Kaitlin Sheedy, 31, has been running track since high school—but she’s never won a race as large as Sunday’s before. The Massachusetts native, who competed collegiately at Tufts, is the second District resident to win the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC in as many years, finishing with a time of 1:20:56. We caught up with her the day after her big win to find out how she pulled it off.
How did it feel to represent the Washington area in the second-ever Nike Women’s Half?
It’s very cool. It means a lot to me to live in an area where I can take advantage of all of the beautiful running trails—it’s just a great city to be active in. It was really special to win such a big event in my home away from home. I’ve lived here for so long that it definitely feels like home, so if I were to pick anywhere other than Boston to win something like this, it would be DC. It was very special to have the local community supporting the event.
Was there anything particularly challenging about the race?
Nike made it really easy logistically for all of the participants, and being a resident of DC, it was great to just jog down to the start [line] in the morning and get to enjoy all of the sights I see during my training runs. This is a great time of year to just appreciate the beauty of the city. The course itself was pretty fast; there were a couple of inclines, but in general, it was a flat, fast course. And the weather couldn’t have been better. We really lucked out.
Did you do anything special the night before the race to prep?
I tried to get a bunch of sleep the week before. I didn’t sleep too well the night before the race. I was waking up pretty early to make sure I could eat before, so I had a restless night’s sleep, as I usually do the night before a race, from nerves and excitement. And then I just tried to relax during the day and week before and stay off my feet to rest up.
How did it feel to cross the finish line?
It was pretty thrilling. I’ve never won a big race before, so it was a new experience for me. I heard some friends along the way in that last loop of the finish line, and I remember coming around the corner when I could see the finish line—the crowd was so loud, and that’s when I realized, Oh, my gosh, I could win this! Breaking the tape was really exciting; it was just a cool experience to be the first one to cross.
Who was out there cheering you on?
My husband was there. The course is really spectator-friendly, so he was able to see me, I think he calculated seven times, which is always a lot of fun for both the runners and the supporters. Then I had some other teammates out there and some friends from a nonprofit I volunteer for, TeensRunDC—a lot of those students were out there cheering, which was inspiring. They were at mile 13, so they got to see me in the last push. It makes it a lot of fun for the runners and the spectators when you can see who you are cheering for multiple times.
Aside from winning, what was your favorite part of the experience?
I think just taking in all of the great fans. It was also awesome to see so many local bands cheering us on along the way and pumping up all the runners and the cheerleaders; the energy was just really great throughout the course. The other women were also inspiring: At several points in the race, the course kind of looped around, so you got to see many other women working hard together to accomplish their goal. Overall it was just a really fun experience—beautiful day, beautiful course.
What motivates you when you run?
I think a lot about my friends and family, and teammates I’ve had in the past and that I run with now. I mentioned briefly before that I volunteer with TeensRunDC, which is a local nonprofit where adult volunteers mentor DC youth; we do long-distance running to help the kids set goals for themselves and make them feel like they can achieve anything in life. I think a lot about those kids who get up early on Saturdays to come run with us and are just really determined to reach their goals. It was exciting that they were out on the course yesterday and were able to see me at the end. So I definitely want to make them proud and want to make my family proud, and I try to relax and think about the training I’ve put in and appreciate the opportunity to get out there and race. I feel really fortunate that I’m able to run and able to do so in such a runner-friendly city.
Do you have any advice for anyone interested in running Nike’s race next year?
I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested. It is a lottery-system entry, so unfortunately it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get in, but it was a really fun experience. I would say for those people who do want to commit to running a half marathon, stick it out through those tough winter runs, and it will really pay off when you’re able to enjoy the race and finish on hopefully a beautiful spring day like we had this year.
Despite some light snow on Saturday morning, the annual Cupid’s Undie Run went off without a hitch. Runners in various costumes and stages of undress gathered on Capitol Hill for the 1.1-mile dash through the streets to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. This year’s sold-out event was helped along by pre-registration in the preceding week, ensuring shorter lines of scantily clad participants waiting in the cold the day of. Nationals mascot Screech showed up, in sparkly red underwear, to take photos with fans; we also witnessed one boxer-clad runner, perhaps swept up in the spirit of Cupid, get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend at the finish line.
Since starting in DC in 2010, the run has expanded to 27 cities in the US—including, for the first time, Baltimore—and three cities in Australia. In total, the events raised more than $2.6 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
See more photos from the run below.
A local runner fell short of making history yesterday when he just barely missed clocking two sub-2:30 marathons in the same day.
Still, Michael Wardian can’t complain too much—he managed to go home with a gold medal.
The father of two won Sunday morning’s Rock ’n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon in 2 hours, 31 minutes, and 9 seconds. But there was no time for celebration. Wardian headed straight for the airport with 200 other runners to fly 1,200 miles to compete in the Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon at 4:30.
The Washington running community has long been witness to Wardian’s impressive feats. In addition to winning countless marathons and ultramarathons, the Arlington professional runner has also garnered some fun titles, including the world record for the fastest marathon in a superhero costume—he dressed as Spider-Man for the Lower Potomac Marathon in 2011.
Going into the weekend, Wardian’s goal was to finish both marathons in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. Ultimately, he crossed the finish line in 2:57:56 in Las Vegas and finished tenth. On the women’s side, Dorothy Beal of Leesburg ran a new personal record of 3:17:59 and earned herself a fifth-place finish.
“I was happy to be out there and come through in under three hours,” Wardian told Competitor.com after the race. “You’ve got to make different goals when things aren’t going your way.”
But there are no breaks for Wardian’s legs anytime soon. This Saturday he’ll run the historic JFK 50-Mile in Boonsboro, Maryland.
The winner of last Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon 10K was disqualified for race-crashing, according to a Marine Corps Marathon spokesperson.
The man, whose name has been removed from the official results list, was from France and won the 6.2-mile race in 32:20 minutes. However, he later admitted he wore a friend’s bib and was not registered for the sold-out event, which drew 10,000 runners. The Marine Corps Marathon now recognizes 25-year-old Stephn Gedron of Massachusetts as the official 10K winner with a time of 33:19.
The 2013 Marine Corps Marathon brought 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators to the District Sunday morning after weeks of worry that a government shutdown would force postponement—or at worst a cancellation—of the storied “people’s marathon.”
On the men’s side, there was no question after mile one that Girma Bedada of Ethiopia would cross the finish line first. Bedada, 33, led the pack for 25 miles and won with a time of 2:21:32, with an average pace of 5:23 per mile.
It’s been more than a week since the Ironman World Championship in Kona, and William Christopher Wren’s calves are still sore.
“There were a couple of days where it was nearly impossible to walk down stairs,” the Arlington resident admits.
But with pain came serious gain for the 65-year-old. With a time of 10 hours, 44 minutes, and 31 seconds, Wren became this year’s Ironman World Champion in the 65 to 69 age group. He also set a new course record in his age group, besting the previous time by 34 minutes.
Despite weeks of concern that the government shutdown would derail the Army Ten-Miler, the race went off as planned Sunday morning and ended with a new course record set by a local DC runner.
Kerri Gallagher, 24, won the women’s race with a time of 54:56, running a little less than 5:30 minutes per mile. She broke the previous course record of 55:25, which was held by Northern Virginia runner Samia Akbar. It was the second Army Ten-Miler win in a row for Gallagher, who is coached by Matt Centrowitz, the head coach of American University’s cross-country and track programs and a top Washingtonian running coach.
On paper, this past weekend’s inaugural DC Divas Half Marathon and 5K in Leesburg sounded like a dream: a road race through Virginia’s wine country followed by Champagne at the finish line. But based on the hundreds of complaints flooding the race’s Facebook page, it’s clear runners were none too pleased with the outcome.
The Saturday race, which had 3,511 total participants for the half marathon and 5K, experienced a series of snafus that led to a start time delayed by about 90 minutes, long lines at the bathrooms, and no celebratory drink at the finish line.
Sunday morning brought drizzle, foggy skies, and a whole bunch of colorful runners to National Harbor for the Color Run, dubbed the happiest 5K on the planet. Approximately 5,000 runners and walkers braved the potential rain to be doused instead with a downpour of yellow, orange, pink, and blue powder for 3.1 miles.
Since being founded a little more than a year ago, in January 2012, the Color Run series has become the single largest running event in the country, involving more than 1 million participants and 100 events in 2013 alone. Participants, from toddlers to grandparents, are drawn to the Color Run’s untimed 5K, which has only two requirements: to wear white and finish splattered in color from head to toe. With even more color-blasting at the finish line, plus free Kind bars, Slurpees, Chipotle, water, and a dance pit, the Color Run feels more like one big party than an actual run.