Greenbelt in 2012

A photo blog about Greenbelt, Maryland in its 75th anniversary year

GW Birthday Marathon

with 4 comments

February 19

The George Washington Birthday Marathon and Relay is held every year on the Sunday morning of the Presidents’ Day weekend. It is organized by DC Road Runners Club and is one of the longest continuously held marathons in the United States. (Last year, the race celebrated its 50th anniversary.) The runners start and finish in Old Greenbelt, at Crescent Road and Northway and run along Beaver Dam Road, Springfield Road, and Powder Mill Road in a loop three times.

Greenbelt Youth Center serves as the headquarters for the marathon. Here Jay Wind (right) of Arlington, Virginia receives his bib and T-shirt from the organizers. Wind, 62, tells me that he has run the GW Marathon every year since 1979 and this is his 141st marathon. (He will finish today with a gun time of 4:06:55.)

From the Youth Center, Maksym Petrenko (right) from Ukraine and Anant Raut of Arlington, Virginia walk to the start line. (Petrenko will finish with 3:45:21 and Raut 4:00:35.)

Tim Byram of Falls Church, Virginia shows his bib at the start line. (He will finish with 3:17:21.) A few days ago, weather forecast predicted freezing rain and there was a question whether the race could be held. But it turns out that there is no rain and the weather is nearly perfect for marathon.

Rohan Meredith (seated) from Crofton, Maryland gestures toward the camera at the start line. A three-person relay is also held in conjunction with the marathon, and Meredith runs the first leg on a relay team.

Yi-Joo Kwon (left) and Dan Oh, both with the New Jersey Road Runners Club, smile for the camera at the start line. In 2010, Kwon ran 3,106 miles from Los Angeles to New York in 95 days to raise awareness for diabetes. Both Kwon and Oh are Korean Americans and there is a large contingent of them at this year’s race.

Brian Danza, President of DC Road Runners Club, gives instructions at the start line, which is on Northway at the intersection with Woodland Way.

Anthony Lee has a camera on his head.

The official start time is 10:30 am. Ready, set…


Runners start the 51st George Washington Birthday Marathon and Relay.

After the runners have started, the organizers set up the finish line at a nearby path by Crescent Road.

A water station on Beaver Dam Road near Research Road.

A relay runner (401-2) near the 10-mile mark. A dash in the bib number indicates a relay team.

Philip Lyons of Glen Burnie, Maryland (left), Angela Svara of Annapolis, Maryland (center) and Andrew Dangel of Crofton, Maryland cheer the runners on near the 10-mile mark. Svara’s daughter and Dangel’s wife Jennifer Dangel is running the marathon today.

Andrew Dangel of Crofton, Maryland is supporting his wife Jennifer Dangel who is running the marathon. “Yes you can! Big, bold strides. 20 mile warm-up, 10K race! Don’t give up!”

Habib Ettarfaoui from Morocco starts his third loop just after the 17-mile mark. At that time race workers and onlookers believe he is the marathon lead runner.

Dan Oh (left) of Leonia, New Jersey, gives a thumbs-up near the 10-mile mark.

A runner receives a cup of water at a water station by the 17-mile mark. Water and lemonade are available.

Three generations of a family run the relay race. Grandma Lois Emery (right), 62, of Owings Mills, Maryland has just finished the first leg; granddaughter Jenna Brown, 10, of Bedford, Pennsylvania is starting the second leg; and mother Kari Brown, 38, of Bedford, Pennsylvania will run the final leg.

Relay handoff near the 17-mile mark.

Barry Goldmeier from Rockville, Maryland is well known in the local running circle for running races while juggling five bean bags. This is called joggling. (He will finish today with a gun time of 5:46:36.)

A marathon sign at the intersection of Green Hill, Hillside and Research Roads.

Geoff King’s team wins the open men relay race.

Nick Haffenreffer’s team wins the masters men relay race.

Medals for the 51st Annual George Washington Birthday Marathon. These are for marathon finishers not relay runners.

Bill Uher (right), of Odenton, Maryland is the men’s marathon winner, with a gun time of 2:47:13.

Habib Ettarfaoui of Pikesville, Maryland receives his medal for finishing second at 2:49:33. He is surprised as he did not know that someone was ahead of him.

A runner approaches the finish line.

Kristi Hunt of Roanoke, Virginia is the women’s marathon winner, and she finishes with a gun time of 3:32:22.

Yi-Joo Kwon, 66, of Palisades Park, New Jersey approaches the finish line. He will finish with 3:49:11.

Stephanie Byrd of Dallas, Texas is finishing up her relay race.

Richard Marth of Virginia Beach, Virginia rests on a bench after finishing with a time of 3:56:13. This is his first marathon and he says that hills make this course difficult and the last mile, with a steady uphill climb, felt like six miles. But he is happy that he finished in four hours in his very first marathon.

A hot lunch with spaghetti and pizza is served in the Youth Center after the race.

Preliminary results for today’s marathon can be found here.


Written by eric

February 21, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Annual, Sports

Tagged with , , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Eric! These pics are vivid, exciting and so wonderful! And your commentary is enlightening…… too…..THANK YOU!

    Jim Link

    February 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

    • Thanks Jim! It’s always great photographing a marathon; there are always many stories.


      February 21, 2012 at 9:21 am

  2. Great to see images of the happenings from good old Greenbelt.


    February 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

  3. Thanks so much for recapping the event. It’s great getting to see some familiar faces from out on the course and reading about their stories.

    Richard Marth

    February 21, 2012 at 11:36 am

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