Page 1

We’ve raced a lot the last few years

Where do you feel safe? All she wanted to do was run

With a new heart, a six-year-old got her wish


CELEBRATE 20 YEARS RUNNING

2012

American marathoner Michael Wardian defended his title, marking his 6th win on the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC course.

2016 Ranked the #1 race event in Washington, D.C. by Destination DC! Rock ‘n’ Roll DC leads the pack in the capital city.

2015 Joe Harris completes his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race.

2012

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series puts DC on the map! Changed from Rock ‘n’ Roll USA to DC.

2013

The Start Line moved to iconic Constitution Avenue.

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On the Cover: Gaithersburg’s Nicolas Crouzier was one of the top road races in the D.C. area in 2016, winning four ranked races, a few years after he took up competitive running. RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY DUSTIN WHITLOW/DWHIT PHOTOGRAPHY

EDITOR’S NOTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OFF THE BEATEN PATH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MILITARY RUNNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2016 RUNNER RANKINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TEN MILLION MILES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A MAN FOR ALL RACE ENTRY FORMS . . . . . . . COMFORT ZONES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UPCOMING RACES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I’M NEW IN TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A HERO HEART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALL-RUNWASHINGTON POSTSEASON TEAM . CELEBRATE RUNNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The Best of the Bunch: the All-RunWashington Postseason Team RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY CHARLIE BAN

Ten Million Miles Raced PHOTO BY CHERYL YOUNG

A Hero Heart RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY DOUG STROUD

THE STREETS ARE OURS: The 2016 Runner Rankings RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY CHARLIE BAN

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SPRING 2016 PUBLISHER Kathy Dalby RunWashington Media LLC EDITOR IN CHIEF Charlie Ban charlie@runwashington.com SENIOR EDITOR Dickson Mercer dickson@runwashington.com COPY EDITOR Katie Bolton CREATIVE / PRODUCTION AZER CREATIVE www.azercreative.com RUNWASHINGTON PHOTO BY DUSTIN WHITLOW/DWHIT PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at numbers over the last few weeks. On top of analyzing the 2016 Runner Rankings (see page 13), I looked at the races beyond those we ranked. A lot more than the races we ranked — 2,556 races, to be exact. Two years ago, on the heels of counting all the local finishers in marathons nationwide, I thought it would be interesting to see how many people ran road races around the D.C. area. I had no idea what I was getting into. In 2015, I came back to it, powered by a few seasons’ worth of Pistol Shrimps Radio podcasts. When 2016 came to a close, I decided to go back to it, but also to throw 2013 in there to trace the four full years I’ve been editing RunWashington. I scraped my sides crawling through so many rabbit holes and groaned at so many dead links and races that seemed to come and go without a trace. I know it’s not 100 percent complete, but by my count, runners crossed the finish lines of local races more than 1,275,618 times in the last four years. I am working to make my haphazard notes more viewer friendly on our website at runwashington.com, but I have prepared a summary starting on page 20. To put a face with a lot of those races, Kelyn Soong profiles prolific racer Ted Poulos (see page 24). Beth Roessner writes the story of a local runner who accounts for four of those finishes, all at the Marine Corps Marathon, but they have a lot of momentum behind them — he’s the only runner to have finished the race 42 times (see page 9). Seven-year-old Lily Rancourt’s dream, when she was recovering from a heart transplant, was to be one of those race finishers she saw on the Race for Every Child 5k poster. She did it, twice, and Katie Bolton tells her story starting on page 38. In the process of compiling those statistics, I thought about a lot of what’s changed in that time. I chided myself for not running, and melting during, the Springfield 15k while I had a chance, before it became a 6k. Some, like the Shooting Starr 6k, which I ran in 2013, have gone. Still others, like the Cross County Trail Marathon, have grown. While you’re deciding which races you’ll vote for with your feet this year, don’t forget to vote with your index finger for the Best of Washington Running through March 15, online at runwashington.com.

SALES DIRECTOR Denise Farley denise@runwashington.com 703-855-8145 CUSTOMER SERVICE office@runwashington.com BRANDING ORANGEHAT LLC The entire contents of RunWashington are copyright ©2016 by RunWashington Media, 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 four times yearly by RunWashington Media LLC, 4544 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Complimentary copies are mailed to subscribers, area businesses and events. Be advised that running is a strenuous sport and you should seek the guidance of a medical professional before beginning an exercise regimen.

See you out there, Charlie

@runwashington /runwashington

CONTRIBUTORS BETH ROESSNER (Military Running) is an avid runner, writer, home cook and coach living in Washington D.C. She works with newbie runners and wellness seekers to help them achieve all of their goals. KELYN SOONG (A Man for All Race Entry Forms) works in the sports department at The Washington Post and can often be found covering running and tennis in the D.C. area. He is still chasing the elusive sub 5:30 mile.

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@runwashington




Little Bennett Regional Park, Clarksburg, Md.

Photo by Jonathan Bird

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By Jake Klim Little Bennett Regional Park in Clarksburg is the largest park in Montgomery County, encompassing over 3,700 acres of Maryland wilderness. The good news for runners is that this green space also boasts approximately 25 miles of trails, all of which are on natural surfaces. Countless loops and out-and-backs make Little Bennett the perfect place to get lost on a weekend when trail running is on your schedule. In addition, you won’t have to compete with mountain bikers, because they’re not permitted on any of these trails. Horseback riders, however, do frequent some parts of the park, so it’s best to use caution when approaching. The loop outlined below provides a small sampling of what the park has to offer, including thick wooded forests, brilliant meadows, vibrant streams and boggy wetlands. First: getting there. Little Bennett is 23 miles north of where Interstate 270 meets the Beltway. There are nearly a dozen different parking lots in and around the park, but I like to start my adventures at the Froggy Hollow Trailhead Parking Lot off Clarksburg Road, the first point of access you’ll intersect if you’re coming from the south. Grab a paper map from the kiosk — trust me, you’ll want it — and head east down a long, winding hill. You might catch a glimpse of some stone ruins during your descent. Up until the turn of the 20th century, families lived and farmed the lands throughout this valley. In fact, today there are 14 different historical sites and points of interest inside the park. The first prominent structure you’ll run across is the old Kingsley Schoolhouse, located two-thirds of a mile from where you parked. Built in 1893, the one-story building served the area until it closed in 1935. Because we’re all runners here, it’s also worth noting the seasonal port-a-john located close by. Cross Little Bennett Creek, a favorite for brook trout, and turn left on the Kingsley Trail, which resembles a gravel road more than a trail. Eventually the trail will intersect Clarksburg Road, approximately a half mile north from where you parked. Cross the road and continue west along the road, though note that the path is now called the Western Piedmont Trail on your map. As you continue your trek west, you’ll pass a number of trails intersecting from the right and left, all of which are worth exploring later. Pass the small picnic area on your left and continue until you reach Little Bennett Creek. There are no bridges at this stream crossing, so you’ll have to put on your adventure cap and ford your way across.

6 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017

There always seems to be a place to do so a short distance up- or down-stream. If rains have driven the water too high, head back toward the picnic area you’ve just passed and pick up with the directions further down in the article. Once safely across the creek, continue down the dirt road, ignoring the other trails and roads that intersect on the left. Eventually you’ll arrive at Hyattsville Mill, a site that once boasted a number of grist and saw mills, some of which were operational well into the 1930s. You’ve amassed over three and a half miles since starting your run, so now it’s time to turn around and head back, but not before exploring a bit more of the park. Return to the campground you passed about a mile ago and look for the Pine Grove Trail, which will now be on your left. Although the ascent up Pine Grove Trail is sure to get your heart beating, the hills throughout the park are relatively tame and this one is no exception. Because you’ve made it this far, head west and follow signs to the Prescott Road Parking Lot, which doubles as a starting line for a 10k cross country race that the Montgomery County Road Runners Club holds here in the summer. Loop around the 1.2-mile Dark Branch Trail before returning to the Pine Grove and Timber Ridge intersection. For the remainder of the run, you’ll be heading east on a variety of rolling trails — Timber Ridge, Tobacco Barn and Browning Run Trail. Follow Timber Ridge as it passes a number of dilapidated outbuildings, which double as crude motels for eastern rat snakes during the spring and summer months. The Timber Ridge Trail intersects with the Tobacco Barn Trail just before a beautiful meadow, which seems to appear out of nowhere in these thick woods. The remains of the Norwood Tobacco Barn and additional buildings can be seen on your left as you make a steep descent towards a creek crossing. Once you cross the water, begin an arduous climb — the hardest of this run, and possibly the park — until you reach the Browning Run Trail. Take a left and continue to follow the trail as it gradually descends toward the Browning Run Parking Area and across Clarksburg Road. Make a right and cruise down the often steep Purdum Trail until you arrive at the Kingsley Schoolhouse, where you may or may not have used the bathroom earlier in the run. Then use the Froggy Hollow Trail to ascend the roughly half mile back to your car. The run will likely leave you hungry. The Clarksburg Grocery is located just a mile and half away and there is a short order cook who works the greasy spoon grill in the back. They have everything you could possibly want after a 10-mile run through the wilds of northern Montgomery County.


GOLF COURSE ENTRANCE

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SPRING 2017 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 7


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AL RICHMOND, 16 miles into the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. PHOTO BY MARATHON FOTO

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By Beth Roessner Elisa Zwanenburg is in awe of her father as he nears 80 years old. “He’s very determined,” she said. “He’s very competitive. It may be the Marine in him.” Determined is one way to describe it. For over 40 years, Alfred Richmond has laced up his running shoes and competed in every Marine Corps Marathon in Northern Virginia. He is now the last “Groundpounder” to have completed every race. “Honestly, I just didn’t want to be the next one that dropped out,” he joked. “It kind of ended up being a rite of fall.” Richmond doesn’t gloat, nor does he relish in this distinction. It doesn’t seem ingrained in his identity, it’s just fact: He’s the last of the elite group. “There were six of us that were given the label of Groundpounder, and one by one they dropped out,” he said. “We used to tease that we would lock arms and walk across the finish line together. Of course, that didn’t happen.” Some Groundpounders have died, others have had scheduling conflicts and some just couldn’t finish, including North Carolinian Will Brown, whose streak ended in 2016. “The Marine Corps have a favorite expression that, ‘There’s always 10 percent that never get the word.’ That could be us,” Richmond said. “We never got the word that we don’t have to suffer this pain or this discomfort and do this year after year.” The starting gun on that first race went off on Nov. 7, 1976, with just under 1,000 racers. And now it’s one of the biggest races in the world. At the 41st race last October, Richmond ran with his daughter, Elisa Zwanenburg, in a time of 6:39:47. The temperature was a little too hot for his tastes. His great-nephew, a Los Angeles firefighter, also ran the race and joined Richmond for a while. “It was just not my kind of day,” Richmond said. “Elisa was a big encouragement.” “I love running with him,” said Zwanenburg. She has run with her father for four years, and before then used to watch him race. “When I was a kid, I remember going down to the course and passing out oranges to him.” Richmond, 77, has 51 marathons under his

10 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017

belt and countless 5ks and 10ks. At his peak in the 1980s, Richmond was running highmileage weeks and completed several Boston Marathons. His fastest MCM was 3:16:21, set in 1979. But, he wasn’t always a runner—in fact, he never had a desire to run a marathon. After graduating from Lehigh University, Richmond, a Northern Virginia native, joined the Marine Corps and later landed an office job. After 10 years working for a large corporation, Richmond reenlisted as active duty in the United States Marine Corps in 1976. At this time, his colleagues were planning the very first Marine Corps Reserve Marathon — it became Marine Corps Marathon two years later. Richmond’s athletic skill lied in football and sprints. He ran no more than three miles, but he saw how energized a colleague was after a 10-mile run. Richmond wanted some of that, so he balanced training with work. He finished his first marathon in just over four hours. As part of race preparations, Richmond was in charge of athlete tracking and finishing times. Instead of fancy timing chips that attached to bibs or shoes, Richmond used numbered tongue depressors. “As the person came across the line, the first person was handed No. 1. The 300th person was handed number 300,” Richmond explained. “When they took this through the line, someone wrote their bib number on the tongue depressor. I then took all those tongue depressors and lined them up and compare the runner’s number to the master list.” It took Richmond nearly three weeks to compile the final results of the marathon. It was the 15th MCM that tested Richmond’s determination. Months before the fall race, Richmond was mugged at gunpoint and shot three times while vacationing in New Orleans. Recovery was hard and training fell by the wayside. As the race approached, he wasn’t sure he was going to compete. “There was an article in the newspaper, and this guy was bragging that he was the only Marine Reserve Officer who had run every marathon,” Richmond said. The race was a week away. And as he sat at the breakfast table reading the newspaper, his wife interjected, reminding him that he,


too, had run every marathon and needed to compete. “Of course, my reaction was, ‘Where the heck have you been the last three months?’” he said. With his longest training run at six miles, Richmond laced up and ran the race. It felt good to run again, he said, a kind of homecoming. And he’s kept the streak alive ever since. “I’ll do it as long as I can,” he said. There is one runner, much younger than Richmond who has run every marathon except one, he said. “When I stop running, the Groundpounder label will be over.” As any marathoner can attest to, training takes a lot of time. This past cycle, Richmond didn’t hit the roads as much as he wanted and worked his way too fast into his long runs. As he plans to lace up for MCM 42, Richmond wants to train smarter. His goal is to commit to at least four runs per week, with at least two 20-mile runs, and several runs over 15 miles. That’s a tall order to fill with commitments as a grandfather and husband, but Richmond wants to be more disciplined in 2017. “And I’m not necessarily a morning runner. It’s tough to get myself motivated and go out and do it,” he said. He used to run in the afternoon, but now it’s just too difficult. “I would love to break six hours, and I can do that.” But, he stays very active throughout the rest of year by cycling doing shorter runs. And, in his entire football and running careers, he’s never had an injury. That speaks to his longevity. Richmond just isn’t sure when he’s going to stop. Zwanenburg mentioned that the number 47, however, is special to him — it was his jersey number in football. Racing up to the 47th MCM would put Richmond at 83 years old. “I don’t know if I can go up to 47,” joked Zwanenburg, 50. “I’m getting too old. He laughed at how old he is, yet he’s still out there running them.”

Al Richmond at the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon pre-race press conference. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps

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OVERALL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Susanna Sullivan Perry Shoemaker Girma Bedada James Luehrs Tripp Southerland Kerry Allen Nicolas Crouzier Paul Balmer Charlie Ban Chris Van Es

26 45 36 22 32 28 31 26 34 30

1017.5 999.17 992.55 989.665 987.935 988.335 988.515 985.2 985.835 983.85

7 13 6 14 7 11 8 7 15 6

22 26 24 27 27 28 27 23 25 28 28 26 29 26 22 28 26 29 26 29 25

989.665 985.2 966.145 926.44 918.33 915.535 909.075 899.665 872.33 868.785 859.9 841 818.335 817.835 810.835 780.87 774.33 757.17 704 677.67 637.04

14 7 8 6 8 9 6 8 11 6 7 12 6 6 8 8 10 6 9 6 6

1017.5 988.335 977.385 968.5 967.835 961.115 919.88 913.68 895.98 885.965 876.285 872.17 870.62 847.285 845.83 839.305 831.835 821.665 816.665 812.5 796 793.835 780.635 777.835 771.17

7 11 6 8 12 7 8 6 7 8 6 7 8 6 7 10 8 9 12 7 14 7 6 8 9

MEN 20-29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

James Luehrs Paul Balmer Shlomo Fishman Justin Knoernschild Matthew Judd Lokesh Meena Tucker Cole Aaron McCray Nom Guerre Matt Evans Boris Dyatkin Colin Jennings Michael Bannister Eric Fitzgerald Ray Gorski Perry D’Amelio Brian Kapur Yi Wu Gerald Prado Blaine Larson Jamie Lewis

WOMEN 20-29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Susanna Sullivan Kerry Allen Maura Carroll Jennifer Paul Hannah Pearson Rochelle Basil Emily Pollock Melanie Fineman Meghan Ingrisano Kristen Serafin Rachel Steinberg Katy Corum Alexandra Jurewitz Elizabeth Pierpoint Katie Callahan Ivey Wohlfeld Lea Lubag Jeanne Boone Ashley Wellner Julia Lerner Alicia Oken Kira Jackson Jessica Price Julia Kolberg Sarah Proper

26 28 27 29 29 25 28 23 29 28 26 29 29 29 25 29 26 27 29 26 24 28 28 28 23

Susanna Sullivan

Photo by Cheryl Young

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MEN 30-39

By C har l ie B an Most of the local amateurs who raced the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials took it easy for the rest of the year. It was understandable, given the heat in Los Angeles and the toll the race took on their bodies. But Susanna Sullivan, 2016’s top-ranked runner, came right back and raced herself back onto the scene with a 16:22 at the third Crystal City Friday race, less than two months after finishing 20th at the trials. Crystal City ended up being her bestranked race of the year, an objective measure of performance based on her race pace and adjusted for course difficulty and level of competition at roughly 100 USATF-certified races ranging from 5k to the half marathon. If you run the baseline pace, you score 1000; if you are faster or slower, you earn more or fewer points, respectively. Sullivan’s score added up to 1017.5, better than her 1010.8 when she topped 2014’s rankings. She was the only runner to average above 1000, compared to three in 2015 and four in 2014. Last year’s overall top-ranked runner, Chris Kwiatkowski, retired from racing after the Trials. By requiring three races from both halves of the year, the system weeds out great local runners who, say, had strong fall seasons but spent their springs on the track. It ends up truly reflecting the year-round road racing scene. That meant three runners who would have been near the top didn’t make it — Stafford’s Bethany Sachtleben, Arlington’s Matt Deters and Greenbelt’s Thomas Bean. Sachlteben narrowly missed first place at the Crystal City Twilighter, but only had two ranked races from January to June, otherwise she too would have likely broken 1000 and finished second to Sullivan, as she did at the Alexandria Turkey Trot. Deters would have topped the men’s rankings with another second-half race during his Richmond Marathon buildup. His victories at the First Down 5k and the third Crystal City Fridays 5k were his strongest races. Bean was also short a second-half race, having stuck primarily to DC Road Runners races, a British club running tendency he brought with him. Perry Shoemaker maintained her excellent local racing schedule on her way to the runnerup spot, though her crowning achievement, a

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Girma Bedada Nicolas Crouzier Tripp Southerland Charlie Ban Chris Van Es Dickson Mercer Jeffrey Redfern Vinnie DeRocco Aaron Anderson Steve Hammel Joe Kane Exavier Watson Brian Young Michael Pryce-jones Brian McMahon Miguel Matta Kenny Ames Jacob Englander Michael Vega Kyle Edgerton Justin Fritscher Milon Chakrabarti Nathaniel Alberg Gregory Clor Nene Reed

36 31 32 34 30 35 33 37 33 35 30 37 38 39 33 32 39 32 38 36 31 30 31 37 37

992.55 988.515 987.935 985.835 983.85 983.335 977.5 972.165 969.835 962.445 956.4 954.735 948.465 946.815 937.665 934.105 934.9 931.35 926.86 922.335 915.685 911 899 898.835 898.75

6 8 7 15 7 6 9 9 6 7 8 7 9 9 11 14 6 6 13 7 8 16 7 7 10

981.995 968 946.68 940.07 933.665 931.33 930.165 915.335 908.8 902 899.5 893.925 891.845 885.735 885.12 882.335 872.5 868.58 864.165 862.075 856.54 857.3 853.975 853.17 852.165

9 13 8 11 6 9 17 8 13 8 9 7 8 9 8 11 12 8 11 14 8 8 7 9 7

WOMEN 30-39 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Laurel Le Moigne Jessica McGuire Tiffany Hevner Toni Diegoli Elizabeth Clor Lisa Johnston Kelly Buroker Laura Chipkin Elyse Braner Roxanne Caruso Ann Abbott Kristin Bagby Emily Cole Tara Chait Kymberly Jordan Rebecca Makely Kerrianne Rouse Hilary Gawrilow Kate McCartan Melissa Baker Colleen Dahlem Mary Kusler Holly Wittsack Christina Cleary Sonia Jarboe

31 36 35 37 37 35 35 36 32 39 38 33 33 36 33 36 32 34 31 34 34 39 34 32 38

From top: Jimmy Luehrs • RunWashington photo by Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography Andrew Whitacre and Tripp Southerland • RunWashington photo by Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography Kerry Allen • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography Justin Knoernschild (on right) • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography

14 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017


MEN 40-49 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Christopher Shaw Kunihiko Hayashi Keith Freeburn Brian Szabos Sean Hicks Kevin Bell Tyler Stone Stephen Crago Antonio Eppolito Michael Naff William McNary Carlos Barcon Robert Osterried Anthony Drake Kurt Rorvik Eric Lucas Nick Wong Reynolds Wilson Felix Wang Seth Kalish Bill Bernier Frank DeRocco Adam Kiely Christopher Miller Rune Horvik

41 40 42 43 43 47 40 48 48 46 44 42 43 46 42 45 41 44 41 49 41 40 49 43 41

980.23 959.945 955.665 947.735 947.57 945.83 944 942.165 939.95 937.835 936.78 931.76 925.335 924.45 923.5 909.17 909.73 904.835 903.33 896.95 892.79 887.5 879.525 870.83 869.68

6 10 10 6 9 7 8 14 6 7 11 8 9 6 10 9 8 8 9 7 7 15 10 8 9

999.17 937.335 936.81 930.51 924.42 920.5 917.13 913.92 906.75 902.845 901.5 898.565 884.83 876.165 872.5 869 844.67 838 826.535 816.165 814.165 807.835 808.075 805.33 804.665

13 10 7 8 6 8 9 9 7 9 11 7 9 18 8 7 9 7 8 7 16 6 6 8 8

WOMEN 40-49 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Perry Shoemaker Julie Sapper Lisa Reichmann Jennifer Sample Emily Pierce Cathy Ross Yuko Whitestone Kim Isler Julia Taylor Melissa Roy Luz Blakney Sara Zdeb Cindy Kiesel Karen Young Lisa Fox Kerry Connor Alissa Huntoon Edith Aviles Brandy Bauer Lisa Baisden Nicole Mahoney Kate Langbein Marianne Wilson Denise Brien Joanne Gabor

45 44 42 41 41 45 44 48 45 47 49 40 47 48 46 42 43 43 42 43 45 41 41 42 43

victory at the Marine Corps Marathon, was too long to even count as a ranked race. She ran Marine Corps with doubts about whether she’d even be able to finish, after pain in her back and one of her glutes curtailed most of her taper. Breaking 60 minutes on the Reston 10 Miler course ended up being her best performance, though her second-place finish on a windy day at the Army Ten-Miler, the largest road race in the D.C. area, was noteworthy. She broke the 1000 point mark at the Firecracker 5k, the PR Birthday Bash 5k, Leesburg 20k and the Run with Santa 5k. Girma Bedada, our top-ranked man, continued a comeback that started in 2015. He won the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, despite suffering torture by the ethnic majority in his native Ethiopia. The next year, his sister, harassed after his escape, committed suicide. “He was nearly catatonic,” said Alan Parra, his immigration lawyer and coordinator of Black Lion Athletics, a local training group for East African refugees. “He would only speak in a whisper.” According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he started running again late that year to participate in a fundraiser for the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International. Now 36, he is not quite quite back to his peak, Parra said his work schedule makes it hard to train and recover adequately, but he still managed to run 31-flat for the Pikes Peek 10k and win the Parks Half Marathon. His best race, though, came at the Rockville Rotary Twilight 5k, a new iteration of the nowdefunct 8k summer race, where he finished second in 15:55. “He’s a lot more engaged these days, he’s even starting to learn some English,” Parra said. Jimmy Luehrs, a Herndon alumnus and coach, raced a lot. His best race came at the New Year’s Day 5k in Reston, though his Lucky Leprechaun 5k, Twilight Festival Four Mile — both of which he won — Run for the Parks 10k and Run with Santa 5k were no slouches, either. Tripp Southerland’s 15:11 at the Clarendon Day 5k didn’t quite match his 14:55 from the year prior, but this year he was in the middle of Marine Corps Marathon training, and he still broke 1000. He came back from those 26.2 miles to run 32:45 at the Veteran’s Day 10k,

Kristen Serafin and Amy Shramm • Photo by Swim Bike Nene Reed • Photo by Swim Bike Brian Young • Photo by Swim Bike Laurel Le Moigne • Photo by Swim Bike

Run Run Run Run

From top: Photography Photography Photography Photography

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MEN 50-59 but he also ran well at the St. Patrick’s 5k — 15:32 for third place. Though Kerry Allen had won a few races in her career, she had never broken a finish line tape until she won the George Washington Parkway Classic in April. She followed that up with two half marathon wins in the second half of the year, a brutally muggy Riley’s Rumble, which was a course record, and the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, the course altered to finish in Alexandria after the race was unable to get a permit for the traditional last few miles around National Harbor. Her best race came at the Alexandria Turkey Trot 5 Mile, where she finished fifth among women in 28:46. Nicolas Crozier saw his running come to life in the second half of the year. His infant started sleeping longer, allowing him a little more consistent recovery, and his hard work paid off. By mid-November, he had run 31:51 for the Veteran’s Day 10k, his best race of the year, but also the seven-year anniversary of his foray into distance running. He was a little less than a year into his time at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he has worked on an exchange internship from his native France, when he came out to Hains Point and finished the 2009 race in 40:35, for 80th place. “Back then, I probably ran 20 miles all year,” he said. But he kept at it, with encouragement from his wife, who gave him a GPS watch, and his coach: the internet. He’s a computer scientist who focuses on medical device interoperability and communication, and looking back at training data, even on easy days, intrigues him. A Gaithersburg resident, he became a permanent U.S. resident in January and has been a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club Competitive Racing Team. Paul Balmer has made his bones as a 10 mile specialist, but it was the Veteran’s Day 10k that topped his charts. He chilled on a 32:53 there, but his sixth place finish at the brutal RRCA Club Challenge 10 Miler in 53:06 was nearly as good. Charlie Ban never figured he’d wind up ranked in the top 10 and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the ranking system. His paces over his 15 ranked races look like the work of a lunatic. His performance race came shortly

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

54 50 54 51 53 51 53 53 56 54 55 54 52 54 53 55 50 56 56 56 53 52 51 50 52

953.335 936.33 928.12 927.83 926.035 923.665 920.45 920.83 916.665 897.67 896.7 895.83 885.745 881.82 877.67 873.835 860 849.42 846.835 843.63 836.27 835.665 833.95 831.665 829.515

7 6 8 11 7 8 6 6 14 12 11 14 6 6 9 16 9 6 9 6 7 9 11 16 9

WOMEN 50-59 1 Cindy Conant 2 Mandana Mortazavi 3 Mary Bowman 4 Eleanor Kerr 5 Paula Galliani 6 Donna Lekang 7 Janet Braunstein 8 Kathy Cea 9 Sharon Griffing 10 Stacey Miller 11 Charlotte Hyland 12 Joan Holtz 13 Linda Kennedy 14 Julie Donovan 15 Barbara Smith 16 Laurie Horstmann 17 Lidia Baca 18 Daniela Micsan 19 Hunter Benante 20 Marie Bernoi 21 Karen Henry 22 Lorraine Ducharme 23 Licia Scearce 24 Mary Beth Thompson 25 Jan Gronemeyer

From top: Aaron Anderson and Chris Shaw • Photo by Alex Reichmann Joan Holtz • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography Yuko Whitestone • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography Rich Harfst • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography

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Mark Neff Dennis Schemm Kevin D’Amanda Craig Greene Akintunde Morakinyo Howard Frost Larry Grossman Rich Harfst Brian Daugherty Jack Kammerer Ted Poulos Pei Han Rob Bowen Mark Ruckh Joseph Baremore Bill Stahr Jim Black Doc Bodensteiner Peter Tracey Richard Goemann Greg Mastel Joe Oliver Eric London Francis Parks Ken Schoppmann

55 941.815 6 52 939.165 8 51 902.42 11 56 894.255 6 56 862.335 10 52 858.665 7 50 856.065 8 56 854.665 13 57 845.1 6 52 833.76 8 54 832.5 12 50 831.165 6 56 825.375 7 52 819.935 7 58 817.265 7 56 814.165 14 52 800 9 57 800.83 9 53 799.835 13 50 799.67 7 52 799.795 6 52 782.5 6 55 781.185 7 51 775.615 7 54 775.5 11


MEN 60-69 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Bill Loomis Bob Draim James Moreland Gary Morgans Roberto Rodriguez Frederick Voellm Ken Krehbiel John Kehne Jay Jacob Wind Stephen Nettl Michael Kortan Thomas Skelly Steve Feld Craig Brightup Les Pang Paul Heran Robert Lively Bob Peterson Clyde Thompson William Jordan Kurt Doehnert Tom Lahovski Eoin Stafford Michael Rodney-Bey Rick Tucker

62 62 64 63 61 63 63 61 66 63 60 64 65 62 63 68 62 66 61 65 60 69 66 64 62

882.69 881.5 857.33 850.335 850.325 841.67 834.375 831.165 794.26 788.42 787.165 768.835 762.335 737 729.615 713.33 695.33 683.13 674.17 657.5 655.785 631 619 616.095 547.515

9 15 17 6 7 9 10 7 14 11 7 8 11 7 10 12 11 9 6 10 15 10 9 7 9

898.665 891.33 885.895 861.835 850.75 847.5 823.245 814.635 801.665 800.54 784.67 781.635 782 757.835 753.555 733.335 726.665 725.78 707.6 700.82 696.665 695.92 667.665 661.785 636.73

10 13 11 17 7 15 7 8 12 10 7 9 9 10 11 13 11 9 10 7 12 7 8 6 6

WOMEN 60-69 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Mary Lowe Mayhugh Ida Draim Betty Blank Alice Franks Ginny Hughes Merrilee Seidman Hannah Phillips Lizzie Sadoff Carol Hansen-Vessa Maria Nusbaum Sandi Stafford Peggy Davis Virginia Sielen Melanie Brennan Leslie Stanfield Diane White Cindy Feld Karen Craney Lisa Shames Judith Scott Kathleen Cutler Denise Rechter Ivone Gopaul Christine McKenna Wanda Walters

60 60 63 68 65 61 64 67 62 64 62 64 68 66 67 63 62 60 61 65 62 63 62 63 66

after he escaped from the months-long season of covering high school cross country with a 32:43 at the Veteran’s Day 10k on Hains Point, where he woke up and started moving up after rounding the tip of the peninsula. It was only slightly less surreal than having to write a paragraph in the third person about his listless year of racing. Chris Van Es raced sparingly on the local scene, picking up the requisite six races, but he saved his best racing for the hottest night — July’s Crystal City Twilighter 5k, which he ran in 16:06 for 10th place. He ran nearly the same time for the Tidal Basin 5k course that plays host to both the St. Patrick’s 5k (16:07) and now the Jingle all the Way 5k (16:08). No runners under 20 qualified for men and women, and Luehrs and Sullivan led the 20 somethings. Bidada was the top 30 something man, and Laurel Le Moigne led the women’s age group, with particularly good races at the St. Patrick’s 10k (36:54) and the Alexandria Turkey Trot 5 Mile (29:44). Chris Shaw, 41, was the top male master and he bookended his year with identical 980 scores at the New Year’s Day 5k in Gaithersburg and the Jingle All the Way 5k, though his best race came at Veteran’s Day, where he ran 33:08 for 14th place. Shoemaker, 45, won women’s 40-49 age group. Men’s 50-59 age group leader Mark Neff, 54, strayed from Maryland only for the windy mess that was this year’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and the Veteran’s Day 10k, which treated him better. Cindy Conant, 55, another Marylander, also matched her high point among ranked races at Veteran’s Day. D.C.’s Mary Lowe Mayhew, runner up in last year’s 50-59 age group, moved up to the 60s and took charge, running 21:48 at Thanksgiving’s SOME Trot for Hunger 5k. Silver Spring’s Bill Loomis, 62, ran 21:34 to top off his season at the ZERO Prostate Cancer 5k in Arlington, good for 18th place overall. Jim Noone, 72, of Fairfax and Pat Welch, 71, of Vienna, led the men’s and women’s 7079 age group for the second consecutive year and both did quite well at the Firecracker 5k in Reston on July 4. Noone covered the course in 22:13, while Welch ran it in 30:33. Jack McMahon defended his 80+ age group, running the Pikes Peek 10k in 1:05:38. McMahon, 85, lives in Silver Spring.

From top: Roberto Rodriguez • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography Charlotte Hyland • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography Ida Draim • Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography

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MEN 70-79

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Jim Noone John Churchman Lou Shapiro Bill Sollers Ken Quincy Bob Eldridge Jim Verdier John Finney Jr. Robert Havey Thomas Grisard

72 74 75 77 79 76 74 77 72 75

862.92 792.5 760.89 746.83 732.335 703.665 683.465 606 400.9 339.335

10 8 13 6 17 8 7 8 12 8

72 78 73 71 76 72

740 723 718.785 707.835 669.665 578.335

9 16 7 7 23 16

85 81

651.835 420.665

6 11

WOMEN 70-79

1 2 3 4 5 6

Pat Welch Ecris Williams Karen Kautz Sandra Timmons Mandy Whalen Jeanette Novak

MEN 80+ 1 2

Jack McMahon Robert Gurtler

Races where 10+ runners hit their high marks: Veteran’s Day 10k - 18 SOME Trot for Hunger - 13 Clarendon Day 5k - 13 Crystal City Twilighter 5k - 12 Firecracker 5k - 11 Crystal City Fridays 5k #5 - 10

Much more online Check out the interactive Runner Rankings database at www.runwashington.com. There, you can check out individual Runner Rankings profiles, scrutinize race results and compare your performances to other runners’. All rankings are based on information in our system as of Jan. 23. If you suspect an error or omission, please contact rankings@runwashington.com.

The weather was good! Fewer weather cancellations early in the year made it a smoother road to three first-half races, so we stuck to the minimum three races in the first and second half of the year that runners need to qualify.

Why we do it: To standardize race performances between the genders, courses, conditions and truly measure competitiveness. Otherwise any goons could run the Clarendon Day 5k off of the 100+ foot elevation drop and some fumes and claim they’re the fastest in the area. Rankings were compiled by Justin Azoff of the Albany Running Exchange and Chris Farley of Pacers Running Stores Girma Bedada RunWashington Photo by Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photoography

18 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017


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Road and Trail Race Locations, 2013-2016

I-270 CORRIDOR 162

CENTRAL MOCO 148 LOUDON COUNTY 195

RIVER ROAD CORRIDOR 73 NORTHERN PG COUNTY 133

WESTERN FAIRFAX 229 WASHINGTON D.C. 581 CENTRAL FAIRFAX 305

ARLINGTON 178

SOUTHERN PG COUNTY 72 SOUTHERN FAIRFAX 159 PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY 165

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ALEXANDRIA 119


By Charlie Ban

Top 25 largest races 2013-2016 RACE

NUMBER OF FINISHERS

2014 Army Ten-Miler 2015 Army Ten-Miler 2013 Army Ten-Miler 2016 Army Ten-Miler 2013 Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Marine Corps Marathon 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll - DC Half Marathon 2014 Marine Corps Marathon 2016 Marine Corps Marathon 2015 Cherry Blossom 9.39 Miler 2014 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2013 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll - DC Half Marathon 2016 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll - DC Half Marathon 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll - DC Half Marathon 2013 Nike Women’s Half Marathon 2015 MCM 10K 2014 MCM 10K 2013 MCM 10K 2015 Navy-Air Force Half Marathon 2016 George Washington Parkway Ten Miler 2016 Navy-Air Force Half Marathon 2014 George Washington Parkway Ten Miler

26,345 26,312 25,994 24,014 23,513 23,183 19,994 19,689 19,681 17,935 17,848 17,531 16,724 16,009 15,325 14,761 14,502 14,478 7,778 7,647 7,609 5,546 5,339 5,219 5,156

Source: RunWashington research. Totals on map will not match others because some race results did not list a clear location.

Whether trying to win, improve their times, show off fitness or support causes, runners in the D.C. area raced a lot over the past four years. In fact, they totaled 1,275,618 finishes in 2,556 road and trail races, ranging in distance between 1500 meters and 50 miles. Ted Poulos (see page 24) was responsible for a few hundred of them. Altogether, they combined to race 10,228,687 miles, give or take a quarter mile. RunWashington compiled race results from 2013-2016 from timed races that catered to adult runners. The data collected comes from a manual search of two dozen timing services that operate in the immediate D.C. area, which for our purposes includes Washington, D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and within the geographic boundaries of Loudoun, Prince William, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia. After hitting a high in 2014, the number of local finishers dropped off by 5 percent in 2015, then fell 9 percent more in 2016. In comparison, the trade group Running USA noted a 9 percent decline nationally in road racing in 2015. Its 2016 study is not complete. The 334,376 registered race finishers in 2014 fell to 289,188 in 2016, a 13 percent drop. At the same time, the number of races in 2016, 656, was nearly as high as the 663 in 2015. That was a jump from 624 in 2014 and 613 in 2013. The largest shift from 2014 was the loss of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, which counted for more than 14,000 finishers in 2013 and 2014, the 18th and 16th largest races in the area over that time. That changed the gender balance, too, with women making up 56 percent of finishers in 2013 and 2014 and dropping slightly to 54 percent in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, the international parkrun series of free 5k races on Saturday mornings added options: first at Fletcher’s Boathouse, then Roosevelt Island and finally College Park, Md. Those weekly races of several dozen runners, along with monthly Tidal Basin runs in East Potomac Park that attract a handful of 1,500 meter, 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter runners, made up . At least 240 races were held each

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of those four years, not even counting smaller monthly races like the Tidal Basin Runs. Roughly 400 race were just held once. Of the 282 races that were held in 2014, 2015 and 2016, 173 saw drops in finishers with a median drop of 21 percent. The 109 races that grew saw a median finisher increase of 26 percent. The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon (1,503), Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 5k (932) and Fairfax Turkey Trot (631) showed the biggest raw gains over the last three years, while the MCM 10k (2,578), Army Ten-Miler (2,331) and Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon (2,222) showed the biggest losses. The MCM 10k and Army TenMiler both closed registration because they had sold out. The Army Ten-Miler has been the largest race each of the last four years, topping out at 26,345 finishers in 2014. Four years of the Marine Corps Marathon, with the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon in the middle, make up the next five largest races, with the 2015 Cherry Blossom 9.39 Miler rounding out the top 10. Four races recorded one finisher each: the Feb. 18, 2013 Tidal Basin 3k, the Jan. 20, 2014 Tidal Basin 15k, the 2015 Potomac River Run Marathon and the 2015 Hat Harvest Mile. One hundred and twenty-three races had fewer than 10 finishers, though all but 16 were part of the Tidal Basin series. One, the 2014 Cross County Trail Half Marathon, run on a weekday, started at five finishers but grew to 107 and then 133 by 2016. The median finishing size over four years was 165.5, placing it between the: 2013 Michael Pennefather Memorial 5k 2013 Move for Mobility 2014 PVI RunFest 2014 Run for Wounded Warriors Half Marathon

And the 2013 Arlington County Fair 5k 2013 Fall Backyard Burn #6 2014 Father’s Day 8k 2015 Shamrock Run 5k 2015 St. Andrew Apostle Strint 2015 Bastille Day 4 Miler 2015 Summer Sunrise 5k 2016 Inaugural parkrun at Fletcher’s Boathouse 2016 Burke Lake 12k 2016 Sadie’s Race 5k 2016 ARC of Northern Virginia 5k

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Race breakdown

2013-2016

1500/ 1 mile 62 5k 1,571 8k/5 mile 187 10k 281 15k 13 10 mile 93 Half Marathon 96 20 Mile 7 Marathon 80 50k 16 50 Mile 12 other 140

YEAR Race finishers number of races 2013 334,110 2014 334,376 2015 317,944 2016 284,400

613 624 663 656

See more detail online at www.runwashington.com.


Photo by Swim Bike Run Photography

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TED POULOS in typical summer racing attire. PHOTO BY POTOMAC RIVER RUNNING

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By Kely n S oong Ted Poulos was living the lifestyle of a typical post-college student. Employed for the first time since graduation, the 22-yearold indulged himself in happy hours during the week, followed by parties on the weekends. There was no better way to unwind after working long hours as an electrical engineer for IBM. But the constant flow of beer and ample supply of fried food left little room for physical activity, and after about a month of the happy hour scene, Poulos decided it was time for a change – even if it meant giving up the simple, comfortable routine he had fallen into. “It was, ‘Hey, this is fun, but it’s not going to be how I want to treat myself, how I want to treat my body,’” said Poulos, now 55. “So I just started running to keep in shape.” Few, if any, could have imagined the running career that would follow. Poulos is one of the most prolific racers in the country and finished last year having run 5,340 career races over the span of nearly 33 years – an average of about 161 races per year for the McLean resident. In 2003, he set an unofficial record of most races run in a year with 337, which is now held by 66-year-old Bill Stahr, who ran 369 races in 2014. Last year, Poulos competed in 239 races despite being hampered by a hamstring injury he suffered in April. “Once I started running and started improving, I really did want to see how far I could take this, and see how much I could test myself and find out where my limits were,” he said.

‘A fantastic athlete’ Decades before he became an obsessive runner with enviable personal records, Poulos left his high school track tryouts with a bad taste in his mouth. His performances were underwhelming and he failed to make the varsity team, an experience that soured Poulos on running. But the Midwestern kid from Sioux Falls, S.D. and oldest of four children managed to stay active in other ways. Up through college, Poulos played a variety of intramural sports — volleyball, basketball and racquetball. It was all for fun, he said, not serious competition. Those who have competed against Poulos, however, understand that his lack of youth sports pedigree means very little. This is especially apparent when Poulos — all 5-foot-9 and 135 lbs of him — speeds past runners half his age, while frustrating and eliciting awe in those battling for the podium in his age group. “He’s clearly a fantastic athlete,” D.C. Road Runners President Rich Mendelowitz said. “The key is he knows that it takes hard work and he’s willing to put in the work and that’s what separates the boys from the men in running.” Poulos’s very first race began one warm

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summer morning in 1984, when a local ice cream shop near his IBM office in Rochester, Minn. organized a two-mile and 10k fun run. Poulos opted for the two-mile race, thinking 6.2 miles would be beyond his abilities. Running his first race ever, Poulos finished seventh overall with a time of 13:43. He was immediately hooked. “I ended up getting a ribbon. I said, ‘Wow, this is pretty good,’” Poulos said. “It was the summer time, so they had ice cream and all kinds of fun activities afterwards. After that I said, ‘Hey, this is enjoyable. I had a good time, met some really nice people. I want to continue this.’” Since then, Poulos has competed from the 1,500-meters to 3,000-meters, his favorite event, and all the way up to the marathon, where he set a personal record of 2:37:20 at the 1996 Boston Marathon. After moving to the D.C. area in the mid1980s, Poulos joined half a dozen running clubs, including DCRRC and the Potomac Valley Track Club, where he has served as the scorekeeper for the clubs’ race series. Through club events and charity races, Poulos has no shortage of opportunities to compete. There are occasions where Poulos will race three to four times a week on the track, bouncing back and forth between meets. And Poulos not only participates in these races, he puts himself in contention to win. According to Poulos’s meticulously-kept spreadsheet record of his results, which run 62 pages long, he has won a third of the races he’s entered. No one is cutting Poulos from their teams now. “I don’t know anyone his age who runs that competitively over that many races,” Mendelowitz said. “I don’t think a person exists when he’s in shape at that age.”

Passion for racing Poulos rarely strays from his daily routine. He drops off his two young children, 10-yearold Evan and 8-year-old Paige, at school before going on his runs. Having retired from his job as a regional business manager for Hewlett-Packard four years ago, Poulos is able to put in the time

26 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017

to train for races, averaging 35 to 45 miles a week. And while some runners prefer running in a group to stay motivated, Poulos does most of his training on his own. “He likes to challenge himself and kind of thrive off the competition,” said Poulos’s wife, Meg, whom he met at a DCRRC event in 2003. “He likes to meet goals. He’s very disciplined.” In addition to a weekly long run, Poulos will do a track workout twice a week at a nearby high school, plus a six to eight mile run once a week to “make up the strength.” He also lifts weights three times a week focusing on his abs, arms and shoulders and a little bit of legs at the gym in his basement. Gone are the daily happy hour trips, but there are no specific foods or drinks that Poulos will avoid. He credits his “healthy metabolism” to “a lifetime of fitness” for his ability to keep his weight consistent throughout the years. He will even drink the occasional beer with dinner. “His diet is completely ordinary, nothing extraordinary,” Meg said. Simply put, there is no secret formula to Poulos’s success. His training strategy often revolves around racing, and lots of it. “I found that the racing I was doing on the weekends was helping me for my peak racing goals for the year,” he said. “Some people like to do tempo runs, for example. I was using some of my races as tempo runs for my peak performances. It’s a strategy that worked for me.” The strategy has led to multiple U.S. National Masters Championship titles, including a first place finish two years ago in the men’s 50 to 59 age division 4x800 meter relay, and a body of work that Poulos hopes can inspire his children and other people who are looking to become more active. “Once you start something that you enjoy – for me, it happens to be running or racing, but for other people, whatever event you take, whether it’s swimming, walking, skiing, golfing, if you love it, you will do it,” Poulos said. “And if you keep doing it, you’ll get in shape. And that’s the best thing you can do for yourself. To find that love and find whatever your passion is and do it and do it consistently. You’ll have a better lifestyle if you do that.”


Photo by Ken Trombatore

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Sandra Charles RunWashington photo by Sara Alepin/Photos from the Harty

28 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017


By Ashley Rodriguez

RunWashington collects reports of assaults on runners or on running trails in an online map in the resources section of www.runwashington.com.

Washington-area runners are fortunate to have miles upon miles of trails and paths at their disposal. We can essentially run clear from one side of the metro area to the other and everywhere in between. But the region’s weather extremes, our isolated and dully lit trails, and our blighted stretches of paths often force many runners to shift their routines — for safety’s sake. Even for those who feel they know Washington’s labyrinth of streets and trails like the back of their hand, sometimes runners can go more than a mile without another person in sight. This can leave runners vulnerable, as one runner who anonymously shared her story with us remembered. New to the area, she set out one evening to run the Capital Crescent Trail after hearing her colleagues often talk about it. She had scoped out her itinerary on Google Maps that day, confident she’d spot her turnaround point — the Georgetown Reservoir — from the trail. When she passed the boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove, she realized she had gone too far and suddenly found herself nearly alone as the sun set. “The people on the trail were beginning to thin out and I knew I should turn around,” she said. “I decided to ditch the towpath and run on the lower paved trail because I thought more people would be on it.” It was 8:45 p.m. The trail was dark and deserted. She picked up the pace. Suddenly, someone grabbed her from behind. “An arm had latched across my neck … and was pulling me backward,” she said. “At first I thought it had to be a joke or a prank, but as I pulled on the arm, he didn’t let go. I started hitting him in what I figured to be his face with my phone and he seemed to let go for a minute. I thought I could catch my breath and wiggle away, but he tightened his grip and everything went black.” She woke up, dazed, and found the man sexually assaulting her. She screamed. “I was screaming more than I ever have in my life and he took off running,” she said. A few minutes later, she ran into a man on a bike who called 911. This story is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Over the last several years, there have been dozens of reports of assaults, or attempted assaults, on joggers running alone. Most runners will never be in any actual danger, but that doesn’t stop — and shouldn’t stop — them from being overly cautious and developing a slight sense of paranoia that

SPRING 2017 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 29


something could happen. To protect themselves, local runners have used a variety of strategies. Common among them is to familiarize themselves with their running route. Some even do so at a gradual pace, slowly chipping away at it to build up their comfort and confidence. It took another runner, Sara, a while to muster up the courage to venture farther out along her route on the Anacostia Trail, suspicious of a specific area where she often saw people loitering under a bridge. “I would run to right before [the] underpass and then turn around,” she said. “I finally did run through, picking up my pace. I think I heard some guy say something to me, but I wasn’t paying attention, so I’m not sure. I still don’t go that way very often. It has to be light out for me to go.” Like Sara, Melisa Augusto, of Logan Circle, tackled the Mount Vernon Trail a bit at a time. She started with a group, so she could get to know the lay of the land. “Once I am confident I know where a trail leads ... I feel better about going solo,” she said. For Abby, of Adams Morgan, it’s more than just being familiar with the twists and turns along her route. She has an escape plan. “I get to know the businesses on my route in case I need to duck into one … if I feel unsafe,” she said. But even the atmosphere of the most tried-and-true routes can drastically change from day to night. Augusto has had to slowly build up her confidence to run her usual route when it’s dark. “I’ve been pushing the boundaries on how dark it might be outside. This morning I went out at 5:30, which is pretty dark and would have been out of my comfort zone a year ago. But since I know my way more confidently, I know where I regularly see people, where it’s well-lit.” No matter how well-lit a trail is, they’re bound to have ominous dark pockets that can deter many from running alone. This applies to Kelly Fisher, who once had a scare along her usual run from Georgetown to Hains Point. It ended up being nothing, but was enough to shake her. “I heard a noise and turned around. A guy was walking out of the bushes near where I was running. I honestly think he was just relieving himself, but it definitely scared me,” Fisher said. “Nothing happened, but that is one of the reasons that I’ll only run that route in the dark if I have someone else with me. It just made me realize how easy it would be to have something unexpected happen especially because I know I tend to zone out when I’m running.” Augusto recalled a morning run along an isolated portion of the Mount Vernon Trail when she noticed a man on a bike “clearly not outfitted to be cycling for exercise.” He passed her at least three times, according to Augusto. “He looked back at me the second time he

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PHOTO BY BOSSI; COURTESY OF FLICKR


passed, which struck me as unusual,” she said. “So, for the rest of that run I was repeating to myself a good description of him, and figuring out escape plans should he approach. Again, I was lucky this didn’t end up in a bad situation — maybe just my paranoia at play!” Augusto and her running partner, Rudy Alvarez of Adams Morgan, have had several scares while running together at night, but, fortunately, they’ve only been startled by other runners. Lately, they’ve taken a safety precaution by amending one of their usual routes along Beach Drive because of recent construction that has led to road closures. “Melisa and I always talk about how lonely that area is and how there are no cars driving along that area anymore because the road is closed,” Alvarez said. “We saw a girl running with headphones on the other day oblivious to the world and we could only think that she would have no clue if someone ran up to her. It’s a frightening thought. I’m a guy and I still get nervous that someone’s gonna run to me in that area.” Augusto never runs with headphones, calling this her “number one rule.” “I like to be able to hear everything around me, and to be aware,” she said. “Music is a distraction, and I think headphones can easily make you a target.” While sticking to familiar routes, running with a group, and staying alert can help limit runners’ chances of being a target, some opt for more tangible measures. Sandra Charles, who lives in Hill East, is keen on preparing for the worst after hearing repeated stories of sexual assaults and muggings, some of which have occurred in her own neighborhood. She carries her cell phone, wears a Road ID bracelet and light or reflective clothing, and at one time carried what she calls “mugger money” — between $5 and $20, “just in case,” she said. She’s also run with a pocketknife. Similarly, Sara, of Rosslyn, insists on carrying some sort of protection. She uses an app, Lifeline, that will send her physical description and GPS location to local police if she feels like she’s in danger. “I have never had to use it, but I like this app because it contacts the police instead of a friend who might not know how best to help me if I am in trouble,” she said. Fortunately, most area runners will never encounter a problem or be in any danger, but the runner who was assaulted on the Capital Crescent Trail, who still gets anxious when strangers run directly behind her, offers a word of caution. “Tell someone where you go and approximately what time to expect you. But probably most importantly, know your route. Nighttime is not the time to try out new routes. Always be alert. And don’t be afraid to stop mid-run and turn around and look at someone following you,” she advised. “I did not see or hear my attacker, but now if someone gets too close I simply stop and wait for them to pass and look them straight in the eye.”

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EVERY SATURDAY

03/18/17

04/16/17

FLETCHER’S COVE PARKRUN

LUCKY LEPRECHAUN 5K

CRYSTAL CITY 5K FRIDAYS

WASHINGTON, DC

RESTON, VA

ARLINGTON, VA

ROOSEVELT ISLAND DC PARKRUN

03/19/17

04/21/17

WASHINGTON, DC

SPRING THAW TRAIL SERIES AT CONWAY

LOCALS FOR LOCALS 5K

COLLEGE PARK PARKRUN

ROBINSON STATE FOREST

WASHINGTON, DC

COLLEGE PARK, MD

GAINESVILLE, VA

04/22/17

SCOPE IT OUT 5K RUN/WALK FOR

CRYSTAL CITY 5K FRIDAYS

LOVE THE RUN YOU’RE WITH 5K

COLON CANCER AWARENESS

ARLINGTON, VA

ARLINGTON, VA

WASHINGTON, DC

02/19/17

HEALTHY STRIDES 5K/10K

LOCALS FOR LOCALS 5K

FAIRFAX STATION, VA

GEORGE WASHINGTON BIRTHDAY

WASHINGTON, DC

STEP SISTERS’ RIBBON RUN 5K

02/12/17

MARATHON AND RELAY

03/25/17

GREENBELT, MD

LOUDOUN SOCCER 5K

LOUDOUN HALF AND 8K

02/25/17

LEESBURG, VA

ASHBURN, VA

CLOUD SNAPPLE HALF MARATHON

MARINE CORPS 17.75K

MARYMOUNT 5K

WASHINGTON, DC

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA

ARLINGTON, VA

PANTHER PRIDE

04/01/17

4/23/17

RESTON, VA

PIECE OF CAKE

FLYING PIRATE HALF MARATHON AND

03/04/17

GAITHERSBURG, MD

FIRST FLIGHT 5K

SENECA PARK TRAIL MARATHON & 50K

VAN METRE 5 MILE RUN

NAGS HEAD, NC

GAITHERSBURG, MD

ASHBURN, VA

ORAL CANCER FOUNDATION 5K

03/05/17

04/07/17

SILVER SPRING, MD

RESTON 10 MILE

BEN’S RUN

RUN FOR JUSTICE

RESTON, VA

SILVER SPRING, MD

FAIRFAX, VA

ST. PAT’S RUN

4/08/17

GEORGE WASHINGTON PARKWAY

WASHINGTON, DC

CRYSTAL CITY 5K FRIDAYS

BURKE LAKE 12K

ARLINGTON, VA

FAIRFAX STATION, VA

04/09/17

03/11/17

EASTER CLASSIC 5K/10K

ASHBURN, VA

CLASSIC 10 MILE AND 5K ALEXANDRIA, VA

04/28/17 PIKES PEEK 10K ROCKVILLE, MD

SPRING THAW TRAIL SERIES AT

ARLINGTON, VA

WILLOWSFORD

SILVER SPRING 5K RACE

04/29/17

ALDIE, VA

SILVER SPRING, MD

PARK TO PARK HALF MARATHON

DC ROCK N’ ROLL MARATHON AND HALF

BREAK A SWEAT FOR A HOMELESS PET

WAYNESBORO, VA

MARATHON

5K

CRYSTAL CITY 5K FRIDAYS

WASHINGTON, DC

FAIRFAX, VA

ARLINGTON, VA

FOUR COURTS FOUR MILER

PRISON BREAK 5K/10K

CAPITAL FOR A DAY 5K

ARLINGTON, VA

LORTON, VA

OLNEY, MD

3/12/17

04/14/17

DRAFT DAY DASH 5K

FORT HUNT 10K

RUNNERS MARATHON OF RESTON AND

ALEXANDRA, VA

HALF MARATHON RESTON, VA

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LANDOVER, MD


Virginia German Shepherd Rescue

Bethesda, MD

Father’s Day 8k

Race

Hope for Henry’s 5K

Washington, DC

Fairfax Station, VA

Bethesda, MD

Run with Dad 5k

Bright Beginnings 5k

05/20/17

Washington, DC

Mothers Helping Mothers 5K

6/24/17

Glow South Riding

Springfield, VA

Fathers Helping Fathers10K/5K

South Riding, VA

Germantown 5 Miler

Springfield, VA

Germantown, MD

Suds and Soles 5k

Logan’s Run 5k

05/21/17

Rockville, MD

Silver Spring, MD

Adam’s Angels 5k

Uperhero 5k

Fairfax, VA

Leesburg, VA

Semper Fi 5K

04/30/17

05/06/17

Washington, DC

Frederick Running Festival

Marine Corps Historic Half

Frederick, MD

Fredericksburg, VA

Horizons at Norwood 5K

05/28/17

Bethesda, MD

Memorial 4 Mile

Break the Silence on Ovarian

Rockville, MD

Cancer

05/29/17

National Harbor, MD

05/07/17

Alexandria Running Festival Half Marathon and 5K

La Milla de Mayo (mile)

Alexandria, VA

Gaithersburg, MD

06/03/17

Loudoun Lyme 10K/5K/1K Ashburn, VA Friends of Montessori Education

The Baltimore 10 Miler Baltimore, MD

5k

06/10/17

Arlington, VA

Jeremy’s Run

AOL 5k

Olney, MD

Dulles, VA

Run Amuck

05/13/17

Quantico, VA

Harper’s Ferry Half Marathon

Lawyers Have Heart 10k/5k Washington, DC

Harper’s Ferry, WV

06/11/17

Delaware Marathon Running

Twilight Festival 4 Miler

Festival

Ashburn, VA

Wilmington, DE

06/17/17

05/14/17

Celebrate Fairfax 5k

Vienna Elementary 5k

Fairfax,VA

Vienna, VA

06/18/17

Mother’s Day 4 Miler

Run for Roses 5k

Reston, VA

Wheaton, MD

Run Aware 5k

Reston, VA

Upcoming races is not a comprehensive listing of road races, but are chosen for their proximity to the Washington, D.C. area. Listings are based largely on information provided by race directors on the free online race calendar at www.runwashington.com. Race directors should be advised to add their races to the calendar as soon as possible to aid inclusion in this listing. It is wise to confirm event details with organizers before registering for an event. Date and times are subject to change. If you would like to have your race being run between May and September listed in our next print edition, please add it to our online calendar by April 1. RunWashington photo by Dustin Whitlow/DWhit Photography

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By A n d r e w G at e s As the years and the miles add up, when you’ve seen the same trail hundreds of times, it can be hard to remember your first impression of running in D.C. But untold numbers of new runners move here each month, and their perceptions of the area, compared to where they lived before, are still fresh. Meet five of DC’s newest runners and their perspectives on running in the area.

Claire Carmody, Cimone Safilian, Daniel Ritter and Christina McGrath RunWashington photo by Joy Asico

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Christina McGrath Arlington

For some, coming to D.C. can mean losing the treadmill and running outside. After finishing at Johns Hopkins, Christina McGrath was looking for fresh start in a new city. She set her sights on the D.C. area and moved to Arlington in May for a gap year while she applies to medical school. Her 6,000-person hometown of Rowley, Mass. was not a hotbed for running. “I wouldn’t really say there is a huge running scene there,” says McGrath. “It wasn’t until college that I really started to love [running].” She started running as a way to deal with stress in college, and she signed up for the 2013 Nike Women’s Half Marathon and grew to love the sport. But she did not love training in the streets of Baltimore. “Running in Baltimore wasn’t great because it’s dangerous,” she said. So she did the majority of her training on the treadmill, with very little of her mileage outside. McGrath finds that she feels a lot safer running in D.C. “Running on the trails, you never feel like you’re in danger and you never worry about cars and you always pass other runners, which is great.” Now she is an avid outdoor runner. Her favorite places to run include the Custis Trail, Key Bridge and the National Mall. She ran the Marine Corps Marathon, where she set a new PR and qualified for Boston. The biggest downside for her is the hot and humid summer weather. Apart from that, McGrath has a lot of other positive things to say about running in the area, citing the beautiful sights, the cool fall weather and the abundance of other runners. “It seems like it’s a very active place, whether running or cycling or [doing] fitness in general. It’s an exciting place to live.”

Daniel Ritter Washington, D.C.

Like McGrath, Daniel Ritter did not grow up in a running community. He moved to D.C. from Springfield, Ohio to attend American University. He started running track in high school, and he placed seventh in the state in the mile. He even competed against now-Olympic bronze medalist, Clayton Murphy, back when Murphy was just a high school senior. Though his hometown had a competitive

high school running scene, Ritter did not see a lot of opportunity to run at other levels. “Running is not a big deal in Ohio once you graduate high school,” he says. “Springfield is not a running community at all. If I’m running in a neighborhood, I only see one or two casual joggers.” After moving to D.C., Ritter was surprised by the high number of runners out on a given day. “The first week I was here, I found a bike trail and passed hundreds of people in the ten minutes I was there,” he said. He finds that the abundance of runners also leads to a more accepting community of non-runners. “Running communities are very welcoming in general, but here, people who aren’t runners or aren’t currently running are very nice. At home I would get cat-called in short shorts or running without a shirt, but here I haven’t gotten anything at all, which surprises me,” he said. “I feel like D.C. just in general is more welcoming, drivers too.” Ritter’s favorite place to run is Rock Creek Park, though he also enjoys the Battery Kemble Trail, the Glover Archbold Trail and Foxhall Road. Though he has only run one race in the D.C. so far, he looks forward to racing more. “I’m really excited to be part of the racing scene here. I ran the Navy Mile and really enjoyed that. I’m excited to run some of the keynote races like Cherry Blossom.” Mostly, Ritter is just excited to be part of a more competitive post-high school scene. “Here you can go to any decent-sized 5k and have a lot of competition. It’s good to really push races and not do it all solo. You can’t do that back home.”

Hannah Preston Alexandria

Though she may be a newcomer to the area, post-collegiate professional runner Hannah Preston is no newcomer to running. Preston is a city girl at heart. Originally from Chicago and more recently from Nashville, she moved to Alexandria in August when her husband took a new job. Preston finds a lot of similarities between Nashville and D.C. With strong running schools like Belmont and Vanderbilt, the competition back home was always strong. “Nashville is a very fit city,” she said. “Lots of bikers and runners.” Nashville has good trails and places to run, though Preston says D.C. is still better. “In general, there’s a lot more people out [in D.C.] and it’s a lot more scenic for sure,” she said. “I’ve run in a lot of areas where cars

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get mad at you, but that’s not the case in D.C. People are very accustomed to pedestrians and runners. It’s a good community to run in. [It’s] safe.” Preston also appreciates that her runs are not limited to roads or concrete. “For me, the biggest convenience is the access to soft surface. And it’s scenic. You get to run on soft surface by the Tidal Basin and the Mall. So there’s a lot there.” As a professional runner, Preston does not always choose her running route on a given day. Workout days and longer runs are planned for her by her coach in Fairfax. Those runs mainly take her to Burke Lake, Lake Fairfax or the Manassas Battlefield. “Even a quick drive out into the suburbs like Reston, Fairfax and Burke, there are so many soft surfaces, especially compared to Nashville. That wasn’t something I’d expected at all.” On the days she can choose her own route, Preston prefers to run on the C&O Canal or the Mall. She also tries to run the Mount Vernon Trail at least once per week just to get some flatter mileage. The one thing Preston misses most about running back home is the abundance of loop trails. “I find that a lot of my favorite trails, the ones that are loops, are quite a bit out in the suburbs,” she said. Many of the local trails like the Mall or Mount Vernon are all out-andbacks. Preston’s first race in the area was the Parks 10k, which she won. She primarily races the 10k for now, though she hopes to transition into longer distances.

Claire Carmody Arlington

Claire Carmody may be new to Arlington, but she is not new to Virginia. Having lived in Richmond her whole life, Carmody moved to the D.C. area in August to start George Mason’s master’s program in social work. Running in Richmond involved sticking mostly to parks or neighborhoods. Carmody says she rarely ran in the city. Carmody competes in a variety of half and full marathon distances and works a local barre studio. She is not training for anything right now but plans to do a half marathon and 10 miler in the spring. When first arriving in D.C., Carmody says she was surprised by the beautiful scenery. “There’s a lot more to see when you’re running.” She also was surprised by the number

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of runners out on any given day. “No matter what time of day you go, there’s always someone going there,” she says. “I feel like it’s very runner friendly [here]. Cars are pretty cognizant of the fact that there are runners. Even bikers are well aware. That was not the case in Richmond.” Her favorite places to run include the Mount Vernon Trail, the Tidal Basin and Georgetown. She prefers out and back routes and uses monuments as turnaround points. The biggest cons, she says, are the traffic and the pavement, especially in her neighborhood around Rosslyn. “Going to Georgetown is hard through Rosslyn, especially if you’re trying to do interval training, and the pavement feels like it’s killing your shins.”

Cimone Safilian Arlington

Some runners are more serious than others. Cimone Safilian runs casually to stay in shape. She’s not training for anything, not planning to set any records and describes herself as a “leisurely” runner. Originally from Detroit, Safilian moved to Arlington in August to earn her master’s degree in psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, which has a campus in downtown D.C. Though she enjoys running outside, it was hard for Safilian to find running groups and trails in Detroit. She finds that this is not the case in D.C. “I feel like I always see people running everywhere in the city and there are a ton of trails and they’re easy to find,” she says. She also prefers the weather conditions and beautiful scenery. Overall, Safilian loves the new city. “There’s a lot to do. I feel like there’s always something going on,” she says. Safilian ran track and field in high school, competing in the 800 and 3200 meter races. In 2006, she was injured while competing in the Chicago half marathon and has not run a serious race since then. Though she has no races planned, Safilian says she wants to complete another half marathon in the future and wants to do it in D.C. Her favorite places to run include the Mount Vernon Trail, Key Bridge and Georgetown.



Lily Rancourt RunWashington photo by Doug Stroud

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By Katie Bolton On Oct. 1, 2016, seven-year-old Lily Rancourt wore her Wonder Woman costume and brand new red sneakers with “hero” and “heart” on the tongues. With her family and friends, she braved cold and rain to toe the starting line for the Race for Every Child 5k in D.C. At Lily’s urging, “We Don’t Miss a Beat” became the largest team at the race, and along the way, team members raised more than $18,000 for the Cardiology and Heart Fund at Children’s National Medical Center, making it one of the top fundraising teams, too. The Rancourt family finished together in 1:04:48. Lily spent the entire race dashing ahead of her siblings, then waiting for them to catch up, offering encouragement. Lily inspired and motivated an entire team to join her that gray October day and raised money for children to receive treatment for all types of cardiovascular problems. But Lily Rancourt isn’t just a big-hearted little girl. Behind the hero logo across Lily’s chest that day hid another heroic mark, a scar left when Lily received her own heart transplant one month before her fifth birthday. Since then, the first grader has regained her health and achieved her dream of running and playing with her siblings.

Taking Risks Lily was born July 22, 2009 in inner Mongolia with a congenital heart defect. She lived in an orphanage and underwent two open-heart surgeries before doctors deemed her terminal and declined further treatment. She held on as family after family reviewed her adoption file and chose not to bring her home with them. She seemed like too big of a risk. “I just could not get her off my heart. I kept feeling that if nobody goes for this little girl, then she’s going to die an orphan because they’re saying that she’s terminal and there’s nothing that could help her,” she remembered. Jacques hesitated. Four children, one of them critically ill, seemed overwhelming to a young family. Emily asked him to pray about it. “I really think this is our daughter,” she told him. After being adopted, Lily began a difficult course of medical exams and treatment. Doctors at Children’s National Medical Center found that Lily’s major organs were all mirrored from their usual positions in the body, complicating any surgeries. Her right pulmonary artery no longer pumped blood to her right lung. With one lung out of commission, the real danger came from a heart that was only half-formed and could not move enough oxygen-rich blood to help Lily grow, run or play like other four-year-olds. Her doctors performed two more open-heart surgeries, and Lily and her mother spent the better part of two years living in the hospital as the girl clung to life. At each phase, the family wondered if Lily would be strong enough to survive the next surgery or even

the next day. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in children, so the team at Children’s knows typical patterns and expected outcomes for most of the children it sees. In Lily’s weakened state, with just one lung and extensive scar tissue from her previous surgeries, she would be an extremely risky transplant. Doctors across the region declined three times to place her on the heart transplant list, reminding Emily that donated organs are rare. She recalled them saying: “‘we need to make sure that the recipient of these organs is as healthy as possible so that this donation can actually make a difference in a life.” Dr. Janet Scheel had recently been hired to rebuild the center for Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant at Children’s, so she felt particularly cautious. “At first I told the family she might be too high-risk to do there at Children’s. Then of course her personality made me relent and take the risk and I’m glad I did,” she said. Early on June 14, 2014, Lily’s transplant began, and her new heart was in place less than 12 hours later. Long before the transplant, playing with her sisters often ended with Lily blue-lipped and struggling to breathe. After, she was breathing with one lung and on oxygen. Her muscles had atrophied over months in the hospital, so she traveled to and from physical therapy in a stroller. Though weak, she remained hopeful. When she saw posters promoting the Race for Every Child, they inspired her. “Any time anybody would ask her, ‘What are you going to do when you’re out of the hospital?’ she would always tell them, ‘When I’m better and I’m out of the hospital, I’m going to run,’” her mother remembers. It became her mantra: I want to run.

Farther Than That “Why do we call it your hero’s heart?” Emily asked Lily. “Because it’s a hero?” Lily tried. “Because a hero gave it to you,” Emily reminded her, and Lily nodded solemnly. The Rancourts don’t know much about their donor yet. There was a car crash and the victim’s lungs could not be donated, so Lily received their heart and pulmonary arteries. Doctors had hoped to restore blood flow to her right lung but were unsuccessful. The family does know that the surgery was difficult — it lasted most of the day and Lily went into cardiac arrest several times. Recovery was no easier. Lily took 26 medications per day under the watch of a nurse. Doctors thought she might need her supplemental oxygen tank for the rest of her life. Her healthy heart struggled to adjust to her single lung and she remained frail and vulnerable. At this point, stressed and exhausted, Emily started running. Her own mother began running marathons at age 60 and encouraged her daughter to try it as a form of self-care.

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In those quiet moments, Emily found her own love of running, and when she came home, she could expect Lily and her nurse to be cheering her on from the driveway. With Lily still ailing, Emily began to wonder if the girl would ever be able to run and play. Lily’s medical team encouraged Emily to start Lily off like any beginner — see how far she could go, and the next time, try to go just a little farther. So Emily brought Lily’s portable oxygen tank outside and the two ran to the next house on their street, a distance of about 200 feet. Within a few days, Lily was running a few houses, and then Emily was bringing a stroller along so that Lily could take breaks as they ran longer and longer distances. About a year after the transplant, at a follow-up appointment, Lowell Frank, a runner and one of Lily’s cardiologists in her long history with Children’s, suggested that she run the 100-yard dash at the Race for Every Child. Emily remembers Lily asking how far that was. When Dr. Frank showed her, the girl was unimpressed. “I can run way farther than that,” she told him. “In hindsight, that was probably a big insult, huh?” said Frank, laughing as he heard the story. With the approval of Scheel, they agreed that Lily should try the 5k distance. In October of 2015, Lily donned a Supergirl costume and lined up with just her mother, after bad weather rescheduled the race. Emily carried her oxygen tank and pushed a stroller so the girl could take breaks. Just 15 months after her transplant, Lily finished the race by running into Dr. Frank’s arms for a hug. By 2016, Lily needed neither the oxygen nor the stroller to complete the race, which is fortunate because Lily’s brother Thaddaeus has been undergoing procedures for his own openheart surgeries and, potentially, his own heart transplant, and he rode alongside his sisters. When he’s ready, Lily is keen to help coach Thad in his recovery and running. But she’s going to start with her mother, who is nervous to jump from the 10-mile distance to a half-marathon. “I have to teach her!” Lily gushes. “I’ll get a whistle and I’ll blow it and then she will have to run! Around the cones! Until I say stop, I say stop and I blow the whistle.” Then she’ll help Thad in his recovery, because she remembers her own sadness at not being able to play. Then she’ll coach her sister Mackenzie hardest of all, making her do “jumping laps.” “It’s like a jumping jack run all around the cones and it’s going to get harder and harder for her. And she’s gonna think, ‘I can’t do it!’” said Lily, who, as you can see, doesn’t exactly traffic in self-doubt.

Princess on the Run On a snowy Saturday morning, Emily and I asked Lily how running makes her feel. “Happy!” she cried, leaning towards me and grinning from ear to ear with the

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checkerboard smile of a child well-known to the Tooth Fairy. She added, “It makes me have a lot of energy.” When she runs, she can feel her heart beating in her chest and feel grateful that she’s no longer in the hospital. “We always said that Lily looks like Snow White,” Emily said. “We put a red bow in her hair and she looks like Snow White. And so we have a lot of pictures of her in the hospital in her little red bow.” Lily has more in common with Snow White than the fair skin and black bob. She is warm, generous and giggles infectiously. In the Disney film, Snow White’s jealous stepmother orders a hunter to kill the girl and cut out her heart; unlike Snow White, Lily’s heart surgery was wanted and ended happily. Lily plans to dress as Disney’s version of the princess for the 2017 Race for Every Child but she prefers the Snow White depicted in her favorite book, Princesses on the Run by Smiljana Coh. Lily started clapping excitedly as she described the book. In the story, princesses run away from their castles to escape the idleness of royal life. When they return home, they change their habits to become happier. Rapunzel gets a bob so she can exercise comfortably, Lily remembered. “Sleeping Beauty was doing yoga and Snow White was still running.” “Snow White was pretty much the one convincing everyone to keep running. She never stopped,” Emily explained. “We said, that’s just like Lily! She was always encouraging her sisters to keep running during the race and just like Snow White, who never stopped running.”

The Girl on the Posters A new heart can transform a child’s life, and Lily’s doctors want their patients to have full, unlimited childhoods after these difficult procedures. “Patients like Lily, who were born with congenital heart disease … often haven’t been as active simply because they don’t have the stamina,” Scheel said. The parents, she said, become accustomed to having a sick child, “and I come along and say, ‘Okay, they can go to school. They can go to gym.’ They look at me like I’m crazy.” But according to Frank, very few heart transplant recipients need to restrict their activities afterwards. “I’m typically optimistic and I counsel parents all the time that, you know, your kid’s a normal kid, they could be a normal kid. Seeing Lily able to do that is really gratifying,” he said. At the hospital, Lily used to see posters promoting the Race for Every Child and dream of running. Now, she’s the one on the posters, beaming with every inch of her being, superhero logo on her chest, cape billowing behind her. Another child, perhaps sleeping in Lily’s old bed, can draw strength from this girl who has been through so much.


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First row: Julia Reicin, Patrick Lynch and Saurav Velleleth, Abigail Green, Second row: Rachel McArthur and Kate Murphy, Brandon McGorty, Harry Monroe, Samantha Schwers, Third Row: Taylor Kitchen, Page Lester, Heather Holt and Megan Lynch, Jack Mackey and Ahmed Hassan, Fourth Row: Ryan Lockett, Rohann Asfaw and Peter Morris, Conor Lyons (in yellow), Olivia Beckner. Photos by Charlie Ban, Bruce Buckley, Ed Lull and Dustin Whitlow

A L L R U N WA S H I N G T O N CLASS

Rohann Asfaw Ahmed Hassan Ryan Lockett Patrick Lynch Conor Lyons John Mackey Brandon McGorty Harry Monroe Peter Morris Saurav Velleleth Olivia Beckner Abigail Green Heather Holt Taylor Kitchen Page Lester Megan Lynch Rachel McArthur Kate Murphy Julia Reicin Samantha Schwers

SCHOOL

Senior Richard Montgomery Junior Oakton Junior Poolesville Senior George C. Marshall Senior Lake Braddock Senior T.C. Williams Senior Chantilly Senior Gonzaga Junior Loudoun Valley Senior Thomas Jefferson Junior South Lakes Junior Walter Johnson Junior George C. Marshall Senior Lake Braddock Junior National Cathedral School Freshman Georgetown Visitation Senior Patriot Senior Lake Braddock Senior Winston Churchill Senior Lake Braddock

By Charlie Ban Nearly every week of the Fall gave local runners a chance to prove themselves on the cross country courses, whether it was withstanding the heat, conquering hills, or just out-sprinting the competition. RunWashington’s coaches panel selected 10 boys and 10 girls for our All-RunWashington Postseason Team, along with groups of seven for the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia teams. Of the 62 total runners, 17 contributed to their teams’ state championships, with four teams winning for the first time in their respective histories. George C. Marshall’s girls made their first trip to the Virginia 5A state meet in 2014, when then-freshman Heather Holt won her first individual title. The team came back twice more, and on Nov. 12 topped Tuscarora, while Holt won her second crown. On her way to the state meet, Holt won a slew of invitationals — Monroe Parker, Oatlands, DCXC, Glory Days, Third Battle — and trailed only Kate Murphy at Great American. She finished second at the Foot Locker South meet, a year after missing the national meet by one place, and finished 27th in San Diego. She found a way to deal with her nerves during races by focusing on her form, which helps her block out the pressure from other runners. She teamed up with Ava Bir (a Virginia team honoree), Hannah Smith, Sophie Tedesco and Jenna Robbins. Statesman coach Darrell General appreciated his team’s depth and used it to motivate his already-competitive girls to race even more tenaciously. “I tell the other girls to pretend we don’t have Heather,” he said. “And we pretend our 2-6 are racing everyone else’s 1-5.” Walter Johnson, which by comparison won its fourth-straight Maryland 4A title, also had that luxury. Abbey Green’s second runnerup finish gave the Wildcats some breathing room over T.S Wootton’s second place finish. Katrione Kirsch was on each of the state champion teams and was named to the Maryland team. She, along with Sadie Keller, Janet Scott, and Sophia Scobell, finished in the top 25. Green finished ninth in the Foot Locker Northeast region and 21st at the national meet, best among the local runners. Green was the first Montgomery County girl to make the Foot Locker final since WJ’s Sally Glynn did when she finished second in 1994. Kate Murphy and Rachel McArthur have had a monopoly on the Virginia 6A race and Nike Cross Southeast titles over the last three years. Over the same time, they’ve established themselves to be even better track athletes than cross country, and at a certain point, sandwiched between late summer seasons (Murphy’s trips to the U.S. Olympic Trials and World Junior Championships in July and McArthur’s trip to Junior Nationals in June) and looming indoor seasons, cross country just doesn’t get the same emphasis. They both focused on getting through the season healthy

SPRING 2017 | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | RUNWASHINGTON | 43


and, for Murphy, getting Lake Braddock back to the Nike Cross Nationals meet. Murphy, who will run at Oregon next year, went undefeated up until Portland, where she finished 33rd. McArthur finished second to Murphy at the state meet. She’ll go to Villanova. Murphy was one of three Lake Braddock girls to make the postseason team, and like Marshall and Walter Johnson, the Bruins could have won without Murphy racing and starting off scoring with a low number. Taylor Kitchen was a model of consistency, finishing 10th at the Virginia 6A meet and 32nd at the Nike Cross Southeast meet to help the Bruins to a return trip to Portland. Sam Schwers likewise came through for the Bruins in the postseason, finishing sixth at both the Northern Region and state meets and 26th at the Nike Cross Southeast meet. After two years of injuries, South Lakes junior Olivia Beckner finally got to run cross country and capitalized on the opportunity. She finished third at the Third Battle Invitational, fourth at the Virginia 6A meet and 18th at Foot Locker South. On top of winning the D.C. state meet, Page Lester was the first girl from a D.C. school to qualify for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, where she finished 31st. An injury layoff after her summer triathlon season gave her a late start to cross country, which she credits with keeping her from burning out mentally in October and November. She was frequently chased by Megan Lynch, winner of the DCXC Invitational freshman race and a basketball and lacrosse player who was running her first season. She wound up second to Lester at the D.C. state meet, but she led Georgetown Visitation to victory, along with D.C. team members Michaela Kirvan and Michelle Horner. Julia Reicin made herself a factor in every race as the season wore on, especially after finishing fourth at the Glory Days Invitational. She repeated that placing at the Montgomery County Championships and closed the year out in third at the state 4A meet. She’ll run at Maryland starting next year. On the boys’ side, James Madison won its Virginia 6A title, but unlike the rest of the team state champions, it was close for the Warhawks — three points between them and two-time defending champs Lake Braddock. Senior Sean Grimm and junior Zach Holden, both part of the Virginia team, led the way. The Bruins were led by senior Conor Lyons, who appeared to most observers to finish second but counted as third. He rebounded to finish 22nd at the Nike Cross Southeast meet. Strong second place finishes at the Monroe Parker and Conference 7 races, along with the Frank Keyser meet in Maryland, gave this Indiana native a strong season-long resume. Loudoun Valley repeated in the 4A race, with junior Peter Morris in first place and Virginia team member Colton Boducki in fourth. Morris qualified for Nike Cross Nationals, where he finished 55th. Richard

44 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017

D.C. CLASS

Jack Beckham Timmy Bitsberger John Colucci Amal Mattoo Will McCann Josh Shelton Philip Wright Michaela Kirvan Zakyrah Haynie Michelle Horner Cady Hyde Rus Tesfai Arrington Peterson Sarah Pillard

SCHOOL

Senior Gonzaga Junior St. Albans Junior Gonzaga Senior Sidwell Senior Gonzaga Senior Georgetown Day Senior Sidwell Junior Georgetown Visitation Senior Woodrow Wilson Senior Georgetown Visitation Freshman St. John’s Junior McKinley Senior Woodrow Wilson Senior Georgetown Day

VIRGINIA CLASS

Colton Bogucki Sean Grimm Zachary Holden Derek Johnson Tyler Lawson Antonio Lopez Yared Mekonnen Ava Bir Kiera Bothwell Ava Hassebrock Caroline Howley Emily Keast Natalie Morris Emma Wolcott

Junior Senior Junior Junior Junior Junior Junior Junior Senior Soph Soph Senior Junior Junior

SCHOOL

Loudoun Valley James Madison James Madison Tuscarora Lake Braddock Charles Colgan Thomas Edison George C. Marshall West Springfield Tuscarora McLean West Springfield Loudoun Valley Tuscarora

MARYLAND CLASS

Aaron Bratt Joshua Engels Andrew Lent Simeon Mussie Adam Nakasaka John Riker Jason Scott Josephine Brane-Wright Morgan Casey Heather Delaplaine Yasmine Kass Katrione Kirsch Nandini Satsangi Jessica Trzeciak

Soph Junior Senior Junior Junior Soph Senior Junior Junior Junior Junior Senior Soph Soph

SCHOOL

Walt Whitman Walt Whitman Poolesville Albert Einstein Bethesda-Chevy Chase T.S. Wootton Wheaton Montgomery-Blair Montgomery-Blair Damascus Paint Branch Walter Johnson Poolesville T.S. Wootton

First Row: Ava Bir, Katrione Kirsch, Second row: Arrington Peterson, Aaron Bratt, John Riker, Third row: Simeon Mussie, Andrew Lent, Natalie Morris


Montgomery senior Rohann Asfaw also made the Nike meet, a year after he, like Holt, finished one place away from advancing to a national meet. He finished 94th. He also won the Maryland 4A title and a second Montgomery County title. Asfaw has committed to the University of Virginia, where he’ll run with another two-time Montgomery County champion — Poolesville’s Chase Weaverling. At the Oatlands Invitational, he beat Morris, future college teammate Saurav Velleleth and Patrick Lynch, along with Millbrook’s Alec Schrank, who later edged Asfaw on an incredibly muddy Glory Days course. Velleleth started off hot, winning the Monroe Parker and DCXC Invitational senior races. Patrick Lynch broke out of a funk at the Glory Days Invitational and the two staged a great stretch run at the end of the Virginia 5A race, with Lynch building a three-second lead to take third place over Velleleth, who was fourth, and later 27th at the Foot Locker South meet to Lynch’s 21st. Lynch will run at William and Mary. Not content to be simply a two-lap sensation, Chantilly senior Brandon McGorty took a chance in some cross country races and it paid off to the tune of a fourth place finish. He won the 6A North regional title. He likely won’t be pressed into service to run 10k cross country at Stanford next year. Oakton doesn’t usually race many other local teams, but when the postseason came along, junior Ahmed Hassan was near the top, winning the Conference 5 meet, finishing second at the Northern Region meet and fifth at the 6A state meet. T.C. Williams senior John Mackey kicked off the season with a hard effort on a miserably hot morning at the Monroe Parker Invitational and saw he had what it took to hang on at the end of races, finishing a close second to Velleleth at the DCXC Invitational and finishing sixth at the Virginia 6A championships. Harry Monroe won the D.C. state meet, starting off scoring for Gonzaga to win its first title. He also led the way at the WCAC meet. His third place finish in the DCXC senior race showed how competitive he was on the local scene, and the Eagles won that meet, too. Junior John Colucci, senior Jack Beckham and senior Will McCann were all named to the D.C. team. After spending his sophomore year at Gonzaga, Ryan Lockett brought his long shorts back to his native Poolesville and took off as the season went on, finishing third at the DCXC junior race, second at the Montgomery County championship and then first at the Maryland 3A championship. The coaches panel includes Steve Hays, Walt Whitman; Cindy Walls, Bishop O’Connell; John Ausema, Gonzaga; Mike Mangan, Lake Braddock; Scott Silverstein, Winston Churchill; Anthony Belber, Georgetown Day; Kevin Hughes, Georgetown Visitation; Chris Pellegrini, West Springfield and Kellie Redmond, T.S. Wootton.

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48 | RUNWASHINGTON | RUNWASHINGTON.COM | SPRING 2017

For many, the chance to run is a reminder that despite all that ails the world, there is always a place you can find some joy. It’s an hour here or there to shake off the pressures of the day-to-day grind and feel free, to explore the world or temper your fitness. Along those same lines, races what you make of them: a cardio party, a personal Olympics, an excuse to gorge yourself on pancakes, anything you want them to be. It isn’t always that great, though. D.C.’s Ev Penev found out when we showed up to the St. Patrick’s 5k in 2015. As chilly temperatures seem to get no better, he huddled with the rest of the crowd at the starting line, where many were protected from the snow that was turning to sleet. “You know how groupthink works — nobody wants to let the group down, so we all cheered … until we had some personal space during the actual run, which is when that face happened,” he said after seeing the photo that Swim Bike Run Photography’s Bruce Buckley captured during the race. Penev was no longer one of the jubilant masses. His olive green vest drably contrasted with the festive colors and oversized novelty leprechaun hats so many of the others wore for the race. “I may have chosen to forget how cold it was that day,” he said. “Admittedly I don’t run often, but my preferences have changed for the seasons when I do.” Looking back, though, he saw the upside to the morning. “I had just gotten those expensive tights and thought this race was one of their very few chances to come out of the drawer. “



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