More than 25,000 runners rocked the nation’s capital on Saturday morning.
WASHINGTON, DC — After months of winter weather, the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon & CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon officially kicked off spring on a beautiful Saturday morning in the nation’s capital. More than 25,000 entrants from all 50 states and 33 countries gathered on Constitution Avenue for a running tour full of historical landmarks and diverse neighborhoods.
Running in his debut marathon, 23-year-old Adam Doherty of Charlottesville, Va., won the 26.2-mile main event with a time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 53 seconds. While Doherty ran unchallenged by any other males, the eventual women’s champion, Nuta Olaru, took the lead at 5K and maintained first position through 11 miles.
“I didn’t realize she was running the marathon until I passed her and saw her bib. She ran well and held her own, she was definitely rocking and rolling out there,” said Doherty, who recently graduated from Dartmouth College where he ran track and cross country. “It feels great to win, you can’t ask for much more than that. I came in expecting to run around 2:35 and I got under that too, so success on every front today.”
“I realized I was first when the man passed me. I thought I might have been in second, but it was fun to be in front,” said Olaru, who won the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run her last time racing in Washington, DC. “I feel great and I’m happy to win the race. I liked the course, it was rolling but it was good. The hills were good training for Boston.”
One of the top female Masters long distance runners in the United States, Olaru, 43, will compete at the Boston Marathon next month. Since obtaining her American citizenship in November 2011, she has become a perennial road racer, accumulating many accolades. This was her fifth Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series victory in the past 18 months.
In the half marathon, Ethiopian Abiyot Endale dominated the field, taking the lead at mile 2 and never letting go. Washington, D.C.’s Chalie Bitew stayed close behind Endale for the first several miles before dropping back at mile 4 and eventually dropping out.
The 27-year-old Endale held a strong five-minute-per-mile pace, finishing in 1:06:28. Fellow Ethiopian Ayele Kassaye, 25, would place second in 1:08:29 with Matt Rand of Alexandria, Virginia rounding out the top three.
After a win in 2011 followed by a third place finish here in 2013, 31-year-old Christine Ramsey earned redemption with a win in the women’s half marathon. Her time of 1:19:27 beat out second place finisher Kerry Allen, 25, of Washington, D.C. The Baltimore resident said it was a good indicator of her fitness as she prepares to try and qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon.
“It went really well. I couldn’t have asked for better weather after the winter we’ve had,” she said. “My goal was to start out conservative. I haven’t done a ton of speed work yet this year so I wanted to see where I was at. It was a good start to the year.”
The 2014 event debuted a new 5K distance and finish line at RFK Stadium where The Head and The Heart headlined the post race concert. Among the half-marathon runners was Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James Winnefeld (2:06:17), along with television personality Carrie Keegan (3:14:04).The race will return for a fourth year on Saturday, March 14, 2015.
Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Race Results
1. Adam Doherty, 23, Charlottesville, VA, 2:33:53, $500
2. Brian Benestad, 31, Pittsburgh, PA, 2:36:33, $250
3. Eric Senseman, 25, Windermere, FL, 2:39:52, $100
1. Nuta Olaru, 43, Longmont, CO, 2:43:01, $500
2. Rebecca Bader, 36, Syracuse, NY, 2:53:13, $250
3. Kristin Johnson, 23, Washington D.C., 2:57:59, $100
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Abiyot Endale, 27, Ethiopia, 1:06:28, $500
2. Ayele Kassaye, 25, Ethiopia, 1:08:29, $400
3. Matt Rand, 22, Alexandria, VA, 1:09:25, $300
4. Justin Scheid, 28 Sparta, NJ, 1:09:44, $200
5. Hugh Toland, 33, Bristow, VA, 1:10:57, $100
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Christine Ramsey, 31, Baltimore, MD, 1:19:27, $500
2. Kerry Allen, 25, Washington D.C., 1:19:48, $400
3. Teal Burrell, 28, Washington D.C., 1:21:40, $300
4. Erin Taylor, 31, Arlington, VA, 1:23:19, $200