Four years ago, this week, Dickson Mercer introduced me to Chris [Farley] and Kathy [Dalby] so we could talk about taking what was then the Washington Running Report in a new direction. That direction, which became RunWashington magazine, lets me combine my professional work as a journalist with my passion and expertise for running — blending my vocation and avocation. RunWashington is not just for racers; it’s for every runner, regardless of whether someone runs to be fast, healthy or just happy. And we have it all.
Kathy and Chris have supported me both by surrounding me with great designers at Azer Creative, a hustling ad sales director in Denise Farley, and the mandate to publish the stories that will benefit the D.C. running community. All of that motivates me to spend as much time as I do on the magazine, on top of my day job and all of the running I am so fond of doing. It’s an incredible opportunity, and most of the time the work itself is a heck of a reward.
I’ve worked to make each issue something people want to keep for a while, but to also build a website with more timely news and resources for runners throughout the D.C. area. I push for excellent writing and artwork; creative work that reflects how great the local running scene is. I get to work with some exciting writers and photographers and I look everywhere for stories that will make people glad they read. I want those stories to be unique to the D.C. area, so we don’t do nutrition columns or gear reviews because you can get those anywhere. RunWashington is the runner’s source for the D.C. area, and that’s what people will get when they read it.
My busy season is about to start: I’ll be covering a high school cross country race (or two) every weekend from Labor Day until almost Thanksgiving, while I’m also putting together an issue of the magazine that comes out the week of the Marine Corps Marathon. Cross country coverage is a real change of pace. I spend my weeks talking to 60-, 70-year-old county officials and then on weekends switch to interviewing shy, or excited, teenagers who have just run themselves into the grass. Sometimes they pass out or throw up while I’m talking to them — it’s primal. It’s thrilling to see kids who are new to running discovering how tough they are, or how fast they can run, or how much they love being out there with their teammates.
I didn’t think, seven years ago, that I’d wind up involved with Pacers. When I was moving from Pittsburgh, Brian Farley told me to check out the racing team workouts, but they didn’t fit my schedule. Now that the stores support the Georgetown Running Club, I guess I wound up here in a roundabout way. I joined GRC within a month of moving, but I also got to know the larger running community and saw pretty quickly why D.C. is such an ideal place to be a runner — all of the races, parks, trails, groups, even social service organizations that involve running somehow, all in a place where people can pursue so many professional careers. Except for a few days in the summer, we really can have it all, here. It’s easy to be excited about being a runner here.