Many times over the last 7 years, people have asked me, “How did the DC Capital Striders begin?” Well, here is your answer.
In spring 2006, I was having a conversation with a neighbor of mine about where people meet others in the area? I am not talking about joining a random kickball league, or softball league and than going out to drink, or joining one of the dating websites. I was talking about meeting others with similar interests and healthy lifestyles. She drew me to the attention of a website called meetup.com. I was first very reluctant, but then decided to take a look at this website. I cruised around, looking at various pages and interests, some photography, some knitting, some animal lovers, foodies, and came across a page that had 3 members and was listed Washington Running. I decided to join and give it a whirl.
I came down to the mall one early April 2006 evening and met 3 other runners. We met outside the Smithsonian metro station, ran towards the Lincoln Memorial, back up towards the Capitol building and back to the metro station. This was way before I had a GPS system, and I had no clue how far we had run, or how fast; I just know I loved it. This was also before I had run anything longer than a random 10K, and had never run more than around 48 minutes in my entire life. This run was about 45 minutes long.
I decided to join again the next week and had a casual conversation with the leader about the group. She informed me that she was headed to graduate school and could no longer take control of the group, and asked me if I would like it. I agreed, she transferred the group over to me, and now I had a running group on meetup.com with about 10 members. I continued this weekly run down at the Smithsonian metro every week for about 2 months. I would leave work, walk my dog, drive downtown, wait for runners, leave the run, come home, shower, and head to bed for another days work. It was a great way to enjoy the sites around the mall in downtown Washington DC, as I live/work in the burbs of Tysons Corner, VA and Vienna/Fairfax, VA.
This run continued for about 2 months and I met a lot of really great people who I consider friends and the FIRST of MANY DCCS runners I have met over the years. In matter of fact, this was before we actually had a name. More on that later. So, I had a conversation with a few people who run downtown regularly, and before long, we had a Dupont Run, a Capitol Hill Run, and a run in Georgetown. 10 members became 50, 50 became 100, and 100 became 500. When the group got to around 500, I had a discussion with one girl in the group (Miriam) about having a name for the group. We came up with Capital Striders, but after doing an internet search and finding a Capital Striders in Iowa (of all places), I decided to make it “DC” Capital Striders. Another member in our group created a logo, and before long, we had a name and a logo. Pretty cool!
Over the last 7 years, WE have turned into a very large community of runners, open to all runners of all paces and ability levels. We have volunteered at TONS of races in the community, organized our own races for various charities including American Red Cross, Salvation Army, DC Central Kitchen, Back on my Feet, High Cloud Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and soon Special Love. In short, it’s pretty amazing how far we have come. Since 2006, I have completed 4 marathons, several half marathons, other endurance events, a few triathlons, centuries, and half Ironman distance races. I also became a certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America.
It’s become a huge part of my life and I have met a ton of amazing people! I can honestly say one thing, I have never met a pessimistic and unhappy endurance athlete, only when they are injured naturally. I am thankful for the ALL the amazing people over the years who have helped DCCS become what it is, and also helped me to become the athlete and person that I am today.
The DC Trash Running Group originating in 2009, an outreach project by Atayne, has provided many Washington DC parks and trails with a cleaner look. Runners begin at a central location, bags and gloves in hand, and trek out a course of between 2 to 3 miles. Participants collectively run, and then walk back to the starting location, picking up glass bottles, soda cans, and other various items along the trail. The group recycles as much as possible and the rest is placed in trash bins/dumpsters along the course.
“It’s a great way to first meet new people, second get in a good run, and third clean up the environment” says one long time participant. Participants feel a great sense of pride in the community and many people observing show their gratitude.
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