Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2011 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2011 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2011 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2010 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2010 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results (Chip)

2010 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2010 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

Even after the week-long string of record-breaking heat had ended, there was still some torrid competition at the annual women-only Women’s Distance Festival 5k in Columbia on July 11. Heat would have been familiar to Caroline Tynan, though, because just a couple weeks before she had devastated the women’s field in even hotter weather at the Damien’s 5k. In the moderate temperatures on Friday, Caroline blasted through the first downhill mile in 5:18, leaving local favorites Pam Maldeis and Sherry Stick in her wake. “I was just trying to keep her in sight,” said Maldeis, a member of the Howard County Strider racing team. Although they succeeded in keeping Tynan in sight, neither Maldeis nor Stick could gain any ground on her, even in the final quarter-mile straight away. A former All-American in cross country and track at Villanova, Tynan crushed her competition for the second consecutive road race in Howard County. She easily broke 18 minutes. Even so, Maldeis was pleased with her time and acknowledged that Tynan “helped me maintain a fast pace.”

Local master runner Robyn Humphrey finished a distant fourth, but she might not have been so far behind had she not gone off course about a mile from the finish. Rather than running the “new” 5k course that stays on Sunny Spring, Robyn wandered 100 yards alone the “old” course that turned onto Bright Plume. “I would have broken 20 [minutes] for sure,” Robyn lamented. Nevertheless, the errant runner claimed fourth overall and won the prize for first master runner (40+ years).

Robyn’s going off course allowed first grandmaster Pat Wilkerson (50+ years) to gain ground on her to the effect that she had a chance to beat her. She didn’t, but it would sure would have been something. “It was just like a Tuesday morning temp run with your friends,” Pat reminisced.

The top three women, plus the first master and grand master won cash prizes and Lucite plaques. The awards were not checks or gift certificates, but cold cash in unmarked twenty dollar bills in sealed envelops. “I’m heading to Starbucks for a venti,” remarked one of the award winners.

The WDF 5k served as the graduation exercise for nearly 75 women in the Females in Training (FIT) program. Directed by Beverly Byron and Melissa Burger, the award-winning program trains women during the spring to compete in a 5k road race, namely, the Women’s Distance Festival 5k. This spring, about 100 women trained under Bev and Missy, and 75 of them did the WDF 5k in Columbia.

Although not a FIT woman herself, Jill Krause won her own personal battle merely by walking the 5 km course. Diagnosed with breast cancer, Jill ran the Nation’s Marathon in DC a few weeks ago, then had mastectomy, and still managed to finish the appointed course on Sunday. She starts chemotherapy on Wednesday. “I’m an athlete, dude,” Jill commented.

The WDF 5k initiated a new, automated timing system recently purchased by the Howard County Striders. The Chronotrack system records radio signals emitted by disposable plastic bands inserted into shoes; runners merely cross timing mats at the start and finish of a race and the system records their times. Redundant mats made the system virtually fail-proof. “It’s 99.9% accurate,” said Josh McWilliams, Chronotrack representative who trained the Striders in using the system. (Josh was on hand at the finish line in case anything went wrong.) The system flawlessly recorded the times and identities of all 362 finishers, and the finish line crew captained by Bob Burns found itself out of a job! “This represents a major advance over the old manual timing as well as the alternate ChampionChip system,” noted Jim DiSciullo, results coordinator.

Tacy Feliciano directed the Women’s Distance Festival 5k, which is part of a nation-wide series of all-women races that celebrates the introduction of the women’s marathon into the Olympic Games. The men of the Howard County Striders provided race support at the finish line and along the course, while the Howard County Police provided traffic control throughout the Hickory Ridge neighborhoods through which ran the race. The Striders wish to thank the Howard County General Hospital and the Columbia Bank as well as Feet First of Hickory Ridge, Howard County Chiropractic, and the Bagel Bin. The Howard Community College graciously donated its gymnasium and parking lots for the race venue.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2009 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2009 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2009 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

Ethiopian Yihunish Delelecha, the first woman to finish this year’s Columbia Women’s Distance Festival 5k, spoke no English, but she did speak the language of speed. Within the first mile, which were mostly downhill or flat, she pulled ahead of fellow Ethiopian Almaz Megersa and NCAA Division III cross country champion Esther Erb, and had opened a lead of about 20 yards on them by the half way mark. Delelecha cruised through the remaining distance, and left Megersa and Erb in a very tight battle for second place. Megersa literally out-leaned Erb at the finish, taking second place by less than 0.3 second, or about as fast as finish line scorers could click the timer. “She was just hungrier than me,” said Esther, who resides in Vienna, Austria. Both Delelecha and Megersa have become well-known on the DC running scene this spring, and winner Delelcha owns a 2:46 marathon time.

Robyn Humphrey claimed the top spot for a local Howard Countian, placing first among the 45-49 women (20:05), but falling far short (about a minute) of winning the overall master’s title, which went to Baltimore’s Denise Knickman. Pat Wilkerson (20:51) retained some measure of glory for Howard County by winning the grandmaster award.

The WDF also featured 19 mother-daughter teams divided into young-daughter (12 and under) and old-daughter (over-12) groups. Peculiarly, the top mother-daughter teams in each division tied for total number of points, so we’ll have to wait until next year for real closure on the team issue.

The top three women won cash awards — a sure way to bring those DC speedsters out to Columbia. Age group winners earned plaques, and all girls 12 and under received medals. All participants got custom-designed tank-tops, too. The race drew a field of 332, making it the largest all-woman sporting event in Howard County.

The race was directed by Tacy Feliciano and Dorothy Beckett, who enjoyed the assistance of the Howard County Stridermen on the course and at the finish line. “We couldn’t have done it without their support,” Dorothy said. The race directors also wish to thank the Howard County Police and the Howard Community College, which provided a venue for the event. The race directors also want to thank the Howard County General Hospital, as well as other sponsors, for their generous support.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2008 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2008 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2008 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

With a 5:20 first mile, Teyba Naser of Washington, DC, quickly dispatched her rivals at the Women’s Distance Festival 5k in Columbia last Sunday. “I was hoping she would fall back, but she never did,” said Jen Ecker, who finished third in the race. “She went off into the distance on the backside of the course,” Ms. Ecker said poetically about watching Naser cruise away near the half-way point in the 3.1-mile loop around Hickory Ridge. Naser owns a 15:45 personal record in the 5k event and said, through an interpreter, “I am just looking for a 5k or 10k race each weekend.” This weekend was Columbia. The heat and the hills of the course “made a little difference, but not much” Teyba continued.

Two of the fastest women in Howard County had a much closer contest for the master woman championship. After 2½ miles, with the finish line almost in sight, Robyn Humphrey held a slight advantage over Vanessa Cox. But Humphrey lost time going around the wrong side of a cone at the last turn, and Cox took advantage of the mistake. “I told myself I had better get my butt moving,” Vanessa recalled. “Then I pounced.” The pounce worked, and Cox pulled away from Humphrey to claim the over-40 title in 19:33, only six seconds ahead of her rival, who admittedly has not fully recovered from a recent ankle injury. The two women finished fifth and sixth overall in a field of 300.

The WDF featured mother-daughter team competition. The “Lactic Legs” team of Karen and Alyssa Shouse handily won the competition for teams daughters 12-and-under. They started running together, but the heat slowed down young Alyssa who had beaten her mother the year before. “I told her one of us has to go [faster]” Karen said. “Besides, I had a few people I had to pick off.” The team of Gloria Roberts and Sandra Griffin took the team victory for daughters over-12. They achieved their win by Gloria placing first among the 10-19 females and Sandra second in the 40-44 age group. Not to be outdone, Theresa McFadden of the second place team of “Remus’ Runners” did a cartwheel in accepting the team award. No word on whether her daughter Brittany Rooks was embarrassed. A total of 20 mother-daughter teams.

The race also served as the graduation event for 50 or so Females in Training, who specifically trained throughout the Spring in a Howard County Strider program to prepare to run a 5k. Each FIT woman wore an orange t-shirt with a black ribbon to commemorate her graduation. Many of these women came out to train in spite of heavy family commitments. “It was a very empowering sort of thing,” one woman commented.

Staged every summer by the Howard County Striders, the all-woman race was directed by Tacy Feliciano and Dorothy Beckett. Age group and team winners received gift certificates from Feet First of Wilde Lake and lucite plaques. The master and grandmaster women received gift certificates from Absolutely Wine and Spirits. After the race, finishers gathered in the air conditioned gymnasium of the Howard Community College for refreshments and awards.

The Howard County Striders wish to thank the Howard County Police for traffic control, Steve Musselman and the Howard Community College for use of its gymnasium and parking lot, and the Howard County General Hospital for a generous donation. The Columbia WDF represents one of many Women’s Distance Festivals held throughout the nation in the summer time to celebrate women’s running.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2006 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2006 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2006 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

“Don’t fall back! Don’t fall back!” Jen Ecker kept saying to herself to stay close to Sherry Stick, frontrunner of the Women’s Distance Festival 5k last Sunday. Sykesville’s Sherry Stick had taken an early lead in the race with Howard County’s Ecker and Vicki Lang in pursuit. After a mile or so, however, all Ecker or Lang could do was try to keep Stick in sight. “About all we could do was beat the younger ladies in the race,” Vicki recalled. Stick swept on to an easy victory in 18:58— over half a minute ahead of second-place Ecker.

The race among over-40 women turned into a much more exciting affair, with the Strider’s master-runner of 2005 Lisa Fichman eventually overcoming Amelia Ingersoll. “I thought it was hot and the uphills were challenging,” Fichman said. The “really fast women” were so far in front of her that she found herself running alone for much of the 3.1 mile course. “I couldn’t see the runners in front of me, but I could hear breathing behind me!” That would have been Ingersoll, whose 21:41 came up only 11 seconds short of Fichman at the end. Both Fichman and Ingertsoll finished in the top 10 of the all-woman field.

In addition to the individual and age-group competition, the WDF 5k feature mother-daughter team competition. The “Running TV’s” team of Vicki and Tiffany Lang edged the “Hitchhikers” team of Alyssa and Karen Shouse, 3 points to 7 points in the 14-and-under daughter group. Alyssa beat her mom Karen for the first time ever in a race, although she couldn’t quite outrun down Tiffany Lang. Among the 15-and-up daughter group, Colleen, Kerin, and Maureen Thornton beat Christine Trzeinski and Diane Davis by two points for the championship.

The 5k race served as graduation for the Howard County Striders’ Females In Training (FIT). Over 50 women, many of them novice athletes, had been training since spring under the direction of veteran Strider women. All of them finished the race. One of them, Marlene Spence, joined the FIT group at the suggestion of her friend, Lisa Fichman. The WDF was Marlene’s first run ever. “I kept asking myself, how did I get to this point?” Marlene said.

The race began and ended at Howard Community College, which allowed the use of its gymnasium for pre- and post-race activities. A total of 270 women competed in the race, which is held every summer in conjunction with various other RRCA WDF events throughout the country. All registants received a WDF singlet. Overall, age-group, and team winners received lucite plaques and gift certificates to Feet First of Wilde Lake. Nearly every woman in the race also got a random prize— no fewer than four large tables were needed to display these randoms.

The Women’s Distance Festival commemorates the birth of the women’s Olympic marathon in 1982. Many women in the Howard County WDF are also trying to complete all the Mid-Atlantic WDF races and some of them who run on Sunday also ran the Annapolis WDF the day before. “It was much warmer today than yesterday in Annapolis!” said Julie Trapp, who did both races.

Dorothy Beckett and Tacy Feliciano directed Howard County’s WDF. The race is staged each year by the Howard County Striders, who thank their volunteers, the Howard County Police, the Howard Community College, and their many sponsors. The Howard Community Hospital provided major funding for the event.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2005 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2005 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2005 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2004 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2004 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2004 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

“I don’t like being hunted,” said Robyn Humphrey about winning the Women’s Distance Festival 5k last Sunday at the Columbia Mall. Although Humphrey led the race from start to finish, Patty Keating trailed her closely the entire way. Never more than 20 yards behind, Keating chased her through three full laps around the perimeter of the Columbia Mall and finished six seconds behind. “I need a few more weeks of speedwork,” said Keating, who hadn’t run a 5k race in a year.

“My husband told me I should do this race, and if I listen to him I usually do well.” Dorothy Beckett, age 46, enjoyed the distinction of winning the master’s championship (although both Humphrey and Keating are over 40). Given the number 1 bib, Dr. Beckett was really just trying to break 21 minutes (which she did), and found herself in a battle with 14-year-old Samantha Matthews. “Sam would surge ahead, and then I would,” said Dorothy, who eventually finished a few seconds behind Matthews (1st, 14 and U).

A stirring duel also developed between two of Howard County’s most promising young runners, Laura Walls and Nicole Shouse. Walls, a track champion at Glenelg County School, found herself trailing the younger Shouse with only half a mile to the finish, but then threw in a tremendous surge and outsprinted her competition by eight whole seconds. “She went by me ‘whoosh’,” explained Nicole who finished fourth to Walls’ third.

The WDF also featured mother-daughters team competitions. The fastest team by far was “The Fox and the Hound,” which consisted of Nicole Shouse (4th overall), her mother Karen (3rd, 35-39W), and her sister Alyssa (1st, 9 & U). Which was the fox and which the hound was unclear, but F & H easily won the “young” division (daughter 14 and U) of the mother-daughter team competition. In the “old” division (daugter 15 and U), the “Yews” (Calinda and Connie Yew) displaced “Bob’s Babes” (Lindsay and Nancy Burns) as the champions. The Babes had won the competition the last two years, but this time they fell all the way to 5th place ion their category. A total of 28 mother-daughter teams competed.

The race served as the graduation ceremony of the Females in Training (FIT). Under the coaching of seasoned Howard County Striderwomen, this group of women had trained since Spring to prepare themselves for the 5k race. Over 50 FIT women participated. The all-woman race drew a field of 350, making it the largest of many Women’s Distance Festival 5k’s featured throughout the summer. The WDF races began in 1979 to celebrate the beginning of the women’s marathon in the Olympics.

Tacy Feliciano and Pam West co-directed this year’s WDF in Columbia. They enjoyed the support of the Howard County Stridermen, who served as course marshals, at water stops, and at the finish line. The Striders wish to thank the Columbia Mall for use of its parking lot, and to the many Mall merchants who donated an abundance of random prizes. All women 14 and under received medallions, while age group winners received gift certificates from Feet First of Wilde Lake and/or commemorative lucite plaques.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2003 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2003 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2003 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

The way that Vicki Lang and Julie Thienel charged ahead of the pack at the 2003 Women’s Distance Festival 5k made onlookers think the two would battle right down into the final quarter mile of the race. Midway through the first lap around the Columbia Mall, they had gotten a substantial lead the over 200 other women, with Thienel tight on the shoulder of Lang, the former Howard County Woman Runner of the Year. But early in the second lap, Julie’s hamstring tightened up and she not only slackened her pace, she actually dropped out. “I knew she was there and then she wasn’t,” said Vicki. “I didn’t know what happened.” From that point, Lang cruised unthreatened to victory in 18:29.

The race among master women came down to a match between the two “Pats” of Howard County- Patricia Keating and Patricia Wilkerson. Both broke 20 minutes, but Mrs. Keating won the contest by 30 seconds. The two friends have raced against each other many times in the past and often train together on the hills of Howard County.

Other stand-out performances included those of 39-year-old Robyn Humphrey (“I’m on the track for 40”), who finished third overall in 19:18, and 12-year-old Nicole Shouse, who placed seventh overall in 20:37. “I was just trying to keep the leaders in sight,” explained Nicole. Sue Ellen Morakinyo made a valiant effort to beat Nicole’s mother Karen, and she did manage to stay ahead of Karen for at least one full lap. Then Karen “turned it up,” passed, and went on to place second among the 35-39 women with a 22:21 personal record. “Karen doesn’t know how fast she can run,” said Sue Ellen, who came within eight seconds of her own personal record.

The WDF also featured competitions between mother-daughter teams and “corporate teams,” which consisted of whole families of mothers and daughters. The “Blackberry Bunnies” (Tiffany and Vicki Lang) outraced “Hot Pepper and Maple Syrup” (Sue Ellen and Yinka Morakinyo) to win the Mother and 14-and-Under Daughter group, while “1Fish-2Fish” (Eileen and Laurie Fisher) tied “Bob’s Babes” (Lindsay and Nancy Burns) for the Mother and 15-and-Over Daughter group. The Fish, however, were awarded the first place award on a tie-breaker (oldest combined age), thus denying the Babes the championship they had often won in the past. Dressed in red, white, and blue, “Stars and Stripes” (Nicole, Karen, Alyssa, and Chelsea Shouse) over-matched “Half-fast” (Shelly and Amy Kvech and their mother Arleen) to win the corporate division.

Because of construction and late-night traffic, the Women’s Distance Festival 5k in Columbia moved from “Midnight at the Mall” to “Sunrise at the Mall.” This year the race started at 7 am rather than midnight, but otherwise used the same course and finish line.

For the third consecutive year, Carrie Perfetto and Mikie Nard directed Howard County’s Women’s Distance Festival, which is part of a series of all-women WDF races held throughout the nation during the summer. A total of 224 completed the all-women race. There were 15 teams. The race served as a culmination event for dozens of women who trained during the Spring with the Females In Training (FIT) program put on by the Howard County Striders.

Overall winners received gift certificates from Feet First of Wilde Lake, while age group and team winners received commemorative plaques. Kids 10 and under also received medallions. The race is staged every year by the Howard County Striders, who wish to thank the Columbia Mall for allowing the use of its perimeter parking areas for the race.

by Jim Carbary

Women’s Distance Festival 5K

2002 Women’s Distance Festival Overall Results

2002 Women’s Distance Festival Awards

2002 Women’s Distance Festival Team Results

On the afternoon before the 2002 Women’s Distance Festival, Kerrie Bowes had felt good about her chances of winning the 5k midnight run, as she had done the year before. But when race time came, she saw Naoko Ishibe warming up, and Kerrie knew she’d be racing for second place. True to form, Ishibe sprinted to an early lead and ran to an uncontested victory in 17:06, over 1:30 ahead of second place. She ran so fast that Mike Styckzynski on the lead bike had trouble staying in front of her. (“She almost caught me on the inclines,” Mike said, although the two-and-a-half loop course around the Columbia Mall was relatively flat.)

In Ishibe’s wake, Kerrie Bowes did have a race against Margaret Polacawich, who knew Kerrie from last year’s Police Pace 5k. The two ran close together for the first loop. But when they began lapping the slower women in the field, Polacawich lost her opponent, and Bowes swept on to claim second place in 18:42. As a measure of Ishibe’s dominance, Kerrie’s time ran 31 seconds faster than her winning time in 2001, and she did not even finish within sight of the winner. “For a parking lot, it’s a good time,” said Polacawich, who took third in 19:09.

Ishibe, a Silver Spring resident, might have run even faster had she had some competition other than the bicycle. She had won the women’s race at Damien’s 5k Run for Recovery the Sunday before the WDF in 16:54, when she again beat Kerrie Bowes by a large margin.

The race also featured mother-daughter team competitions in two age groups: mothers with daughters under 15 and mothers with daughters 15 and up. For the second year in a row, Bob’s Babes (Lindsay and Nancy Burns) won the older group on the strength of steady performances by both mother and daughter, although they only beat their arch-rival team The Spunky Monkeys (Libby and Lissa George) by a single point. “We pulled through in the end,” commented an embullant Lindsay. In the younger age group, Team Oaxaca (Andrea and Maria Oaxaca) bested such teams as Maple Syrup and Hot Pepper and the Tortoise and the Harrier. A total of 19 mother-daughter teams participated in the race.

A significant number of women exploited the flatness of the double-loop course and the cool summer night to set personal records for the 5k (3.1-mile) distance. Howard County Junior Striders Nicole (3rd, 11-14 yr) and Alyssa Shouse (2nd, 10 and U), and Caitlin Fox (1st, 10 and U) ran PRs. Sue Ellen Morakinyo set a 5k personal record by over 30 seconds and even finished third in her age group (35-39 years). “She needs to run faster,” said her husband, Tunde, of the accomplishment. With the support of dozens of Howard County Strider men, Mikie Nard and Carrie Perfetto directed the Women’s Distance Festival, which is one in a series of Road Runners Club of America all-women races held throughout the nation to commemorate women’s running. The local WDF enjoyed the support of the Howard County General Hospital and That’s Amore, the latter of which donated pasta salad for the post race celebration.

The Howard County Women’s Distance Festival 5k is the largest of its kind in Maryland. Age group and team winners received bouquets of flowers as well as commemorative cut-glass cups.

by Jim Carbary