Arlington’s Desta Beriso Morkama, 32, added another jewel to his crown by winning the 42nd annual Marine Corps Marathon in 2:25:14, more than two minutes ahead of his closest competition, Wesley Turner, 31, of Danville, Va., second in 2:27:25, with another Arlingtonian, Kieran O’Connor, 30, third in 2:28:07.
Since coming to Arlington in 2016, Morkama has won races of every distance from 5K to marathon all over the region – Annapolis, Baltimore, D.C., Leesburg, Rockville, Piney Point, Md., and Vienna to name a few.
His training consists of a two-hour run in the pre-dawn hours every morning and speed training with Potomac Valley Track Club every Monday and Wednesday night.
Coincidentally, his photo is on the cover of this month’s RacePacket magazine, and he has clinched victory in RacePacket’s 2017 Grand Prix race series.
Morkama ran the first mile with Jeffrey Stein, 31, of Washington, D.C., who inadvertently ran off the course at Lee Highway and continued onto Key Bridge in the absence of a lead vehicle. After a full minute of running alone, they realized their error and doubled back into the pack.
Gradually, they both inched back to rejoin the leaders, and Morkama took the lead for good with two miles to go, as the course passed in front of Long Bridge Park. Stein ended up eighth in 2:30:53.
Sponsored by Safety And Health Foundation, Boom Nutrition, and most recently, Seven-11, Morkama has been studying English at Arlington Mill Community Center and volunteering at local races when he’s not running them. His next race is New York City Marathon.
A total of 753 runners from Arlington were among the 20,303 who finished the 26.2-mile race, billed as “The People’s Marathon.” Kenny Rayner, 27, ran 2:41:34 for 28th among men, followed by Randall Myers, 41, 41st in 2:45:09, and Matthew Howard, 26, 45th in 2:46:14.
Among women, Sarah Bishop, 35, of Fairfax took the gold-laurel wreath in 2:45:07, with Megan Curran, 31, of Fort Carson, Colo., second in 2:50:24, and Suzanne Hutchins, 37, of Gastonia, N.C., third in 2:53:36.
Arlington’s top women were Jessica Brown, 26, 42nd in 3:19:33; Krista Breitzman, 65th in 3:23:49; and Brittany Cain, 25, 87th in 3:26:13.
In the accompanying 10K, two Arlington men shared the podium – Denzel Ramirez, 34, first in 32:17; and Craig Morgan, 26, second in 32:22. Erik McMillan, 20, from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, landed third in 32:50.
Arlington’s Jonathan Finer, 28, took eighth place in 36:00; with Ireland’s Four Courts manager Dave Cahill, 46, 23rd in 38:36; Chris Cummings, 33, 24th in 38:39; and Monte Hawkins, 40, 25th in 38:43.
Bethany Sachtleben, 25, of Alexandria, won the women’s race in 34:07, ahead of Julie Tarallo, 28, of Washington, D.C., second in 38:01; and Amy Smith, 29, of Seattle, third in 38:55.
Arlington women included Katharine Leigh, 24, 10th in 42:52; Washington Running Club president Silver Lumsdaine, 45, 15th in 43:39; Jocelyn Hubbard, 23, 18th in 44:03; and Megan Armstrong, 29, 19th in 44:25.
A full 500 Arlington runners finished the 10K, among 7,061 total finishers.
Jay Jacob Wind’s Arlington Running Roundup appears occasionally in the Sun Gazette. The roundup highlights the achievements of Arlington runners, as well as special events, around the region and beyond.