by George Banker
The 16th United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Series half marathon was held in Washington, D.C, on November 13, 2021. The event returned after a postponement of the 2020 race due to COVID-19, but shifted from March until November. To comply with race permit guidelines, the race organizers implemented health protocols over the race weekend, including the exposition.
The runners were out in force with the third-largest field of finishers (16,578 with 6.621 males and 9,957 females). The event has been taking place since 2006 (958 finishers), and in 2013 there were 19,993 finishers. The return to running in Washington remains strong.
The men’s record was set in 2010 by Mark Fruin of Bloomington, IN (1:05:02). The female record was set in 2009 by Hirut Mandefro of Ethiopia (1:15:36). The master male record (1:11:26) was set in 2008 by Robert Weiner of Evergreen, CO, and the female record (1:20:28) was set in 2015 by Jen Maranzano of McLean, VA .
The certified course offered some challenges with several moderate hills and 24 turns. Off the start line, Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh assumed the lead and began to place some distance on three trailing runners. Going into the second mile (10:24), a gap started to form. By the third mile (15:41) behind the John F. Kennedy Center, Alkhawaldeh was running solo. By the fourth mile (20:53) at the start of Rock Creek Parkway, Alkhawaldeh was alone, and by the fifth mile (26:10) there were no runners in sight. The race was out of reach before Calvert Street at mile six (31:17). The pace was steady and Alkhawaldeh glanced over the shoulder a few times to see nothing but spectators.
The pace was being held to about five minutes per mile, even when pulling the hills. The seventh-mile time elapsed time was 36:47. It was clear that Alkhawaldeh had no competition and he covered the last miles to capture the win in a time of 1:07:48 (13th fastest winning time).
Alkhawaldeh has a marathon personal best of 2:20:05 (Berlin Marathon 2019). The Foundation for Global Sports Development presented him with the Athletes in Excellence Award in 2017. The award recognizes outstanding efforts in community outreach and youth mentorship. Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh focused on using sport for peacebuilding in the Middle East and North Africa. Mo’ath is an ambassador for the Beirut Marathon Association.
Christopher Bourke of Arlington, VA was second in 1:11:04. The third-place finisher was Yezid Orjuela of Bogota, Columbia in a time of 1:11:35.
Sarah Bishop of Fairfax, VA, won the women’s race in 1:20:43 (13th fastest winning time), Lindsay Siska of Durham, NC, was second in 1:21:16. The third finisher was Julie Hartenbach of Springfield, VA, in a time of 1:21:45.
The top male master was Jay Hudson of Rockville, MD (1:15:21). The top female master was Elena Makarvich of Gaithersburg, MD (1:30:16).
The companion marathon was held 2006 through 2019 and has since been discontinued.
- Sarah Bishop, 39, Fairfax, VA, 1:20:42
- Lindsay Siska, 27, Durham, NC, 1:21:16
- Julie Hartenbach, 35, Springfield, VA, 1:21:45
- Bethany Spector, 32, Virginia Beach, VA, 1:22:10
- Kathryn Harrison, 32, Denver, CO, 1:23:55
- Alice Henley, 33, Plantation, 1:24:18
- Molly Applegate, 26, Washington, DC, 1:25:05
- Kayla Campasino, 34, Columbia, MD, 1:25:40
- Caitlyn Tateishi, 35, Washington, DC, 1:26:59
- Teal Liu, 36, Hershey, PA, 1:27:58
- Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh, 33, Washington, DC, 1:07:48
- Christopher Bourke, Arlington, VA, 1:10:54
- Yezid Orjuela, 34, Bogotá, COL, 1:11:35
- Matthew Sarge, 28, Washington, DC, 1:12:43
- Alex Gorski, 34, Washington, DC, 1:12:54
- Erik Chazen, 26, Scottsdale, AZ, 1:13:08
- Derek Morgan, 36, Memphis, TN, 1:13:23
- Jacob Caswell, 24, New York, NY, 1:13:29
- Daniel Jacobs, 29, Frederick, MD, 1:13:41
- Adam Staveski, 27, New York, NY, 1:14:08
Categories: Race Coverage