Meeting a Running Idol

On Sunday I volunteered to help out at the U.S. National Road Racing Championships right here in Alexandria. The day started with a 5k followed by the 12k women’s championships and the 12k men’s championships and community race.

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I checked in at the volunteer tent at 5:30 in the dark and jumped at the chance when they asked a few of the volunteers to staff the elite/masters area. Shalene Flanagan, Abdi Abdirahman, Molly Huddle and more amazing runners were going to be there! Ahh! I also spotted Oiselle Haute Volee runner Caitlin Comfort!

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Naturally I was too nervous to go up and say anything to any of them – not to mention I didn’t want to mess with anyone’s pre-race prep, so instead I wandered around in awe and tried to do my assignment of keeping people who weren’t supposed to be in the VIP area out. I probably didn’t do a very good job of this, but I was a bit better at running checked bags to masters finishers after they crossed the line and worked their way through the finisher’s chute.

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It was such a cool day. I got a front row seat at the finish line to see Molly Huddle beat out Shalene Flanagan and set a world record in the process finishing in 37:50. Aaron Braun nearly broke an American record in the men’s race as he coasted to the finish in 34:28 waving to the crowd.

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To top it all off, Deena Kastor was at the race. It was her record that Molly broke. She holds the American records for the fastest marathon and half marathon among others and is one of my running idols! I was so excited to get to meet her and talk for a minute, and she graciously took the time to take a picture with me too totally making my day!

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