Last Friday morning I announced to the Georgetown Running Company Race Team “board” that I’d be “resigning” as “Captain of Teams” the next day. I use quotes when describing these actions, because there has never been any official hierarchy in place. That said, for the past 5 years I’ve served as the de-facto leader of this team and I felt it wise to step aside and allow new leadership to fill the void.
In the fall of 2006, I met up with a crew of guys at the Georgetown Store on a cool Saturday morning. To be honest I can’t recall who was actually there, but I do remember meeting Scott Munro, Steve Money, Dave O’Hara and Max Lockwood (who had shepherded said meeting and who I later wrestled control of the team from in a bloodless coup) early on. We exchanged pleasantries and then hit the C&O Canal for a friendly out and back. I felt like a freshman at my first day of practice; I didn’t know anyone and was curious to know whom all these people were. Where did they run in school? Were they fast? What were their PRs? Could I hang? I began to get very excited about running again. I was 26 years old and hadn’t run a personal best in 5 years (though I had recently run 53:20 for 10 miles), so I decided to recommit myself to the sport and focus on running faster than I ever had in college (15:30, 25:30xc, 32:45xc). Heck, now I’d have a team to help me share the burden. Over the next few months, runners would come and go, but a core group of athletes, donning blue and white Brooks RunCo singlets, soon coagulated together and formed the basis of the *new* team. In early 2007, I started the Georgetown Running Company blog as a nexus for organizing group runs and other team things. The blog became a great virtual meeting place and it attracted like-minded post-collegians and fans alike. The history of the team is essentially chronicled on the blog, so I won’t go into all the minutiae here, but it really brought a great group together: Matias showed up one Sunday at The Line, Jason Dwyer convinced me to train with him for Grandma’s Marathon and Chris Bain illustrated that he was the fastest marathoner in North Bethesda. In the fall of 2007, Patrick Reaves came along and we started working out at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in earnest. Over the next couple of years the team snowballed from a dozen lonely twenty something year olds looking for training partners into a solid post-collegiate racing machine. Statistics indicate I got far more from the team than the team ever got from me. Without the team I would still be running sixteen minute 5ks instead of setting PRs (this is fact!) so I am, and will forever be, grateful to the team for that.
I am not going anywhere per se (though I could be later this year) and will continue to lace up the shoes and focus more on training alongside the team instead of working logistics and managing schematics behind the curtain like I’ve been doing for the past half decade. But really, at the end of the day, I decided to step aside because leadership always needs new blood. Democracies thrive on change. Our stable now houses some 50 athletes and it’s important for others to step up and assume command and share the burden. This, above all, is how the team will progress. This is how the team will succeed.
* Note - before I had ever even heard of the Georgetown Running Company, there was indeed a very competitive race team in place. In 2006 that team seemed to be winding down, but many still donned the singlet. The team that preceded me was comprised of Ben Cooke, Kyle Smits, the Frenchman Philippe Rolly, among others, as well as a team of women coached by George Buckheit and led by the Marine Mary Kate Bailey.