Runner Spotlight: Bethany Fahey

Bethany Fahey

When did you begin running and why?

I began running when I was in 7th grade in Syracuse, NY. I went to a small school (Onondaga Senior High School) that housed students from grade 7 though grade 12. I remember hearing over the announcements that the cross country team needed runners and any grade could try out. The next week I went and worked out with the team and to my surprise, I made the Varsity Girls Team. After a successful year, I knew running is what made me happy, so when we moved to Northern Virginia the next year I chose to continue to run for my new school.

How did you find out about DCRR and when did you join?

After attending the University of Arkansas, I moved back to Northern Virginia and had started to get back into running after taking some time off after collegiate competition. I ran by myself on a daily basis- but did not have a group to run with. March of 2010 I met my (now) fiancé, Chris Britz, and was introduced to the group. I was injured when I met him so I would ride my bike for exercise rather than run. A few times, I’d ride and meet the group on the SLR runs and ride next to Chris for a few miles until I chose to continue to get my workout in. Once healthy and able to run in 2011, Chris encouraged me to join the group and I did!

What are you training for right now?

I just completed the Nashville Rock and Roll Marathon on April 26th so I am currently not training for anything at the moment. I will hopefully lock down a fall marathon within the next month or so.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?

I think the toughest run I’ve ever ran was back in High School– it was the regional cross country qualifier that would take me into Footlocker Nationals out in San Diego if I got 7th place or better. I remember starting that race with a field of over 300 runners with an expectation of just running my best. My coach, Dave Davis had me start out fast to get out front; but then told me to settle in once I turned the corner that was 800 meters or so from the start line. I got out fast, ran smart, took the corners rather than running wide; but was absolutely running faster than I usually ran seeing I was out front. With 3/4 of a mile left, I was in 11th place and could see all 4 girls in front of me that blocked me from going to Nationals. I ran past my coach and he gave me the fast rolling arm movement that I knew meant “You gotta go, NOW” and I took off looking straight at the girls’ backs. What seemed like forever, I passed one, and another and could feel myself starting to really hit a wall. With a quarter mile to go, I was in 9th place and knew I needed to pass two more girls. Entering the final stretch and with crowd support, I got on my toes and pumped my arms as fast as I could. I was able to fully pass one and I inched the other out at the finish line by my lean… claiming 7th place and getting a ticket to Nationals. It was the hardest race I had ever run but was one of the memories I will cherish forever.

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRR member?

My favorite part of being a DCRR member would definitely be the many friendships I have made throughout the years. Thanks to DCRR, I started a friendship with one of my greatest friends, Robyn Bernardy almost four years ago on a long run at SLR (after being introduced to her at a race). I knew she was an awesome girl, but we became so close on and off our runs together that she is now a bridesmaid in my wedding.

What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?

One important lesson that running has taught me would be to take one step at a time. In training runs or races, each step is getting you closer to a goal. Whether that goal be to complete your first 5K, to qualify for the Boston Marathon, or even to clear your mind from the stressors of life– each step is ultimately supporting you in achieving a personal goal. In life, I try to take one step at a time in reaching my personal goals. I am no where near perfect (you can ask Chris!) but I try not to rush certain experiences and to truly appreciate the small steps/achievements along the way.

What is your favorite route in the area?

I would say my favorite route would be right in my backyard. We are fortunate to live right near Algonquian Trail & the Potomac River in Loudoun County. Although DCRR has some amazing routes, I am very happy running through the woods alone (or with Chris) with my dog, Roscoe. Although those runs are never fast- I always feel refreshed after enjoying nature to it’s fullest extent.

What race day traditions do you have?

My race day traditions are fairly simple; I carbo-load the night before and shower & put make-up on the morning of. Since college, my teammates would always say “If you feel pretty, you will run fast!” and I stick by that as silly as it may sound. I don’t put much makeup on to begin with; however, waterproof mascara, foundation and stud earrings are usually my go-to on race days.

What’s your proudest running moment?

My proudest running moment would have to be when my fiancé, Chris and I both ran our personal best’s at the Savannah Marathon in 2011 (he at 2:55 and me at 3:08). Both of us trained really hard and it was a real special moment when we both were able to cross the finish line and be happy with how we did. I especially was happy with that race because instead of hitting a wall like I normally do, I was passing people and running my fastest miles the last 4 miles of the race.

What’s your life like outside of running?

I have an awesome job as a Health & Physical Education Teacher in Loudoun County Public Schools- it’s my first year in the county and I am very happy there. I also just took on the job as the new VP of Races for DCRR, so I have been meeting with Ben & learning my responsibilities the past couple weeks. Some other fun things, like I mentioned above, I am currently in my final stages of planning my wedding to my best friend and will be getting married June 1st (25 days away!). We just booked our Honeymoon to Europe over the summer and will be starting the planning for that once in a lifetime trip once the wedding is over… all the while being a mom to two awesome dogs– a dachshund, Riggins and a Vizsla, Roscoe, who we absolutely adore.

What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?

One thing I wouldn’t run without would be my shoes. I’ve seen runners run barefoot, and I have no interest in that….. at all.