resident,” she said, “I love Rock Creek and the C&O, but sometimes I don’t want to see every runner I’ve ever known out in Rock Creek and I don’t want to hear the bell of yet another biker passing on my left. I’d like to just run and enjoy the woods.” Erica’s words strike at the very heart of my own feelings. Cyclists use the park’s paved bike path but are prohibited from the trails. The Prince George’s Running Club meets in the park on Saturday mornings at 8, but Erica and Audrey are the only other runners I encounter during my run. Audrey likes the peace and quiet. “It’s a short drive and a nice change of pace from D.C. options,” she said. “You can leave the city without committing to a whole day of travel and trails.” I leave Audrey and Erica and head uphill to see where the trail takes me. Erica mentioned a smaller park called Greenbelt Lake, which connects to Greenbelt Park via an old telegraph road on the park’s perimeter. I stay on the trail to Good Luck Road. The low rumble of thunder threatens in the distance. But the sun shines, the breeze blows, the birds twitter. Thunder turns out to be the highway. I turn onto the sidewalk of Hanover Parkway until Greenbelt Road, enter into a neighborhood trail off Lakecrest Road that takes me to Greenbelt Lake, and immediately I recognize that I have stumbled across another Greenbelt gem. The lake is 1.25 miles around, with a wide crushed gravel path begging for mile repeats. I’m already picturing my next workout in this setting as I return to the park. Back at the Sweetgum parking lot, I take advantage of a large field to run some strides and drills. An empty playground with swings sits behind the bathroom and water fountain. Even in these woods, with their sense of remoteness, suburbia lingers. I return to my car and start back to D.C., energized. The uphills were just long enough to make me feel challenged and the downhills were gentle on the knees. My own meandering route took me on several of the park’s marked trails. Shorter runs in the three- to four-mile range include the Blueberry (blazed in blue) and Azalea (blazed in white) trails. For a sixmile route, try the Perimeter Trail (blazed in yellow) or the Edmonton Road Trail (paved). The longest marked path is the Good Luck Road path, which is about eight miles. Next time the digital life encroaches upon your peace, toss your sneakers in the car and head down Route 295 or Route 201 to Greenbelt Park. Follow the signs to the area’s best-kept n secret. There will always be room for you. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 7
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PATRICK FERNANDEZ is out to an early lead on his way to winning the 2013 Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. CAPITAL AREA RUNNERS PHOTO BY CHERYL YOUNG
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Throughout my interview with Patrick I felt like I was taking a look into the life of a rare type of human. A breed of human that is undeterred by discomfort and challenge and is willing to put in whatever work is necessary to achieve a goal. Then Patrick told me about a poem he had written to describe this breed of human known as “The Athlete.” His words are below and through his words I think you will understand who Patrick Fernandez “The Athlete” truly is.
THE ATHLETE BY PA T RIC K FERN A N D EZ
BY RACHEL BECKMANN
t’s frustrating when people attribute competitive athletes’ success to natural ability. Anyone who dabbles in competitive endurance sports knows natural ability will only take you so far. The mind and the heart separate the good from the truly great. In every elite athlete there is a visible intensity with which they pursue nearly everything they do. That describes Patrick Fernandez, an officer in the United States Coast Guard stationed in the National Capital region and one of the military’s top distance runners. I understand why he is a truly great runner. He finds inspiration all around him — what would seem an obstacle is to him a welcome challenge and he sees every day as an opportunity for self improvement. With this approach, I don’t think anything will stop him from achieving his lofty goals in running, in the military and in life. One of which is the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. Later, a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying time in the marathon (sub-2:18). Patrick finds inspiration and motivation to fuel his athletic pursuits through his day-to-day experiences and in the people that surround him. His grandfather was a competitive distance runner. In grade school a gym teacher noticed
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running distances came somewhat easily to Pat. With his grandfather’s influence and encouragement from his gym teacher, Patrick competed in his first official running race in third grade. From there the love and passion for running only grew. Patrick ran on his high school’s first cross country team to make the California state meet, then on the track and cross country teams at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Though he was a successful runner through high school and college, it wasn’t until after college, when most athletes’ interest in training wanes, that Patrick really found his stride. As an active duty Coast Guardsman, Patrick faces a bombardment of obstacles to training. Facing an inconsistent sleep schedule, and piecewise training, he saw training while at sea as keeping him grounded. Port calls were opportunities to experience exotic locations in a way others could not. From hours in a metal box running on a treadmill, the ship rolling with the sea, to climbs up Mount Ballyhoo in Dutch Harbor overlooking the snowcapped peaks of the Aleutian islands. He had one of his breakthrough
The Athlete indeed is a breed that is rare, His lungs need much more than a mere mortal’s air; He’ll inhale his Dreams, and exhale the Impossible, To suffocate Doubt, and surmount every obstacle. He cannot subsist on just bland food and drink, His body needs more to be pushed to the brink; Victory his prey, which he stalks in life’s jungle, He feeds on great feats, to ensure Failure crumbles. His muscles, though strong, cannot fully contract, Unless he has in him a reason to act; With Hope as his weight, he will strengthen his soul, To lift all that’s daunting, and reach for his goal. It isn’t just blood flowing deep in his veins, His heart needs a means to erode what constrains; Belief mixed with Grit are pumped into each limb, To ignite both his Drive and Desire to win. His habitat more than some comfort-filled cage, His sheer Will alone needs a much larger stage; The whole world his book, where he writes his own chapters, To publish his Courage and show what he’s mastered. Though his body may slumber, his mind never rests, Preparing itself for a new day of tests; And when the sun rises, so too does his Pain, Which he gladly endures, to lend History his name. So should you encounter this rare, untamed breed, You’ll know why he suffers, you’ll know why he bleeds; It’s more than just proving how strong or how swift, It’s to cast off life’s limits, and unleash life’s Gifts!
performances during his first attempt at the Marine Corps Marathon. He set a challenging goal of finishing in the top 10 in under 2:30, but he was weighed down by thoughts that the goal was too ambitious. Instead of letting doubt and negativity take over, Pat found the motivation he needed during a training run in Washington D.C. Halfway through a 20-mile run, he stopped to read the granite monoliths surrounding the Theodore Roosevelt Island memorial. On the tablet titled Manhood was the quote “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” While he may have heard these words in the past, reading them at that moment was exactly the reminder Patrick needed that the only route to greatness involved facing his self doubt head on. He stepped up to the starting line of his first marathon reciting Roosevelt’s words in his mind. Patrick went on to wipe away any bit of reservation he had about his ability to race 26.2 miles. He ran his way into third place in 2:26, surpassing what he earlier thought was too ambitious a goal. To concisely explain his feelings toward competitive running Pat directed me toward a quote from the book Again to Carthage, by
John L. Parker, Jr. He felt it perfectly described why he loves competitive running and why he eagerly takes on the hardships of training. “When you’re a competitive runner in training you are constantly in a process of ascending...It’s not something most human beings would give a moment of consideration to, that it is actually possible to be living for years in a state of constant betterment. To consider that you are better today than you were yesterday or a year ago, and that you will be better still tomorrow or next week... That if you’re doing it right you are an organism constantly evolving toward some agreed-upon approximation of excellence.” The human body and mind have boundless capabilities. With hard work and self discipline anything is possible. The mindset drive’s Patrick’s intensive training and it is why he has continued to improve as a runner. His next goal is an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon, sub 2:18. He has since joined the Capital Area Runners and is coached by George Buckheit, leading to a remarkable year, including victory at the Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, Va. in 1:11 and the � Navy-Air Force Half Marathon.
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by DICKSON MERCER
She took to running for its simplicity. One foot in front of the other. No need for a gym membership. Plenty of bike paths and trails. With a goal of staying in shape, she signed up for a 5k. One of her favorite loops went by Arlington’s Marine Corps War Memorial (or Iwo Jima Memorial). She typically ran through the dark of early morning by herself, but she was hardly ever alone on the path.
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But this morning, over her headphones, she could clearly hear someone approaching from behind. A passing runner? Just as she sensed something was off, a man grabbed her around her waist and pulled her to the side of the path. What happened next probably only lasted a few seconds, though it “seemed like an eternity,” the runner said. She fought back, got herself loose, yelled out for help. When he ran away, she ran in the opposite direction. She asked someone to borrow their cell phone and called the police. But the report was difficult to file, because she didn’t get a good look at her attacker. That day on the path, as a result of the attack, she met another runner who invited her to join a twice-a-week morning running group. Several days later, still shaken from what happened, she returned to running by joining her new friend for her first group run. These days, she rarely runs alone and always carries a cell phone. Runners coming up behind her would cause her body to recoil. A couple years later, on one hand, she thinks about the incident less and less. On the other, she thinks about how to prevent another one from happening every time she laces up her shoes. The fact is, female runners face another layer of risk on local paths, roads, and trails to which most men - while not free from - give little thought. “That’s the way of things,” she said. “I don’t have to like it. I resent it. But because I am a woman I do have to have this extra check list.” She recalled how the officer who took her report on the trail that day described what had happened to her as “a crime of opportunity.” Master Police Officer J.T. Frey, who has been with Fairfax County Police Department’s West Springfield District Station for 25 years, described attacks on runners, cyclists, and walkers the same way. The department’s safety tips incorporated into its trail safety education effort stress modifying behavior to take the opportunity away. “If you can,” he said, “you shouldn’t go out on the trails by yourself after dark. … Two are always better than one.” Be aware of your surroundings, he said. Carry a cell phone with 911 programmed into it, he added, but don’t allow the phone
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to distract you, either. Report any suspicious activity. Let someone know how long you will be going out for. If headphones are important to you, consider using only one ear bud. Area police reports show attacks on “joggers” happen less frequently than they do to people out walking, be it for exercise or transportation. But going back through a year’s worth of media reports and crime summaries in Washington, D.C., in Alexandria City, and in Montgomery, Fairfax, and Arlington counties revealed reported assaults on runners happen at least once per month. A little more than a year ago, a 21-year-old female stopped her run to allow deer to cross the Capital Crescent Trail, a path connecting Georgetown and Silver Spring, between MacArthur Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue. It was 7 p.m. Next thing she knew, she woke up on the ground in the woods, regaining consciousness after being struck on the head. After the incident, the coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail, an all-volunteer organization, issued a statement noting it was “saddened and disturbed” by the assault and other attacks that had occurred in previous months. With 20,000 people using the trail every week, “the trail remains remarkably safe,” the Coalition wrote. And while police were increasing patrols, the Coalition urged all trail users to take precaution. “Don’t give the troublemakers the opportunity they’re looking for.”
On Edge In early September, when police identified a local man who had been stabbed to death in Rock Creek Park, reports in the news got right to the point. This was not “a jogger, a cyclist, or someone working out.” So far this year, the only perpetrators of attacks on runners in Rock Creek Park, as reported late last month, have been owls. Still, there are the reports of sexual assaults and rapes in years past. There is the ghost of Chandra Levy, and the harrowing testimony of Christy Wiegand - told in D.C. Superior Court in 2010 - of fending off Ingmar Guandique, Levy’s convicted killer. By now, a whole list of safety tips are ingrained in runners’ minds as they run through the roads and trails of the nearly 3,000-acre park bisecting northwest Washington, D.C., and throughout the region. Don’t run at night. Don’t run alone. Don’t wear headphones. Carry a cell
phone. Carry identification. Know your surroundings. Avoid the most isolated areas. Celia Riley typically runs alone and in the early morning through Rock Creek Park and said she’s comforted by seeing another runner every few minutes. She runs at an hour when her visibility is good and wears a bracelet with identification. For weekend long runs, she takes a phone and Metro card, in case she injured herself. Recently, though, Riley strayed from her routine, heading into Rock Creek Park on a Saturday night, after the park had closed for the day. She knew right away she’d made a mistake. Though armed with a headlamp and pepper spray, Riley felt scared and unsafe, fixated on the possibility of an attack. She wrote on her blog, “All the alerts and reminders I see on news feeds and Twitter for runners to be cautious flashed through my mind and I thought, ‘I’m going to be another headline.’” Riley’s only run-ins that night were with deer. But she learned her lesson, she said, and won’t be putting herself in a similar situation anytime soon.
Avoiding Harm Police reports and press releases from the past year describe “joggers” being fondled, grabbed at, shoved, swung at, and knocked down. These attacks occur on bike paths, in quiet neighborhoods, and on busy streets. The vast majority of these incidents involve male perpetrators and female victims, but there are exceptions (see sidebar). Male runners, for safety reasons, might prefer sharing a path with bikes to a road with cars. Women, on the other hand, tend to view paths, particularly in wooded areas, as more of a safety risk. Counterintuitively, another common safety tip, to wear bright or reflective clothing, can run at odds with the preference of some female runners to keep a lower profile. When she trains in the early morning, Meghan Ridgley said she is most comfortable running loops “over and over again” near her home where she knows the traffic patterns and her safety zones. She said wearing bright clothing would only add visibility to her routine, adding, “I am always in an area where I can run to safety if need be.” Shawn McIntosh, of Catonsville, Md., works for the American Public Health Association, through which she supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’
Community Transformation Grants program. Nationwide, there are many areas, she said, where it is not safe to be physically active due to issues like crumbling sidewalks or bad lighting. And these are some of the issues that McIntosh is trying to address through the Community Transformation Grants program, which provides funding to a variety of initiatives aimed at creating healthier communities. But while pedestrian paths lower the chances of being struck by a vehicle, McIntosh, who recently returned to running after a long break and is training for a half marathon, prefers not to run on them by herself, or with her typical training partner: her four-year-old in a stroller. In these instances, she would rather stick to runs in her neighborhood - like Ridgely, close to home. And while time can erase fear stemming from an attack, routines are permanently altered. Thirteen years ago, Rebecca Samson, then a teenager living in Ellicott City, Md., was running one evening through a neighborhood close to her home. Suddenly, a car pulled up beside her and slowed down, and the driver, a male, asked her if she wanted to get in. When Samson turned down his request, he aimed the car at her, she said. She took off running as fast as she could, while the car turned around and sped off. After that, Samson started carrying mace while she ran. She started varying her routes and the time of day she did her runs. The South Riding, Va., resident and twotime marathoner no longer carries mace. But she does prefer to do her early-morning runs with friends. If she runs alone, she wears a reflective vest so she can be seen and a headlamp so she can see others. She lets her husband know her route, and keeps a tag on her shoe with contact information. Running brings Samson joy. A run-in with a creep, on the other hand, illuminated the need to be careful. Same for Meg Ashton, of Quantico, who likes to drive up to Lake Ridge, Va., to do her long runs. Her parents live near there, she said, and don’t mind watching her 9-monthold son while she trains. This spring, Ashton was putting in a 16-miler, mostly on a path running along Prince Williams Parkway, before the Marine Corps Historic Half. At a certain point, she noticed a man in a car passing her four or five times, she said,
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every time he had a way to turn around. “The next time I noticed him,” she added, “he had pulled off to the side of the road and parked” about 100 yards away from her. Ever since her son was born, Ashton started carrying a phone with her when she ran: mostly in case she needed to be reached in the event of an emergency, not in the event she was in one herself. She held the phone up to her ear, as if she was about to make a call, and watched the man drive away. Lacking a license plate number, she did not report the incident. She did, however, finish the run - more uneasy and alert than she’d ever felt. Ashton now makes sure to stick to busy routes and tell her mom or husband where she plans to run.
Fighting Back Laurie Porsch’s self defense teachings stress the importance of avoiding dangerous scenarios. They also stress to not avoid the fact that one can do everything right and still get attacked, she said. The active-duty U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant (she has served two deployments) teaches martial arts - including Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu - at BETA Academy in Washington, D.C. She also teaches selfdefense classes upon request, applying her martial arts training to teaching her students how to fend off an attacker. Porsch’s self defense philosophy is heavily influenced by an essay called “On Violence,” whose author, Sam Harris, puts forth three principals: avoid dangerous people and dangerous places; do not defend your property; respond immediately and escape. “[Attacks] happen really quickly,” she said. “Even though you know you are going to be surprised, know what you are going to do. Know that you won’t freeze up.” If attacked, she said, respond violently and immediately. Focus on the eyes, the throat, the knees - on taking away their ability to see, walk, or breathe. The next step is to run away. “You’re not there to give them an educational beatdown,” she said. “You don’t want to risk it. Your goal is escape.” Reston’s Holly Kearl, a runner and the founder of a nonprofit organization called Stop Street Harassment, points out that
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women are mostly well aware of the best ways to avoid a potential attacker or harasser. Runners are attacked in the middle of the day, too. Every run has its risks. Stop Street Harassment is challenging the catcalls, groping, and assault behavior head on. Being verbally harassed while running which is not something you will find in police reports - was a big influence on Kearl’s decision to make street harassment the focus of her master’s thesis at George Washington University. Back then she lived in Fairfax on Lee Highway. Mostly, she explained, it was honks, whistles, and comments yelled from windows. Another time, in Leesburg, she was chased through a park at dusk, she said. Kearl, whose favorite race distance is 10K, has had fewer problems in Fairfax. What has helped, she said, was that she and her husband bought a home near a track and trails. Some might say trails offer more risks, but Kearl said she prefers them to “men in cars.” While Stop Street Harassment’s aims are global, its partner organization, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, is focused on building a community free from public sexual harassment and assault in Washington, D.C. Julia Strange, the all-volunteer’s staff’s Director of Policy and Programs, said, for runners who encounter harassment, “there is no wrong way to respond.” She added, “you really just have to do a gut check to decide what you are comfortable doing.” In some cases, responding might simply not be safe. But runners who observe other runners being mistreated might be in a better position to step in and say something, Strange said.
Running on Ashton’s frightening encounter on Prince William Parkway has made her more cautious about where and when she trains, but it hasn’t dulled her tenacity. At the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon last month, she ran 3:13, a 16-minute personal best. The runner who was attacked on her run to Iwo Jima? She has been running now for two and a half years, and her weekly training mileage continues to climb. “I knew in my head,” she said, “that if I let this incident really become a big thing, then n maybe I would not run at all.”
This is a collection of reported assaults on runners in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Montgomery, Arlington, and Fairfax counties over the past year. Know of other incidents? Have you been assaulted or harassed while running? Email safety@ runwashington.com and we’ll add it to our online map at www.runwashington.com. Sept. 12, 2012 Alexandria VA. bike path, near Holmes Run PKWY A 38-year-old woman running on an Alexandria bike path at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning was grabbed by a man. She screamed, broke free, and ran away, police said. Oct. 21, 2012 Capital Crescent Trail On October 21, a 21-year-old female was running on the Capital Crescent Trail between MacArthur Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue at 7 p.m. She stopped to allow a group of deer to cross the trail. While stopped, she was struck on the head, lost consciousness, and woke up on the ground in the woods. Nov. 28, 2012 2700 block of N. Greenbrier Street, Arlington, VA. At around 7:45 p.m., a man inappropriately touched a young woman while she was running on the Yorktown High School track. Dec. 7, 2012 Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, VA. Two young women attacked and robbed an 18-year-old woman who was jogging on a Thursday morning at about 11:15 a.m., near the South
Kings Highway/Telegraph Road Entrance. They stole her cell phone and jacket. WJLA reported: “The woman wasn’t doing anything wrong, only something joggers do everyday - wearing ear buds as she ran.” Dec. 11, 2012 Blarney Stone Drive near Omega court, Springfield, VA. A 49-year-old woman was running when a man ran up behind and fondled her. She struck him and he fled. West Springfield Police District were investigating it among 15 assaults incidents they believed to be connected. This was the only one that involved a runner. Jan. 10, 2013 Bren Mar Park, Alexandria, VA. A 57-year-old woman was jogging when a man appeared. He dropped his pants exposing himself. He fled when she called for the police. No suspect description was available. 1400 block of Glebe Road, Arlington, VA. Three males on a jogging trail robbed a male runner of a Global Positioning System watch at gunpoint. At 12:55 p.m., another jogger was threatened by three males, one of whom was wielding a handgun. A short time later, three arrests were made. April 23, 2013 Midsummer Drive, Gaithersburg, MD. A 14-year-old boy jogging on a sidewalk was accosted by a man who tried to pull him toward a white van parked nearby. The man got out of the van as the boy was passing and grabbed his arm. The boy pushed back and fled,
according to police. Described as an attempted kidnapping. June 19, 2013 1500 block of S. Fern ST, Arlington, VA. At 12:55 p.m., according to the police report, a 16 year-old grabbed the buttocks of a woman as she jogged past him. The subject fled the scene on foot and was later taken into custody. June 28, 2013 Hayfield Road approaching Old Telegraph Road, Fairfax County VA. A 15-year-old was out jogging at around 10 p.m. when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. Her mace didn’t work, but she said elbowed him below the chin, broke free, ran home, and reported what had happened. July 29, 2013 Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. According to a police report, two thieves approached a jogger from behind in the 800 block of A Street NE, took “an electronic device” and ran away. This occurred at 12:50 a.m. Sept. 10, 2013 7700 block of Armistead Road, Fairfax County VA. Two women were jogging when an unknown man approached from behind. He inappropriately touched a 39-year-old woman and ran away. Sept. 13, 2013 Montgomery County MD., 1700 block of Poplar Run Drive A 36-year-old woman was knocked down while out jogging at 9:15 p.m. Attacker held her down until he heard her boyfriend approached, then ran away.
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RICHARD BRIGHT and JOANNE SAVOY prepare to run in honor of Lauren Woodall Roady at the Laren’s Run 5k, RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY PETER SILVERMAN
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By CHARLIE BAN
Jeremy Glass wasn’t a runner. He spent his time at Sherwood High playing football. Knee injuries and a few surgeries led to a painkiller addiction, which escalated and eventually killed him in 2008. Now his name greets hundreds at Jeremy’s Run in Olney, Md. every Memorial Day weekend. After five years, it has grown to the point where his mother, Cyndi, can’t bring herself to stop the 5k and 10k races. “I’ve heard from people who train for it, that it means something to their family,” she said. “I thought five years was enough, but we’ll continue with it as long as we have this support.” There are races much like Jeremy’s Run all over the place, remembering different people, supporting different causes, and offering much more than just an organized run. The act of putting on the race allows for some healing on the part of the loved ones who were left behind. “It’s a beautiful thing to do, a memorial race,” said Vivi Cassella, director of the Joe Cassella Foundation, named after her late brother-in-law. “You can turn something negative into something very positive.” Cassella’s eponymous 5k raises money to help pay for local children’s medical expenses, continuing the efforts Joe made in directing races before his death from Mesothelioma in 2009. “It was something he had wanted to keep going,” Vivi said. “After Joe passed away, a small group of us threw around ideas. He was so loved,
we wanted to do something in his memory.” Up in Maryland, Glass was impelled do something with all of the emotions she battled. “It was a way of me coping with my grief, putting this together,” she said. “When you sit back with grief it can eat you alive.” Ronald J. La Fleur agrees. The licensed independent clinical social worker practices in Washington. “If you don’t do something to commemorate loss, then it’s just a loss,” he said. Working to put on a memorial race “helps to move forward in the grieving process. “Grief can be a very solitary process,” he said. “At the end of the day, after the funerals, everyone is left alone with their grief, but coming together brings universality. Other people can appreciate what you’ve been though.” La Fleur said many patients he sees who are suffering loss redirect that into some kind of goal, like running a race. “If you can’t run, you do registration, you volunteer,” La Fleur said. “You’ll be surrounded by people who are empathetic, who can understand what your experiences with that person have been like.” And it’s productive. Jeremy’s Run raises money for drug treatment, education efforts, and a scholarship in Jeremy’s name. “It’s not going to bring him back,” Glass said. “But the race raises money to help kids like Jeremy before it’s too late, and the race ends up being a good opening for parents to talk to their kids about drug abuse.” The race also keeps Jeremy’s friends in her life, coming back to help out at the race or participate.
Help for others Like Glass, Nancy Susco enjoys seeing her son Tim’s friends every year at his race in Reston, and some of his teachers from South Lakes High come out. But she also looks forward to new friends. People who never knew Tim, but share a connection with what claimed him in 2008 — a brain aneurysm. For the family of friends of aneurysm victims and some survivors, people who don’t
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have a race in their names, the Tim Susco 8k becomes their meeting place. “People travel from all over because the race gives them something to look forward to,” she said. “We started it to remember Tim, because running was so important to him, but it’s become more. It’s for anyone who has been affected by an aneurysm.” Teams have traveled from hours away to come and participate, and Susco stresses inclusion of a walk in the race’s offerings, because it has been a magnet for aneurysm survivors who are working to regain their physical capabilities. That’s not to say there’s no competitive aspect to the race. The course record is a blazing 24:19, set by one of Susco’s track teammates from high school. Perhaps you’ve heard of him — Alan Webb.
For the community In March 2011, the D.C. area was shocked by the news that a grad student and fitness enthusiast had been murdered in the Lulumeon store where she worked in Bethesda. The initial reports of Jayna Murray’s death warned of two masked men who forced their way into the store, killed Murray and attacked and bound her coworker. After a few days, that story turned out to have been fabricated by the coworker to cover up Murray’s death. By that point, though, fear that the two men could strike again spread fear throughout downtown Bethesda, which hadn’t seen a homicide in nearly 17 years. When Murray’s family thought about doing something in Jayna’s memory in D.C.— her family is in Houston — holding a run was a top choice. Though proceeds would support a foundation in Jayna’s name that awards educational scholarships, the emotional support wasn’t so much for her family members as for Bethesda. “We received a lot of support from the Bethesda community and we wanted to give something back,” said Murray’s brother, Hugh. “Her murder brought the community together, but it was initially because of fear.” The theme of this “race” would fit her character.
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“We didn’t want it to be competitive, more of a community run, something that would bring people together and let them enjoy the activity of running the way she did,” Murray said. Planning for that race fell to her friend Judd Borakove and his girlfriend, Nicole Crane, who had never met Jayna. That didn’t stop Crane from taking on a significant workload in making the race happen. Those two planned the lion’s share of the race, compared to other races mentioned in this story, which routinely had committees of more than a dozen people working on it. Why was Crane moved to put so much work in for someone she had never met? “From everything Judd told me about her, Jayna seemed like someone I would have gotten along with,” she said. “She clearly meant a lot to people and I thought doing some of this work could help them heal.”
Challenges Though cathartic and therapeutic, raceplanning efforts are not always a breeze. When plans come together to memorialize someone, friends inevitably want to help, which poses challenges as the cooks add up. With a large group, Cassella said, “there are emotions you have to be aware of. I find myself constantly thinking ‘how is this person going to think about this,’ ‘how are my in-laws going to think about this.’” She said that while planning a memorial race, the race committee composition is crucial, and everyone involved should have their ideas and opinions heard but also be able to admit that some decisions may not please everyone — Because there’s no perfect blend of suggestions. Otherwise-minor issues became significant. Do they put Joe’s face on the t-shirt? How big should his name be on the shirt? Cassella said creating a logo was difficult as she balanced remembering Joe against focusing on the kids who would benefit from the race’s proceeds. “We worry about the people who will see his picture and be affected emotionally,” she added. “Those smaller things, we can deal with more now that time has passed. It doesn’t
necessarily get easier but the issues change.” Glass feels a letdown after the race is over, an emotional cleanup job she tackles once the discarded cups have been gathered. “After spending so much time working on the race, it’s like all of the stuff was about Jeremy and I thought he was still with us,” she said. “It’s like getting the house ready for his visit, but he doesn’t come. We remember him but in the end he’s not here with us and I have to get back to normal. But it was a little better after this year’s race.” Cassella agrees. “There are two big reminders that Joe’s gone,” she said. “The anniversary of the day he died and the race day. The race is really an emotional event. For the child, for all of the people who are gathered there who knew Joe. It makes you relive his absence every single year.” Susco keeps her eye on challenges. When popular weekends can have more than a dozen races a few miles away on the same day, there’s competition for runners. Some aren’t as attracted to the sentiment and emotion that comes with a memorial race, so every registrant is hard earned. “We’ll know when it’s time to stop, when you don’t have a good turnout,” she said. “We compete by making our race special, being a real niche, and taking good care of our participants.” She’s seen things that allay her fears. “Some days, we wake up and it’s 50 degrees and raining,” she said. “A lot of things are a bust at that point, but we still have runners and walkers showing up.” Crane saw some positives in the diminished turnout in Jayna’s race’s second year, when 600 runners dropped to 200. The Jayna Murray 5k will be an informal fun run this year. But Crane sees it getting closer to what Jayna’s family and friends feel represent her legacy. “The first year was marked by grieving,” she said. “It was so soon after, people were still processing it. The second year, it was more like a reunion, commemorating her. It was a lot more positive and personal.” There was an important new registrant last year. Hugh Murray ran it. “It speaks a lot to how far they had come n in the grieving process,” Crane said.
NANCY SUSCO cracks a smile at the Tim Susco 8k. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY KATHLEEN AMOS
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11.17.13 • ALEXANDRIA, VA WELCOME LETTERS OFFICIAL RACE MAPS RACE INFORMATION
November 2013 USA Track & Field is thrilled to present our ﬁrst wholly owned road running event, the .US National Road Racing Championships. For years, USATF has aspired to present a race that provides competitive prize-money opportunities for our elite athletes while delivering a platform to engage and interact with thousands of people who drive one of this country’s largest social and athletic movements: long-distance running. Thanks to our title sponsor, .US., managed by Neustar, as well as Nike, BMW, Gatorade, St. Vincent Sports Performance, Chronotrack, the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Police Foundation, Visit Alexandria, Team Red, White & Blue and Pacers Running Stores, we now have that opportunity. On November 17, elite athletes who have competed in this year’s USA Running Circuit will run for a share of $100,000 in prize money, and our masters athletes also will vie for national championships. But distance running is about more than the ﬂeet of foot. It’s about ﬁtness enthusiasts, people running for a cause, regional road racers and everyone in between. The ability to welcome such a broad range of abilities in a single athletic event is something that makes our sport special. We welcome everyone to this race, whether you are racing, running, jogging, walking, volunteering, ofﬁciating or cheering. Collectively, We are USATF – all of us. November 2013 USA Track & Field is thrilled to present our first wholly owned road running event, the .US National Road Racing Championships. For years, USATF has aspired to present a race that provides competitive prize-money opportunities for our elite athletes while delivering a platform to engage and interact with thousands of people who drive one of this country’s largest social and athletic movements: long-distance running.
After considering a range of locations for the .US National Road Racing Championships, we realized there is no better place than Old Town Alexandria, with the Capital as a backdrop, for this national celebration of running.
Thanks to our title sponsor, .US., managed by Neustar, as well as Nike, BMW, Gatorade, St. Vincent Sports Performance, Chronotrack, the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Police Foundation, Visit Alexandria, Team Red, White & Blue and Pacers Running Stores, we now have that opportunity.
We look forward to seeing you November 17 at the ﬁnish line and in the Fan Festival in Oronoco Bay Park!
The ability to welcome such a broad range of abilities in a single athletic event is something that makes our sport special. We welcome everyone to this race, whether you are racing, running, jogging, walking, volunteering, officiating or cheering. Collectively, We are USATF – all of us.
On November 17, elite athletes who have competed in this year’s USA Running Circuit will run for a share of $100,000 in prize money, and our masters athletes also will vie for national championships. But distance running is about more than the fleet of foot. It’s about fitness enthusiasts, people running for a cause, regional road racers and everyone in between.
After considering a range of locations for the .US National Road Racing Championships, we realized there is no better place than Old Town Alexandria, with the Capital as a backdrop, for this national celebration of running.
We look forward to seeing you November 17 at the finish line and in the Fan Festival in Oronoco Bay Park! Warm Regards,
Stephanie Hightower President and Chairman
Max Siegel CEO
Stephanie Hightower President and Chairman
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Max Siegel CEO
November 17, 2013 Welcome, runners! Alexandria is delighted to host the first-ever .US National Road Racing Championships. In partnership with USA Track & Field, Neustar, and Pacers, we are excited to show off the beauty of Alexandria and serve as thenational road race for 2013. We are also grateful for your support for the Alexandria Police Foundation, which is working to build a memorial to our community’s fallen heroes. Without a doubt, Alexandria is a community of runners. Almost 24 hours a day, you’ll find runners of all ages and levels out on Alexandria’s sidewalks and trails. Some run for fun, some for fitness, and some for competitive sport. Some of us even run for office. Alexandria is home to many favorite annual races, ranging from 5Ks and 10-milers to half marathons and even a 200-mile relay series. Our location adjacent to the nation’s capital, combined with our outstanding trails, historic charm, and natural beauty, make Alexandria a perfect fit for any race. We hope you’ll join us again soon for another race, or to explore our wonderful shops, restaurants, museums, and other attractions. We’re so proud and excited to host the best runners from around the nation, and to welcome all runners from our community and beyond to participate in this nationalcaliber event. Best wishes for a great race. On your mark, get set, go enjoy extraordinary Alexandria!
William D. Euille Mayor
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RACE INFO PACKET PICKUP
Pacers Alexandria 1301 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703.836.1463 Monday, November 11 – 10:00am – 4:00pm Tuesday - Thursday, November 12-14 – 10:00am – 8:00pm
12 KM The USATF Certified 12 km course winds through scenic Alexandria and historic Old Town, featuring the beauty of one of George Washington’s hometowns and one of the country’s most vibrant running communities. Starting and finishing on the banks of the Potomac in Oronoco Bay Park, the course includes historic King Street, views of the Masonic Temple, the bustling neighborhood of Del Ray and some of Alexandria’s most historic buildings.
Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria 901 North Fairfax Street Alexandria, VA 22314 Friday, November 15 – 12:00pm – 8:00pm Saturday, November 16 – 10:00am – 6:00pm
PRIZE MONEY .US National Road Racing Championships Prize Money*
2nd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
$10,000 $5,000 $3,000 $1,000
Both the 12 km and 5 km will be timed and scored using state of the art RFID timing technology.
Non-championship awards for the 12 km will be provided to the top-three males and females in the following age-groups:
9 & under 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39
5 KM The USATF Certified 5 km course breezes south on the Potomac River into Windmill Hill Park before reversing direction to tour Old Town Alexandria. The course will swoop to the finish on the Mt Vernon Trail and finish in Oronoco Bay Park, similar to the Championship 12 km Race.
* Prize purse applies to the 12K Championships Race only.
5 kM awards will be provided to the top-three overall men and women and the top-three in the following age-groups: 9 & under 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29
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HALF MARATHON • 15K
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Call 813.254.7866 or register online at: www.tampabayrun.com
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J O I N T H E F U N & RU N THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2013 RACE TIME: 9 AM BURKE LAKE PARK
(Picnic Shelter A • 7315 Ox Road • Fairfax Station • Virginia 22039)
Register at: go.nvar.com/DD2013
Click on the “Featured Races” tab or call 202.262.7878 $30 to pre-register. $15 For Kids Fun Run. Donations appreciated.
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All proceeds go to a housing fund to help distressed Northern Virginia citizens receive counseling & support services. hcsnv.org | 703.372.5440 Kipp Burgoyne Photography
Rotary Club of Vienna, VA
JOHN BRITTAN and BETTY BLANK express their conflicting philosophies about trail etiquette on the W&OD Trail in Arlington. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY JIMMY DALY
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The fric t ion
By DUST IN REN W IC K Let’s hang some laundry before we pack it away until next spring: Runners think cyclists are aggressive, dangerous road hogs, and cyclists think runners are inattentive, unpredictable road blocks. Trotting out the old tropes is easy. Fortunately, runners and cyclists have never been afraid of some hard work. Sharing the same space means that the intersection of rights for runners and cyclists has the potential to stoke passionate arguments on each side. Yet neither the rhetoric nor the reality always match the stereotypes. Among a dozen cyclists and runners, the two most common words used to describe the relationship between the athletic communities were “annoying” and “respect.”
Rick Amernick, founder and president of the D.C. Capital Striders, says conflicts between cyclists and bikers come down to familiarity with the other sport. “People who participate in both have very valid reasons to feel the way they do,” he says. “It’s a matter of exposure. Runners probably say, ‘Aw biking’s so easy. Come out here, and run 20 miles with me.’ Bikers who are biking half and full centuries will say, ‘Ah, those runners who do those 5ks, that’s nothing.’” A triathlete himself, Amernick says he doesn’t correct people who express those sentiments. But he will respond. “I oftentimes say, ‘Well, I’m not that way.’” More and more, cyclists and runners aren’t that way either. “Overall, I think it’s a fairly positive relationship,” says Elyse Braner. She’s led running groups for the past seven years. “A few years ago I felt there were a lot more complaints,” Braner says. “So many more people are participating in both sports. It’s not as much of a conversation now. It’s rare to find someone who’s just a runner or just a biker. There’s more understanding.” Chris Walsh heads out for a 30-mile ride once a week, but he’s also been running consistently for five years. “When I’m running, the last thing I want to do is slow down,” he says. “When I’m cycling, the last thing I want to do is clip out or slow down. Anybody who might cause you to do that is going to be an annoyance.” Models of inconvenience include the runner who is plugged into music or the cyclist who barrels by with zero notification and little room to spare. Irritating, too, are out-of-place individuals who roll through crowds on sidewalks or runners who take to the bike lane with no regard for its dedicated users. Yet these examples of bad behavior represent a thin slice of a hearty pie that is this region’s athletic-minded population. Walsh represents a growing number of people who regularly run and ride. Whether it’s a harrier who grabs the handlebars for a triathlon or a cyclist who ditches the derailleur for a road race, each group receives benefits beyond the physical realm.
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The safety issue
“I think I’ve gained better perspective,” says Sarah Sladen, a collegiate runner who now splits her time evenly between wheels and feet. “As a runner it can be nerve-wracking when cyclists come up without warning,” she says. Now, as an active cyclist, she says she’s more aware of how important audible indicators are for runners. “It’s a question of trail awareness and courtesy.” Problems flare, she says, with “the runner who’s all over and unaware and the cyclist who’s trying to bomb the Capital Crescent at 25 mph.” Boris Espinoza used to cover ground on the Capital Crescent Trail four or five times a week. A biker collided with him about three years ago as a result of miscommunication. The rider said, “On your right.” “You’re not expecting to hear that,” Espinoza says. “I moved to the right. It’s something you do automatically when you hear a biker say ‘On your left.’” Safe riding means that alerting runners has to accompany the equally important component of speed. Several near misses forced Tom Lahovski to abandon the Mount Vernon Trail. “Bikes would go whizzing by,” he says. “They would say ‘On your left.’ By the time you hear and react, they’re by you. You wouldn’t get within a foot or two in your car. Why would you do that on your bicycle?” Lahovski says he appreciates the need to go fast, whether for the thrill or just for a good workout, but that the desire to break away shouldn’t preclude smart riding. “Time is a premium for all of us,” he says. “It feels good to be in shape, to be healthy, but you’ve got to use a little care, concern and judgement, where you’re not making other people feel in danger.”
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Mount Vernon, Capital Crescent, Custis, WO&D. Trails provide vital paths for recreation and commuting, but cyclists and runners I interviewed don’t view the routes with positive marks. “They’re all difficult,” Chuck Harney, who owns the Bike Rack in Logan Circle, says of area trails. “As a cyclist,” he says, “I don’t like to ride the trails.” Cyclist Jaime Watts says her problems more often arise with other riders. he has had to deal with a potential head-on crash because the other person wanted to pass a runner. “The trails are just clogged,” she says. “You can’t go out there and just hammer on the trail. Mount Vernon is terrible. I try to avoid it at all costs.” Trails have become math equations, case studies in density and volume. Runners and cyclists join joggers with baby strollers, tourists with a day to browse, tykes on trikes, dog walkers, rollerbladers and skateboarders. Perceptions from local runners and cyclists match the traffic numbers. Just prior to its three-year anniversary in September, Capital Bikeshare recorded its five millionth ride. Arlington County has placed real-time sensors that count bicycles and pedestrians on multi-use trails such as Mount Vernon, though the trail itself is under National Park Service jurisdiction. One sensor on that trail is located near Reagan National Airport. David Patton, a bicycle and pedestrian planner for the county, says that node consistently records the highest numbers of any spot in the county. He says weather plays a significant role in overall trail usage. For example, the first six months of 2013 show a 10 percent decrease in compared to that same period a year ago, attributable to a wet early summer. Still, Patton says he sees “genuine increases” year over year.
Runner Kelsey Woodard commutes to work in D.C. She says bikes tend to stay in the road or in bike lanes, and runners stick to the sidewalks. The stark separation means fewer opportunities for conflict. Similar to other athletes, she’s less than enthusiastic about the trails but says there are improvements. “I was impressed by the number of people who alerted me they were near me,” she says after a sunny September outing on the Mount Vernon Trail. Woodard grew up with active parents, so she learned the etiquette for running and cycling early. That type of basic education will continue to remain important. Even though many cyclists and runners say the groups hold a mutual respect for one another, mixing other trail users could mean difficulties for everyone involved. The region’s leaders could invest in the venerated split trails, with one lane solely for fast cyclists and another reserved for comparatively slower runners. Typical municipal budgets mean this isn’t likely to happen. Education, on the other hand, might provide an effective modification for less money. Limits on area trails cap cyclist speeds at 15 mph. The legal element exists, though as with any society, laws are enforced by a common agreement to obey them, not by a constant police presence. BikeArlington and WalkArlington suggest several tips for overall safety. Cyclists need to slow down and give runners at least an arm’s length when passing. Riders should also provide a common verbal courtesy or ring a bell several seconds in advance. As a standard, pedestrians always have the right of way. However, runners should stay to the right on trails and step off the path to stop for any reason. More visible rules posted at more frequent intervals could also improve the situation for everyone, says Harney, the bike shop owner. “Paint it on the road,” he says. “Put signs up. That’s one way to educate people where you don’t have to get a mass group of people together to go talk to them.” Sladen, the former collegiate runner who frequently bikes, summarizes the argument for mitigating tensions: “I’ve had runners say thank you when you warn them. I appreciate it if a cyclist yells, ‘On your left.’ That’s all that’s necessary. “Both cyclists and runners are just looking for space to do the sport they love.” n BETTY BLANK and JOHN BRITTON get along as they both use the W&OD Trail in Arlington’s Bluemont Park. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY JIMMY DALY
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For many Washington-area residents, commuting can be a nightmare. They can share horror stories about being caught on broken-down Metro cars or waiting on a platform for what seems like ages because of delays somewhere in the system. Drivers can relate to familiar stretches of roads being turned into morning parking lots with nothing in sight but brake lights. But a small faction of commuters have found an alternative mode of transportation: Ditch the car keys and SmartTrip card and lace up those running flats. They run to and from the office, many hauling their work clothes, work items, and personal belongings in a backpack. Those who do it commonly turn to run commuting for one of two reasons: Finding a way to add mileage to their training or trying to fit running into their busy lives. “Washington is a pretty career-focused area,” said Eric London, who has been racing down Massachusetts Avenue from his home in Bethesda to work in Dupont Circle a couple times per week for nearly two years. “It’s a way to put in good mileage during the week so you don’t have to run half your miles on the weekend. The more miles you can pack, the better you’re going to be, I think in terms of avoiding injuries and being able to do the kind of racing you want to do.” For Francisco Parodi, it’s an issue of optimizing his time at home with his three children, who are eight years, four years, and 10 months old. Depending on his route, it takes him between 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes to run from his home in Friendship Heights to work in Foggy Bottom. That’s roughly an hour longer he can spend with his family if he run commutes. “It takes me 30 minutes to get home by metro,” Parodi, an Argentina native, said. “If I
run in for an hour, I’m not an hour and a half out of home running and commuting. I’m just an hour out.” Patrica Chaupis uses the 3.8-mile trek from her Arlington home to work in Georgetown as a way to log more mileage and help her race longer distances. “This is a really great way to add running to my schedule without having to block out more time,” Chaupis said. “If you want to get to work, you have to push yourself to run. And if you want to manage to get home, you have to run.” Glenn Sewell, of Crystal City wanted to avoid the road closures around the Mall when he ran to work to the Kennedy Center for the anniversary of the March on Washington in late August. The Arlington Memorial Bridge and several area streets were closed, so Sewell hit the Mt. Vernon Trail. He had never run to work before that day but hopes to try it again as part of training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Several aspects of Washington make it ideal for run commuting, according to London. “There are many parks, trails, and runnerfriendly streets to help make your way into the city,” he said. “People in Washington have a lot of good running options,” he said. Bethesda’s Stephanie Devlin, a nearlydaily run commuter who blogs for the website theruncommuter.com, said it’s difficult to tell if run commuting has become more common in recent months and years, but says it’s a pretty easy to become hooked. “I didn’t know anything about it before I started to do it two years ago, and I’m certainly finding pockets of people who do it,” Devlin said. “I know when I go into D.C. I see plenty of people run commuting.” It’s less prevalent in the suburbs where
By David Pittman
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PATRICIA CHAUPIS, packed for work, run through the streets of Georgetown. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY JIMMY DALY
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she lives, she said, but she still gets excited when she spots one on the street with the familiar backpack swaying from side to side with each stride. “I almost want to give them a high five,” she said. For those who successfully start run commuting, it can have a positive impact on running. “Most, if not all, of my PRs have come since I started run commuting,” Devlin said. “Just logging so many more miles in training, I think it helped me get faster.” Parodi finds he runs faster without a backpack and the extra weight. “I’m adding, what?, two, three pounds of weight to my back,” he said. “When I run without it, I feel much lighter.” For those runners who do travel to work via foot, many have unique quirks and logistical issues to work around simply because their ability, route, living, and work situations are all different. “There’s a lot of logistical challenges to doing it,” London said. “It requires a good amount of planning.” London uses a gym about a block from his office to help him. Others use locker rooms at their offices. For those who have neither, Devlin said a baby wipe shower is manageable. Run commuter Jeffery Ugbah said he used YouTube videos to learn how to fold a suit into a backpack. Chaupis brings extra lunches with her on the days she doesn’t run to work so she doesn’t have to bring it that day. Otherwise, only take what you absolutely need, she said. The weather isn’t so much of a hindrance for Chaupis. She typically only avoids running if there’s ice or a serious downpour. But even in warm or frosty temperatures or slight rain, she hits the road. “In some cases, the weather becomes secondary because you already feel uncomfortable,” she said. “In the real storms, you get soaked anyway.” And running doesn’t mean missing out on the positive aspects of the commute. Gaithersburg’s Patrick Benko manages to run to his office by way of the Newseum, where he can take a look at many of the country’s newspapers’ front pages to stay n briefed on current events.
Washington’s run commuters offered various lines of advice for those interested in kickstarting the habit. Plan a good route and know where you’re going before you leave, but there are several factors to consider such as distance, hills, and runner friendliness. Parodi enjoys taking the many trails from his home in Friendship Heights to work in Foggy Bottom. He also finds it adds more hills to his runs than he would otherwise squeeze in. The routes Devlin takes can vary from 2.5 miles to 5 miles depending on the type of workout she wants. If you live too far away from work, take public transportation part of the way and run the rest. Get your work clothes and items to the office. For some run commuters, this could mean hauling a fresh set of clothes with each trip. Others use non-running commutes to bring fresh clothes and items to the office. Don’t forget a set of clothes for the run home, London says, as those for the run in can get soaked in sweat. Pick the right backpack. Devlin borrowed one from a friend to test out before buying hers. She recommends one with both a chest and waist strap to keep it from jumping around side to side. Websites such as theruncommuter.com often review packs for their readers. Only buy one if you’re really sure you want or need one, London says, noting the high price tag. Remember the weather and season. The extreme temperatures of the summer or winter don’t mean you have to stop, run commuters said. Dress appropriately for the weather and season. Devlin bought a headlamp for commuting after the sun has set or before it rises. Practicing good hygiene. If your office has a shower or locker room, take advantage and use it. Chaupis said many people n aren’t even aware their office has facilities until they ask.
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By JACQUELINE KLIMAS
uggling a full-time job and night classes for an MBA can be hard enough, but somehow Scott Brodbeck managed to find time to train for a marathon too. Brodbeck, who founded two hyperlocal news sites for Arlington and Bethesda, Arlnow.com and Bethesdanow.com, generally works 8 to 6, but says he “never really takes a break from the day job.” He recently earned his MBA from Georgetown University, where he had class two nights a week in addition to homework. This fall, he’ll tackle his first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon. “Trying to earn a graduate degree and running a business and running, there wasn’t much down time,” he said. “I did my best to fit in runs, but half the time I’d find myself running at 11 p.m., which is probably not ideal, but I’m not an early riser.” Brodbeck, who has been running seriously for about two years, is just one of thousands of non-elite runners who will cross the finish line on Oct. 27. Unlike the pros, the average runner doesn’t get to take time off from work, family responsibilities and social gatherings to train. His advice to other first time marathoners on how to fit it all into just 24 hours is to enjoy it and pay attention to signs in your body that could signal an injury coming on. “I think it’s totally doable and certainly it gives you some extra time to listen to audiobooks … so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing nothing during that time. Not only am I running, but I’m reading,” said Brodbeck, who is working his way through the Game of Thrones books during his runs, but plans to listen to music for the race. “The one thing I’ve learned is you really need to listen to your body. You can’t train too hard, too fast.” He had originally signed up for the Marine
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Corps Marathon in 2012, but had to defer after a knee injury on his 15-mile training run that has since healed with physical therapy and seeing a chiropractor. “The hardest part is the anticipation of the long runs, given my issues in my knees,” he said. “I always wonder if the knees are going to hold up. After every long run, the knees, the calves, the feet – something is sore. I just keep hoping I’m going to be able to run it and so far so good.” One of the reasons Brodbeck selected the Marine Corps as his first marathon was partly for the convenience of the race being in Arlington, where he lives. He launched ARLnow.com in January 2010 because he felt there wasn’t a good single source of upto-date, interesting information about the Arlington community online. The site, which he edits, covers local issues ranging from Metro weekend track work to city finances to local business news. He launched BethesdaNow. com to fill the same niche hyperlocal role in that community. The Arlington resident does most of his running on local paths, like the Mount Vernon Trail, Custis Trail and Washington and Old Dominion Trail. However, he occasionally enjoys mixing it up and running on the streets, which gives him a new perspective of the Arlington community. “Running around Arlington’s residential neighborhoods -- and seeing the swing sets, minivans and barbecues -- reminds you that this is a place that a lot of families call home,” he said. “You might not get that if you live in the metro corridors and don’t take the time to explore the area on foot.” Brodbeck is following a training program designed by Hal Higdon, a long-time Runner’s World contributor, training consultant for the
SCOTT BRODBECK runs the streets of Arlington. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY JIMMY DALY
Chicago Marathon and eight-time Olympic trial participant. In the program, which he found online after a friend’s recommendation, he spends about eight hours a week training with hour long runs on Tuesday and Thursday, a long run on Saturday and two bike rides to cross train during the week. He is hoping to finish the race in under four hours. “I don’t feel like I’ve drastically changed my life. I spend those eight hours a week training , but honestly running is the one form of exercise I actually enjoy, he said. Because of his previous experience with injury, he feels it’s especially important to be dedicated to training and stick to a plan, making sure not to increase mileage too much too soon. However, sometimes his schedule doesn’t cooperate and he occasionally misses runs. When that happens, he doesn’t let it derail his training. He either tries to make it up the next day or just skips it and works out even harder the next scheduled run. Though squeezing in time to worry about what you eat may be difficult, Brodbeck has improved his diet by eating fresher, healthier foods and fighting his McDonald’s cravings, only eating fast food “sparingly.” In addition to eating better, the training has also made Brodbeck spend less time on the couch. “I’m playing fewer video games. It used to be that Halo 4 was a good way to unwind after a long day at work, but I increasingly find myself working out instead of playing games,” he said. Though he is new to running, he showed an aptitude for endurance when he was younger. He biked extensively around his childhood home in Pittsburgh. One day, while he was on a ride, his mother Jill got a phone call. “Mom, can you pick me up?” he asked.
“Of course, where are you?” she responded. “West Virginia,” he answered. Another challenge of marathon training over the summer is fitting the training around vacations with friends and family. When Brodbeck went to Dewey Beach, Del., with some friends this summer, no one could understand why he opted to go out on a 13mile run instead of relax. “My friends could not understand why I could not come to brunch at 10 o’clock.” he said. “They couldn’t understand why I would come back with a bag of ice we bought for beer to ice down,” he said. “My friends aren’t necessarily big runners, they think I’m kind of crazy. I just know it’s something I have to do. I spend enough time thinking about running this stupid marathon that I’m determined at this point to get it done.” While he’s made sacrifices to train on vacation and improve his diet, there is one thing Brodbeck won’t sacrifice: beer. “There are people I know who have cut out drinking, I am not willing to do that,” he said. “I feel like beer is carbohydrates, it tastes good after a long run.” He’s looking forward to the flatter course for 2013, but what really keeps him going through all the late nights, long runs and sore muscles is imagining the crowds lining the street on race day, something he hasn’t yet experienced at the shorter 5k, 4 mile and half marathon races he’s done in the past. “I can’t wait to go on the run and see the people standing on the sidewalks,” he said. “For the Marine Corps [Marathon,] I know there’ll be people with signs and cheering, I just can’t wait to see that. And then I can’t wait to cross the finish line and finally be able n to say I’ve run a marathon.” NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 43
BY JAMIE COREY
reathtaking moments occur throughout the entire Marine Corps Marathon. But it’s not just the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial that give runners goose bumps. When they think back to their most poignant moments during the race, many consider the 105 mm howitzer cannon shaking the starting line. Or when they struggled up a hill alongside a veteran missing a limb who wasn’t even phased by the challenge. These images captured — not always through a lens — by runners on the course, spectators on the sidelines and photographers from a truck can partly be attributed to why the for this year’s was spots for the Marine Corps Marathon were claimed in just two hours and 27 minutes after registration opened. Those unique moments that shape the entirety of the race had Steve Nearman, a sports journalist, yearning to create a colorful picture book for the last 22 years. With a passion for running, Nearman has covered more than 1,000 races and more than 100 marathons all around the world. He got his start covering races in 1982 for the Washington Post. While sitting on the back of a press truck during the 1989 Marine Corps Marathon, after already covering the race for several years, Nearman came up with the idea to document the images that he and his fellow writers and shutter jockeys had seen. Unlike his stories that flared up for a day and cooled down after deadline, his idea of a photo book just smoldered. After he realized that he could not create the book by himself, he tried to enlist someone else who shared a similar foresight. Decades after the first initial idea behind the book and numerous unsuccessful attempts at partnering with
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other people, Jeff Horowitz began circling in Nearman’s life. He finally found someone who shared his same vision for the book. “The race is not about the words, it’s about the images you see,” Horowitz says. “For the most part, especially in a marathon, those images speaks for themselves.” The 1987 Marine Corps Marathon marked Horowitz’ first. Since then, he has run more than 170 in every state and around the world. Horowitz now serves as the program director for Teens Run D.C., which is a long distance running program for at-risk youth to help kids in the D.C. public school system. A writer himself, he has edited the Mid-Atlantic Competitor Magazine and contributes to Race Packet. He has also written two books. “The irony of this book is that we’re longtime wordsmiths,” Nearman says. “And we came together to do a picture book.” Prior to teaming up with Horowitz, Nearman had unsuccessfully pitched the idea to the Marine Corps Marathon staff several times. But when Nearman and Horowitz finally teamed up and told the Marine Corps Marathon staff that it was his final try at the book, they hammered out a deal. Nearman and Horowitz would have access to the Marine Corps Marathon’s archives. The race staff introduced them to the enormous library of archived photos at their headquarters in Quantico, Va. The photos, dating back to the early years of the race, had sat mostly untouched for years. Nearman and Horowitz then sifted through photos capturing various scenes — some taking place more than three decades ago. “There were tens of thousands of photos to go through,” Nearman says. “We went through a ton of hay stacks to find these tiny needles that were the gems.”
STEVE NEARMAN (left) and JEFF HOROWITZ show off Marine Corps Marathon: An Epic Journey in Photographs. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTOS BY CHARLIE BAN
Nearman and Horowitz eventually became savvy about hunting through thousands of photos. For five months with eight to 10 hour days, they were looking to find the perfect moments that they both wanted to see in the book. “We had a basic, simple rule to the photos we liked,” Horowitz says. “We both had to say ‘wow.’ It’s really a serendipitous moment when you have a photo telling you the right story, the photographer framing it the right way and all of the surroundings and elements in the photo actually work.” As they both looked through the tens of thousands of photos, they found themselves taking a trip back in time. They discovered scenes of the course with traffic running on the other side of the road back when only a few thousand runners competed in the race. They saw runners at Hains Point competing beside the Awakening sculpture before it had moved to the National Harbor. From photos of participants wearing scrunched socks past their ankles to athletes talking on their cell phones in a middle of a race, Horowitz and Nearman opened an entire sea of pictures capturing moments in time. Though they had an abundant amount of photos capturing the top runners, Nearman and Horowitz came to the decision early on in the process that they wanted the book to be about all of the runners who had competed in the race. Not just the top runners. As much as the archives at Quantico offered, they still weren’t satisfied. So they took matters in their own hands and hired their own photographer during the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. Having prepped and edited the book for months, Horowitz and Nearman finally turned their dream into a reality and were ready
to show the book off to the entire running community. Since then, they have sold copies of their photo-books at expos, local Washington, D.C. running stores and on their website. And that wasn’t all. The pair is in the process of finishing their next project, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run photo book. They are publishing the books through their company called 26.2 Publishing. With so many other unique races across the country, both Nearman and Horowitz are excited for their future race endeavors beyond the nation’s capital. “We’re branding 26.2 publishing versus MCM photo-book,” Nearman says. “So that 26.2 publishing becomes a household name for high quality books on high quality races.” With this same goal of capturing the moments in other races around the country like they did with the Marine Corps Marathon, they want to keep sharing the moments that thousands of runners can look back on and remind themselves why they continue to devote their lives to the sport. “There’s something obviously propelling about these races,” Horowitz says. “We feel it but we can’t quite articulate it. That there’s something special about what we’re doing. It’s funny, as writers it’s very hard to really articulate what we’re doing. We were really hoping that it was something that these photos could get… when you close the book, get that deep breath and remember it is why you love doing this.” So in a few years, once their project has expanded to other races, visitors might glance at the coffee table in a runner’s house and see something forged by the creativity and love of running of two Washingtonians. n NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 45
Jack T. Farrar Jr. “Fill the Shoes” 5k Alexandria, Va. Lace Up for Learning 5k Ashburn, Va. The 5Q Woodbridge, Va.
National Race to End Women’s Cancer 8k Washington, D.C. Run for the Parks 10k Washington, D.C. Rockville 5k/10k Rockville, Md. Mock the Clock 5k Bethesda, Md. The Dash 5k Washington, D.C. Fall Foliage Trail Run 5k/10k Aldie, Va The Race Against the Odds Arlington, Va. Backyard Burn 5 Mile/10 Mile Fountainhead Regional Park, Va.
The Hills Are Alive 5k/10k Washington, D.C. Candy Cane City 5k Chevy Chase, Md. Manassas 10 Miler Manassas, Va. Nearly Naked Mile Reston, Va. Loudoun County Run/Walk 4 the Homeless & Disadvantaged Ashburn, Va. Monument Dash! Washington, D.C. RUN FOR RWANDA 5K/10K Washington, D.C.
Veterans Day 10k Washington, D.C. Schaeffer Scramble 5k/10k/10 mile trail Germantown, Md. Backyard Burn 5 /10 Mile Wakefield Regional Park, Va. Veterans’s Day 5k Fairfax Corner, Va. Robinson Crew 5k Fairfax, Va. Loudon Trail 10k Middleburg, Va. WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE HALF MARATHON Mount Vernon, Va.
RunEleven 11K Burke Lake, Va.
Panther Pride 5k Bristow, Va. MVHS Care Turkey Trot 5k Alexandria, Va. Stone Mille 50 Mile Gaithersburg, Md. run! geek! run! 8k Washington, D.C.
.US National Road Racing Championships Alexandria, Va. Potomac River Run Marathon Carderock, Md. TLC’s King of the Road 5k Rockville, Md. Making a Difference 5k Ashburn, Va. Backyard Burn 5 /10 Mile Prince William Forest Park, Va.
Tidal Basin 5k/3k/1500m Washington, D.C.
The Karaoke 5k Washington, D.C.
2013 Lost Dog 5k, August 2013. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY SWIMBIKERUN PHOTOGRAPHY
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Run for Shelter 10k /5k Alexandria, Va. Spend Yourself 5k Falls Church, Va. JFK 50 Mile Boonesboro, Md. Herndon Turkey Trot 5k Herndon, Va.
Fort Meade Turkey Trot 5k Fort Meade, Md. Freeze Your Gizzard 5k Leesburg, Va. Run Under the Lights 5k Gaithersburg, Md. Quantico Marine Corps Base Turkey Trot 10k Quantico, Va.
Vienna Turkey Trot 5k/10k Vienna, Va. Kinhaven 5k Arlington, Va.
SOME Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger 5k Washington, D.C. Alexandria Turkey Trot 8k Alexandria, Va. Laurel Turkey Trot Laurel, Md Arlington Turkey Trot 5k Arlington, Va. Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 10k/5k Ashburn, Va. Virginia Run Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k Centreville, Va. Bristow Turkey Trot 5k Bristow, Va. Reston Thanksgiving XC 5k Reston, Va.
Gingerbread Man Mile Reston, Va.
Reindeer Run 5k Washington, D.C. Turkey Burnoff 5 /10 Mile Gaithersburg, Md. Drumstix Dash 8k Burke Lake, Va.
Backyard Burn 5/10 Mile Hemlock Overlook Clifton, Va.
Jingle Bell Run 5k Arlington, Va. St. Joseph School 5k Beltsville, Md. Light Up the Night 5k Centreville, Va.
Jingle All the Way 8k Washington, D.C. Bread Run 10k Glen Echo Park, Md. Seneca Slopes 8k XC Gaithersburg, Md. Run with Santa 5k Reston, Va. Running with the Stars 5k Asburn, Va.
See more details about these races and more at www.runwashington.com/ race-calendar/
The 12k’s Of Christmas Washington, D.C. Reindeer 5k Run Fort Meade, Md. Jingle Bell Jog 8k Rockville, Md.
Gar Williams Half Marathon Carderock, Md. Jingle Bell Jog 8k Rockville, Md.
Tidal Basin 5k/3k/1500m Washington, D.C.
Reston Runners Christmas Run 5 Mile Reston, Va.
2013 Mount Vernon Trail Race 6 Mount Vernon, Va.
Fairfax 4 Miler Fairfax, Va. Ringing in Hope 5k/10k Ashburn, Va. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 47
Politicians and runners share reputations for ambition, overachievement, and talking nonstop about what they do, so it makes sense that runners would be drawn to careers in politics and vice-versa. Indeed, beyond the halls of Congress, runners have infiltrated all levels of politics in the D.C. metropolitan region, and the policies and protections they legislate have made this region one of the nationâ€™s healthiest and best reputed for running. Though their work never seems to end, five local politicians share the ways they manage to fit running into their lives and careers.
By katie bolton
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The Promoter Alexandria City Council Member Justin Wilson wants his city to be a destination for runners. “We’re always trying to distinguish ourselves from D.C. and Arlington and everyone else,” he says, chuckling at the local sibling rivalry. Wilson started running consistently a decade ago, and he’s now training for his fifth marathon. He speaks from experience when he describes the extensive trail networks, beautiful scenery, and varied terrain that make Alexandria “a great city to run in.” He also cites the number of races around the city as part of Alexandria’s charm. “And when [visitors] are done running, we have some wonderful restaurants where they can carb load for their next race,” he adds. In the USATF 12k championships, Wilson saw an unparalleled opportunity to draw Olympians and other elite runners, press and spectators to Alexandria. Over the next few months, he helped spearhead race planning with Pacers Events manager partner (and RunWashington publisher) Kathy Dalby to minimize disruptions to residents while maximizing appeal to USATF organizers and the runners themselves. When the council met to approve the race, Mayor William Euille began the discussion with the least promising opening possible: “We have too many races in this city,” he began before going on to describe the USATF championship as a unique and special opportunity. All saw the potential for the race. It was approved unanimously and scheduled for Nov. 17.
The Campaigner Chap Petersen humbly shrugs off the “runner” title. “I’ve been a rugby player for 25 years,” he says, “and I still play rugby. In fact, I played a match on Sunday.” The 45-year-old Virginia State Senator plays a few times a year with the NoVa Old Grays, a team of men over 35 who may not hit as hard or sprint as fast as their young counterparts, but who still tie on
their boots a few times a year. Petersen mostly runs alone around Fairfax County, but he enjoys racing culture. “I’m sort of an ultra-competitive person,” he says. His first marathon time in 2006 disappointed him, so over the next five years, he worked to drop 35 minutes from it. When he campaigned fora Virginia State Senate seat in 2007, he forced his campaign manager to run with him, running local races every weekend. “I think I actually got him into the best shape of his life,: Petersen said. To this day, he uses training runs to scope out yard signs during campaign season and stops by races. With a competitive edge creeping into his voice, he says, “If I’m gonna stop by, then I’m gonna run it.” He sponsors some of these races and shakes hands at finish lines; road races allow him to connect with his constituents. Camaraderie is as important to him as the run itself. Today, he also keeps a blog about politics, rugby, and running that he hopes will motivate others. “High school kids are not impressed,” by his speed, “but people that are older—I’m 45— they’re like ‘Well, that’s pretty good.’”
The Escapist Maryland State Sen. Sam Arora took up running to get into a girl’s good graces. “I thought it was really admirable, how passionate she was about [running],” he said. “And I was intrigued. I had never enjoyed running; I thought of it as a task — something you do for a couple of minutes at the gym, just a couple minutes to get your cardio up.” But he found running to be a nice escape while studying for the Bar exam, and he kept up the habit. His wife Jaime is the early-rising marathoner, while Sam runs mostly with his fellow legislators while in session in Annapolis. Together, they try to undo the fatigue of sitting in all-day committee meetings. “I’m a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which famously has very long hearings. Like when we debated gun control [this year], we had a hearing from noon one day until 4 a.m.,” he remembers.
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Virginia De. ROB KRUPICKA writes haikus down after finishing the Iron Mountain Trail Run 50 mile race in Damascus, Md. RUNWASHINGTON COURTESY OF KRUPICKA
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Arora finds that running through his district makes him feel more connected to his 125,000 constituents. “The work I do is just as much about the people in our community as it is about the sometimes abstract minutia of law,” he said. He added that running reminds him of this. It also taught him patience to stick with training plans that last for months and legislation that may take years to pass. That running foundation he built with Jaime paid off on a run in the middle of a snowstorm. He struggled through the first few miles, knowing that a photographer and friend were waiting for them. He made a compelling case for pausing by the Lincoln Memorial and popped the question. She said yes, and the two were married the next year.
The Artist Virginia Del. Rob Krupicka wasn’t a poet until he started training for his first 50-miler, the Iron Mountain Trail Run in Damascus, Md. He had run a few marathons and 50k races in his 20s, but had fallen out of training to focus on career and family. Running alone for hours this summer, he found himself writing haiku that he would recite like mantras to pass the miles. “When you’re running for two hours a day, you don’t always have work to think about. Sometimes there just aren’t things you want to mull over,” he said. By race day, Krupicka had envisioned a project that would incorporate his experience painting, the poems he had written, and his love of running. The haiku are divided into training and race-day poems; the latter were hastily written on waterproof paper at rest stops along the Iron Mountain course. Soon, Krupicka plans to print the haikus on ceramic plates and coat them in softened beeswax. He and friends will run through pigments, then run across the plates, leaving imprints and splashes of color. As his website describes it, “each final piece emphasizes the simplicity and elegance of one step on a longer run.” In a sport that often emphasizes delayed gratification, Krupicka calls the pieces “brushstrokes” in the larger portrait of his running. In the next few months, he hopes to partner with local running stores to display the pieces. Such a show could draw together the running and art communities in the area, an idea he relishes. “I think the idea that all of us think of our running a little bit as an art form is a powerful one because it is an expression of who we are,” he said.
The Patron U.S. Rep. Jim Moran passed his entire political career a short jaunt from the Mount Vernon Trail, and that 17-mile stretch has been a pet project of his since he was first sworn into office in 1979. He had been a football player through college but soon realized the pleasures of running. “I felt whole when I’d go out and run without any distractions,” he remembers. “I can breathe full and I forget about all the things that cause stress, and I just run.” At his peak, he would run up to 10 miles a day, often on the Mount Vernon Trail. In the 1980s, seeing the potential for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Moran and Bruce Kohlsmith envisioned a race between Mount Vernon to Old Town Alexandria. They developed partnerships with charities that could benefit from the race and organizers that could plan the event. The National Park Service winced. Closing a major roadway, blocking every crossing, paying overtime to staff, and littering the roadside with cups and garbage? It seemed like an expensive and troublesome project that they couldn’t support. Still, compromises were reached and plans were developed, and in 1984 the first George Washington Parkway Classic was held. Over the next 30 years, the race became iconic in the city. Wilson, Krupicka, and Petersen all cite the race among their favorites, and Moran promises to protect the race through this time of budget cuts and sequestration. Beyond the Parkway Classic, roughly 2,000 people use the Mount Vernon Trail every day. Moran consistently directs National Park Service funds to trail maintenance, including clearing vegetation, repairing cracks and potholes, and more recently, improving crossings near the Memorial Circle in Arlington. Though some may question the need to prioritize rumble strips and better signage, Moran sees the parkway and the trail as contributing to a better quality of life for residents of his district. “When we have a beautiful natural environment, we want to make it as accessible for everyone as we can,” he says. Age, knee surgeries, and a busy Congressional schedule have slowed him over the years, but Moran’s legacy will endure. “I will smile knowing that things like the GW Parkway Classic and some of the recreational areas that we have-- that I played some small role in enabling them to be established and n maintained,” he says.
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No Obstacles. No Paint Balls. Just Your Fastest Running.
Be a par� o� �orld �lass Road Racing in the Nation�s �apital on April 6, 2014 at the 42nd r�nning o� the �redit Union �her�� Blosso�. �e are loo�ing �or 1�,000 r�nners �ith 10 �ile ti�es bet�een 4��16 and 2�1����. Be Inspired. Run Your Best. Join Us.
The lottery for entries to the 10 Mile Run and the 5K Run-Walk opens at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013 and extends through midnight on Friday, December 13, 2013. Or obtain a guaranteed entry by raising funds for The Children’s Miracle Network. Complete entry details at www.cherryblossom.org.
BY MAGGIE LLOYD
igh school is unpredictable. So is cross country. It’s not hard to imagine what happens when a family moves in the middle of the summer and a teenager is faced with a new school. New teammates. New coach. New courses. New competition. For most, the transition presents a unique challenge, but even when it seems that everything has changed, some students have been grounded by the sport they love. And they find a ready-made social group filled with like-minded teenagers. As transfer students adjust to their new surroundings, they often rely on the support of their new team. Chad Young has been coaching the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Cross Country team for nine years, and understands the importance of building a supportive community for his runners. “Our team is so big, we have kids all over the place,” he said. According to Young, running is especially appropriate for new students because all runners on the team, no matter their talent, are working toward a common goal. And the clock sets the stage for ultimate meritocracy. The B-CC coaches facilitate some interactions among new and returning athletes, but that responsibility largely lies with the upperclassmen. This includes explaining what to do at meets, assigning new students to running groups, leading stretches and drills for the team, and checking in throughout practice. “We talk to our upperclassmen leaders,” Young said. “They do a great job.” One of his athletes, Daniel Rudolph, recently moved to Bethesda from Memphis, Tenn. As part of a military family, the sophomore is used to new surroundings. “You get used to it after a while,” he said, noting that he enjoys meeting new people. He appreciates the diversity and new perspectives each city brings: “it helps you grow up.” When he was younger, Rudolph ran for fun, participating in the occasional local road race. “I was running at recess every day because I didn’t have anything else to do,” he said. His passion for running brought benefits in the classroom, too. “It’s a great sport; it motivates you to do other things like homework.” Plus, he added, long runs at a comfortable pace are a perfect opportunity to get to know his new teammates. Rudolph’s goal this season is to break 18:00 in the 5k. Young is also a B-CC math teacher, and says that these strategies for transfer students work just as well in the classroom. During class, he introduces any new students and ensures that they talk and work with their new classmates. Jay Bass, a counselor in Rockville’s Wootton High School, warns transfer students not to put too much pressure on themselves to “fit in.” Acknowledging that the high school years are a transition for everyone, he suggests that students take challenges as they come, get involved with campus NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 53
student groups, and try to focus on what’s most important in this time of their lives-school. When students focus on classwork and studies, he says, everything else will fall into place. Bass, a recreational runner for close to 35 years, says these lessons have an easy connection to running. The “obvious” conclusion, he says, is that running on a high school team is a physically and mentally healthy activity that will help students find an immediate group of peers with shared interests. “Any athletic team or extra-curricular activity that student can hook into will be to their advantage.” Transfer students face many of the same challenges that freshmen do in their introduction to the high school setting. They face a different community with a new environment, a new peer group, and a new education system with different structure and rigor than they’re used to. A transfer in the midst of high school years, however, adds another level to the adjustment. Whether they’re entering a new school district across town or a moving across the country, students changing high schools often enter a school with different graduation requirements and class credit policies, so that they often have to make up courses as they adjust to a new curriculum. Simply put, “Know who you are and what works for you and where you fit.” Classmates can help transfer students adjust by understanding their backgrounds and help them feel more comfortable with their new surroundings by reaching out, introducing themselves and being sensitive to their circumstances. “Help them find a niche and become a part of the culture,” he said. Dakota Lange has certainly found his niche at Fairfax County’s Chantilly High School. He came from Payson, Utah, a small town of around 18,000 people sitting at the base of the Rockies south of Salt Lake City. Lange says it was a close-knit town, where everybody knew each other to a certain extent. His move to Virginia brought him to an area with more trees, fewer mountains, and a lot more neighbors. “Holy cow there are a lot of people here,” he remembers thinking to himself. Lange’s move across the country required dramatic adjustments, and not just because of the elevation. When asked how his team helped with the transition, Lange’s response was immediate: “Oh my goodness they are so great!” He’s running with a group that is triple the size of his former team, but describes the Chantilly team as a close-knit family, not unlike his former small-town community he called home. His team’s summer training was critical to the adjustment. He played volleyball almost every day with his new friends, who made an effort to invite Lange to hang out outside of practice. “They didn’t have to do that; that really impressed me. They went the extra mile,” he said. “I don’t think I could have done it without them.” 54 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013
That summer training introduced Lange to a group of 60-70 new peers before the school year had started, which made him a little more confident going into his new classes. He admits the first week was “really rough,” but managed the stress by “running his guts out” after school. Lange has been a runner for much of his life. It began with a third grade youth track club, followed by little road races here and there. He joined junior high cross country in seventh grade, and has been running competitively ever since. So it’s no surprise that running is still an important part of his life today. When Lange looked at schools in the D.C. area, he hoped his new environment would allow him to learn and grow as a runner. Just a few weeks into the season, Lange already has ambitious goals. He and his teammate, Ryan McGorty, want to finish in the top three at the Virginia state championships and help Chantilly High School defend last year’s first place finish. Working with McGorty has been very encouraging for Lange. At the Monroe Parker Invitational at the beginning of September, the two juniors finished within seconds of each other, earning two top-four finishes for Chantilly High School, which won the Varsity Boys race. “I had a really great race. Ryan pushed me the entire way. It’s nice to have one of those top guys around you,” Lange said, adding that the team “wanted to go into that to show Chantilly means business. We’re back to the top.” The easy camaraderie he has found is a big relief. Going in, he was unsure if there would be any top dog rivalry within the team. Rather than competing against his teammates, Lange feels like he’s working with them. “We’re very encouraging to each other. That shows what a great team Chantilly is.” And it does not look like Lange’s passion for running is going away. “I’d love to run at the college level,” he said. Even beyond that, he pictures himself staying involved in the sport that he loves. Lange says he wants to become a high school cross country coach, and his experience in the past few months has already taught him some valuable lessons. His former coach emphasized the importance of psychological preparation, which helped Lange become a mentally stronger competitor. Now at Chantilly, he appreciates his coaches’ great knowledge in physical training. “I’ve gotten the best of both worlds,” he said of the different coaching perspectives. This way, he has seen and experienced what works and what doesn’t work for student-athletes. His advice to fellow transfer runners? Be honest with yourself. Those first couple of weeks are going to be difficult no matter what, but try to make it through despite persistent thoughts of “oh, this is new” or “I just want to go home.” “Keep your family close,” he said, explaining that his family helped him n immensely in that first week. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2013 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 55
By Charlie Ban
n the middle of mile six, the Parks Half Marathon went from sweaty brow to high brow. “It became the Rachmaninoff ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.” Heading into Ken-Gar Park, runners were greeted by George Gershwin as Shaun Tirrell tickled the ivories. In a tuxedo, paired with some Asics, seated at a concert grand piano. “I don’t usually play classical that early,” he said. “It’s more for night owls.” Nevertheless, he and his friend, race director Mike Acuna, conspired to get one of his Estonia pianos (Tirrell owns PianoCraft in Gaithersburg) out to a basketball court. He tried to get the Washington Conservatory Faculty to play, but they couldn’t swing the scheduling. Tirrell is no stranger to running, with a 14:50 5k to his name and some impressive times as a high school runner in Massachusetts. He had the chops to challenge a few of the lead African runners for a minute before heading back to the bench. In high school, he would head to piano practice right after cross country was over. “That was when I would learn the most, when my concentration was the sharpest,” he said. “It was because of the endorphins.” In addition to his work restoring and customizing pianos, he performs frequently, and he has a secret technique for stressful performances.
MCRRC Photo by Tom Brennan
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“I run beforehand,” he said. “It always puts me in the right mindset.”
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