A man who runs 110 miles a week and a woman who runs half that amount were the top male and female finishers in Sunday's 18th annual Fair Lakes 8K Race and 2K Fun Run/Walk. They are, respectively, Ryan Mammen, 28, of Woodbridge and Casey Smith, 25, of Arlington.
"I'm just happy to win," said Mammen, afterward. "To race hard and not quit — even when it got tough, the last two miles."
Sponsored by The Peterson Cos. of Fair Lakes, the event began and ended at 12500 Fair Lakes Circle, with proceeds going to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) — enabling people to be tested for free and entered into the national registry.
FOR MANY people with fatal blood diseases, the only hope for a cure is a marrow transplant. And their odds of finding an unrelated donor increase with every person who is tested and joins the NMDP registry.
So race director Zach David, with The Peterson Cos., was pleased that people responded to the need because of the 8K race. "We tested 75 people in pre-race registration," he said. "I think we'll meet our goal of testing 1,000 people this year." For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org.
Drawing even more participants than last year, Sunday morning's 8K race and 2K Fun Run/Walk attracted a total of 1,346 people — 1,024 in the 8K, and 322 — including lots of parents pushing children in three-wheeled strollers — in the 2K. Also taking part in the 2K was a contingent of 50 cancer survivors wearing matching turquoise T-shirts proclaiming that fact.
Brien Bracco, 11, a sixth-grader in teacher Crista Ziegler's class at Poplar Tree Elementary, took top honors in the 2K. He's the son of Bruce and Sheree Bracco, and his mom ran in the 8K while his dad rooted for both of them from the sidelines.
It was the first time Brien entered a competitive race, but he said he was optimistic about his chances of winning because "I ran the mile at school and got first place, four years in a row." When not busy running, Brien plays cornerback and tight end for his CYA Chargers football team.
Del. Thomas M. Davis III (R-11th) welcomed everyone at the start of the event and thanked them for participating. "If you get tested for the bone-marrow registry, you could save a life," he said. "That's why we do this race." Also on hand were Del. Gary Reese (R-67th) and Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-34th), but only Davis ran in this race.
Prizes were awarded to the top finishers in the male and female, wheelchair and children's divisions. And Mammen and Smith each received $100, a trophy and a merchandise prize.
MAMMEN'S WINNING time was 25:20, just edging out last year's 8K winner, Chantilly math teacher Eric Post, 25, of Centreville, who took second place with a time of 25:25. Mammen entered this race for the first time and, ironically, it was because of Post.
"Eric is a friend of mine and we went to college together at JMU," said Mammen. "And we train together, so I decided to do this race, too, like he was doing."
Mammen works at a running store, Virginia Runner, in Woodbridge and Fredericksburg, and is currently training for a marathon — running some 15-20 miles a day for 110 miles a week. Pleased with his performance in the 8K, he said, "I'm happy with the way I raced and held on."
Smith, a CPA for a firm in Vienna, entered the event for the second time. "I was doing it as a fun run, but I expected the second-place winner, Alisa, to win," she said. "She beat me last year." This time, though, Alisa Harvey, 38, of Manassas, followed Smith across the finish line, logging a 29:05 effort for second-place.
And Smith had the honor of coming in first with a time of 28:53. "I'm training for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon this weekend, and a marathon in the fall, so I didn't train specifically for this race," she said. However, she still racks up plenty of miles each week. Said Smith: "I'm part of the team, D.C. Fast Girls, coached by Nate Reilly, so I usually run 50-65 miles a week."
In other race results, the number-six finisher overall was Ryan Donahue, 25, of Centreville, with a time of 27:45.