In Their Shoes 5K Supports Iraqi Children’s Foundation

Story and Photos by George Banker

WASHINGTON, DC, May 21, 2022—Ten years in the making and Saturday, May 21, 2022, the 10th In Their Shoes 5K was held on Hains Point in East Potomac Park.

The runners were lined up along the start under humid conditions. 

The magic of the In Their Shoes is not tied to runner competition or prize money, but the motivation to take action to support the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF).

The ICF intervenes with love and hope in the lives of children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists.

The proceeds from In Their Shoes are used to support the mission of the ICF as stated on the website, “Protect. Nurture. Empower. The Street Lawyers work closely with neighborhood leaders, police, and judges to protect and defend kids who are arrested or victims of trafficking. They get legal documents for kids to go to school and get food and other benefits. Social workers address issues of child labor, trauma, healthcare, abuse, and neglect. The HOPE BUSES deliver tutoring, nutrition, hygiene and health care, psychosocial services, and fun to orphans and at-risk children.”

10th In Their Shoes Results
Hains Point, Washington, DC

Top Women

  1. Laura Ramos, 43, 20:15 (1st Master)
  2. Hannah Hawkins, 14, 20:57
  3. Jessica Frost, 38, 21:21
  4. Julie Marshall, 35, 21:36
  5. Abby Dundore, 25, 22:28
  6. Juliana Perry, 36, 23:36
  7. Christine Hackman, 58, 24:00 (2nd Master)
  8. Erin Dwyer, 45, 24:16 (3rd Master)
  9. Rachel Lamar, 31, 25:39
  10. Mary Lowe Mayhugh, 66, 26:08

Top Men

  1. Jack Beckham, 23, 17:02
  2. John Stilling, 33, 17:15
  3. Matthew Vigeant, 39, 18:25
  4. Alex Soriano, 37, 19:42
  5. Fabio Clavijo, 45, 19:55 (1st Master)
  6. Scott Nuckols, 36, 20:07
  7. Monte Hawkins, 45, 20:59 (2nd Master)
  8. James Pohlman, 40, 21:23 (3rd Master)

Additional Notes Follow the Photos


Additional Thoughts by Runners

“I enjoy running at Hains Point and have done several events through Bishops and have had such a good experience.  In addition, and I was very motivated to participate given the worthwhile cause. I work as a speech-language pathologist with the Infant Toddler Program in Prince George’s County MD, working largely with the immigrants from many countries, and God has definitely put it on my heart to support and care for vulnerable women and children in tangible ways through my work and free time, so supporting the Iraqi Children Foundation was definitely a divine appointment,” stated Laura Ramos of Silver Spring, Md.

“It is hard to imagine ignoring the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Iraq after so much treasure and blood was left in the sand,” said ICF’s chairperson, Jonathan Webb. “We want to honor our fallen brothers by working to improve the lives of those most vulnerable in Iraq. We hope those we reach feel the warmth of our love.” Webb added: “As a former service member, my anxiety is eased as I focus on helping those that desperately need it. When we focus on the good being done rather than the pain, we have experienced from losing our comrades, we begin our healing process,” stated Webb on May 9, 2015.

The history of the race was started as a fundraiser and to raise awareness. The catalyst for the race was at the hands of Katrina Schwien, “My senior year of high school I became president of the school’s service club, which was primarily devoted to writing letters to children with terminal illnesses, but I wanted to put on a fundraiser as part of our project for the year. So, my friends, my mom, and I start thinking about which we could raise money for and how. I had volunteered with Sponsor Iraqi Children Foundation (SICF in the past through my parents. Since the first time I met Cindy Fogleman, she was extremely encouraging to me and supportive. I knew she would be a great person to work with, and my mom told me that SICF was looking to plan a big fundraiser. Plus, the club was aimed at serving children.”

Schwien added, “So that is how we settled on raising the funds for Iraqi children. My friends and I were all cross-country runners in high school and had run in several 5Ks charity runs. A charity race appealed to us more than any other option because it allowed us to raise money for an important cause while doing what we liked to do, and we knew we could get our team involved. I met up with Cindy, and she was on board. In the end, she really put the race on, and I just got people from my school to come. I am so excited that the 5K has continued and been such a success! I wish I could have made it there this year.” (Comments made May 9, 2015).

“The 5K always reminds me of our common humanity. Individuals from incredibly varied backgrounds and personal histories nonetheless gather together on a Saturday morning in May to commemorate our mutual efforts to improve the lives of these vulnerable children in Iraq. Our cause is unifying, and the 5K is a great way to celebrate that every year,” stated Grant Felgenhaue , ICF Chairman Board of Directors.

Firas, lawyer and president of the NGO that runs the Hope Buses stated the following, “Did you know that most Hope Bus children when they first come to us have negative thoughts about themselves like they are stupid, unable to learn. They do not have dreams about the future and feel inferior and that they are not like other children in schools. But when they carry school bags, books and pens, and when they start learning to write the first letter, the change begins. The change is the most important goal that ICF is giving to the children. I always tell you that ICF offers a dream to these children, and when a person has a dream, he will be very powerful and will change. Change is the result that will remain with the child throughout his life.”


“My motivation for running the event was two main reasons. Coming off the spring marathon season (Shamrock Marathon and Boston Marathon) and high mileage, I was looking to focus on shorter events and some speed before ramping up mileage for fall marathons (Berlin and NYC). The second reason was two great experiences in the last few months at other Bishop’s Events races. I enjoy the low- key nature and the causes that each race supports,” stated Stilling.

Stilling continues, “Given the weather, I went into the race expecting to be 20-30 seconds off my personal record (PR). I tried to just keep the first-place runner in sight during the first two miles and tried to reel him in in the last mile. I made some ground up the last mile but couldn’t bridge the final 10-12 seconds I needed to catch him. I always can perform as long as I have 1-2 other guys around my pace or faster. Being in first can be tricky to maintain focus, so it always helps to be a chaser for at least a portion of the race. Overall, I think there was a good mix of runners and speeds in the race.”

“My motivation for staying in the sport is that I enjoy the competition of running and racing (as well as cycling and triathlon). Despite many injuries, I have been lucky to have a steady improvement in most all distances each year which also keeps me motivated. I also met my wife through running and many of our closest friends are also “running friends,” Stilling added. 

Stilling continues what he learned, “In running overall, I learned I can maintain focus in both training and racing for long periods of time. Despite hitting my original lifetime PR goals several times over, I find I still enjoy setting new goals. My drive and focus (and enjoyment) for hitting those new goals has not diminished at all.”

Stilling’s philosophy when it comes to the sport. I take a high mileage and not overly structured approach to running and training. I also make sure to never take a race too seriously. I have met many people who put too much stock in one race as part of their self-worth and that can often negatively impact their race performance. Staying loose and relaxed has served me well to hit goals and have good race experiences every time.”

The winning female was Laura Ramos of Silver Spring, Md., at a time of 20:15.  The second position was captured by Hannah Hawkins at a time of 20:57. Jessica Frost was third with a time of 21:21.

Ramos shares her strategy, “Given the heat, I really didn’t know what I was gonna be able to do but figured I would try to go out around 6:10-6:15 pace and hold it.  The heat keep me from keeping that pace, as I had a slow fad, but overall it’s part of the process of heat acclimatization and was still happy with the effort and everything about the day.”  

“There were a few women at the start that I was running with and I was with a few men mid race, but the last mile I was unfortunately in no man’s land, but still motivated by competing with myself and fighting to finish as well as men that were ahead of me. Going out there were three other females in a tight group when did you pull away?  It was nice to have a little group for a while, but I think it was about .75 miles or close to a mile into the race,” stated Ramos about the competition. 

Ramos commented on motivation for staying in the sport, “I know that God has given me a gift and passion for running for one reason or another, so I guess I got to use it-lol!  It’s a true blessing to be out there giving it my all and pushing limits of what I can do in great community of friends training in Montgomery County Maryland and racing in the DMV.”

 Ramos did learn something about herself, “I learned that I am a fighter, and I don’t quit. No matter how hard things get, there is a fire that won’t go out. Trials and heartache have made me stronger than I ever imagined and somehow by God’s amazing grace, He puts me in circumstances where I can make a difference.” 

When it comes to competing, it is not about winning or losing but using your gifts and talents to the best of your ability on any given day.  Give it your best for the day. Amen! Don’t be too hard on yourself because even on your bad days you can be a blessing to someone,” stated Ramos.


The winning male master (age 40 and older) was Fabio Clavijo in a time of 19:55 (5th place). The second finisher was Monte Hawkins in a time of 20:59.

Laura Ramos was the top master. The best female master time was set in 2016 by Alisa Harvey of Manassas, Va., at a time of 19:30. The second finisher was Christine Hackman at a time of 24:00 (7th place).

Hackman has been running since 1988 and moved into the area in 2007 and currently the president of Washington Running Club(;

Hackman commented on her motivation and strategy, “I’m working on improving my speed and it looked like a good opportunity for that. It was so hot that I decided to (a) be the most enthusiastic runner out there and (b) pay attention to the competition, not myself. This is a complete 180 from my usual self-focused stuffola. Worked well!”

Hackman commented about the competition, “No complaints! I ran with some great people, Bishops Events put on a solid race, I felt honored to support a great cause, the Iraqi Children Foundation, even if I didn’t know about that going in, and I was super-lucky to win the 50+ trophy. I can think of several ladies who would have cleaned my clock had they been there.”

Categories: Race Coverage

Tags: , ,

1 reply

  1. What a great cause to support.
    I think many of us are forgetting about these refugees.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: