Runner Spotlight: Ellie Evans

When did you begin running and why?
My parents were all into the 70s running phenom thing, and they used to drag me to the American University track (in NW DC) at 6 am. As I got older, I would run occasionally to get ready for summer, lose 5 lbs., that kind of thing.

About 15 years ago, I went to Boston and stood on Commonwealth Avenue below the Citgo sign and watched my first Boston Marathon. I decided that the racing thing was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, a few 5Ks and 10-milers later, I broke my ankle rather severely (not from running) and spent a couple of years rehabbing with 13 screws and an 8″ plate in my right ankle. I decided working towards a marathon would be a great incentive for recovery. (My doctor didn’t really agree with this strategy.)

What’s your favorite race distance?
Has to be the marathon. I’m not fast, but I’m consistent. I get in my gear and just stay there.

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRR member?
Like so many others have said, it’s the people! I’ve really made some wonderful friendships. Years ago I would drive by Iwo on Saturday mornings and see everybody and think, “Wow, those are really good runners; I could never be part of that.” I was really nervous joining the marathon training program, but everyone was so welcoming and accommodating and encouraging.

What have you learned from being in the club?
I think I’ve learned a certain confidence that I can achieve running goals that I never thought possible. Everyone in the club is just so encouraging and genuinely interested in your successes and your setbacks.

I’ve also learned the importance of giving back, whether it’s bringing SLR beverages or helping coach with the training programs. It’s amazing how inspiring it is to witness the achievements of others and know you played a small part in helping them achieve their goals.

Do you have any race day superstitions or running rituals?
Yes! I pray fervently to the God o’ Port-a-Potty that we may be graced with short lines and generous amounts of TP.

What is your favorite route in DC?
Capital Crescent 20 miler! I hate the rocky towpath, but love the Capital Crescent. It always seems to protect against the elements: it’s cooler in the summer and shields from winter winds. I like that determined and steady climb up to Chevy Chase. And then—I’m a horse-running-for-the-barn kind of runner—I really like that turn around at mile 10 and putting wings to my heels and heading back to GTown. I try to make each mile faster than the last. The downhill helps, of course, but I just love that run.

How has running changed for you as you have gotten older?
Who said anything about getting older?! I ran my first Boston in 2012; it wasn’t great because of the weather, so four weeks later I ran a marathon in the Poconos, got first in my age group and re-qualified for Boston (2013). That summer I helped coach with our marathon training group on Saturday mornings, then hopped in the car to drive to the beach and run a summer series of 5ks and 5-milers there on Sunday mornings. I won my age group for the series at the end of the summer. In October I ran Chicago with a bunch of our marathon trainees, and qualified again for another Boston (2014).

So, yeah, I’m inclined to just skip the whole old thing.

What’s the last run you did?
I guess it was the Chicago marathon in 2012. Though I can’t believe I didn’t run a Turkey Trot or Jingle Bell something at some point. I will fix that this year.

What’s your proudest race moment?
Qualifying for my first Boston. I was so determined and I trained so hard. It was my third marathon and my previous finishes were a good 20 minutes away from my qualifying time, but I knew I could do it. Problem was, Boston changed the rules half way through my training that spring. It was the year they decided to implement the “wave” acceptance based on how much better you did than the qualifying time. I went into absolute panic overdrive training. I ended up beating my qualifying time by 15 minutes. And I have some very good DCRR friends who helped get me there.

What’s your life like outside of running?
Hectic and busy. I manage a collection of websites that demand a lot of attention. Between work and running, my 12 year old Australian Shepherd thinks I’m not around enough (she eats my running socks). I like to get over to our family beach home in Delaware as much as I can and enjoy a variety of water sports like sailing and kayaking. Winters mean downhill skiing with at least one big trip out West.

What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?
My shoes! Obvious, right?! But, really, I love my running shoes. I have many. I currently have 13 pairs in active rotation. And, I really wear them all. You got your cloudy day, sunny day, treadmill, track, wet, cold, speedy, hot, bad mood, good mood…you get the picture.