“I’m super into it. I just won my first tournament last weekend,” Wardian says, taking a breather from playing and a sporting a pink T-Mobile shirt and hat.
The 47-year-old Wardian is probably most well-known to area residents for his running feats, including completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, running more than 260 miles in a loop around the Arlington Forest neighborhood, and winning the inaugural Marine Corps 50k in 2019.
But now, he’s on to pickleball.
“There’s a sense of newness and beginning something [with pickleball],” Wardian says. “With running, if I want to do something I haven’t done before, I’ve got to do…something pretty huge to have some freshness. It’s fun to be a newbie at something.”
He only started playing the sport a few months ago, in May, when a friend asked him to join a game while in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He ran out to Walmart, grabbed a paddle, and played five games.
“And I just fell in love with it,” Wardian says. “I was like, ‘man, this is like the coolest sport ever.’ I thought it was an old person’s sport.”
While it’s true that pickleball began as a preferred sport for older adults due to its low-impact on joints, it has since grown in popularity with younger adults and, even, kids. There are now more than four million players nationwide, according to the USA Pickleball Association. That number includes Wardian.
“I had no idea how much skill was involved or how addictive it could be,” he says.
While there isn’t complete overlap, Wardian’s ultramarathon skill set has come in handy on the pickleball court. His discipline, endurance, and tall stature all have come in handy.
“I cover a lot of ground,” Wardian says. “I can get to almost any ball. I’m tall and long, so I have good reach.”
One of the pickleball skills he’s working on is controlling his shots and not hammering the ball so hard so it goes out of bounds.
But he’s learning quickly. He estimates he’s invested about 150 hours into the sport so far and is already doing well in tournaments. In fact, Wardian is considering becoming a pro pickleball player. The top players can make tens of thousands of dollars in winnings, not to mention sponsorship dollars.
Because of his running, Wardian has sponsorship deals with local businesses District Taco, Pacers, and MedStar Health as well as T-Mobile (hence, the shirt and hat). Now, he’s looking to get some for his pickleball prowess and is speaking with online retailer Pickleball Clearance about opportunities. He’s also hoping to become an ambassador for the sport through the US Pickleball Association.
“I just want to grow the audience and get more people excited about the sport,” he says.
Pickleball hasn’t been the only thing filling Wardian’s time in recent months. He’s also an owner and partner of Potomac Maritime, working with carriers and ships carrying humanitarian aid and food cargo, which is his main source of income.
Unsurprisingly, Wardian is good at chess too and plays in chess tournaments. He’s also part of several clubs (including the Arlington Chess Club), and coaches the game to younger players.
At one point, he compares chess to pickleball, saying both are about placement, strategy, and knocking the opponent off balance.
“You set up your shot,” he says. “You hit one shot to knock them back and, then, when they’re back, you can put the ball somewhere else.”
For Wardian, no matter what he’s competing in, he is always striving to be at a high level. There is a sharp competitive edge to it all, but his hardest opponent is himself.
“I like seeing what’s possible,” he says. “I like challenging myself.”
When asked what’s the next sport or activity for him to master, he rattles off cycling, surfing, open water swimming, and deep sea fishing. It’s clear he’s already thought about the future.
After talking and a few photos, he heads back to the pickleball court. An average game of pickleball takes about 20 to 25 minutes, but he’s still harping on the last game he played that lasted only about ten minutes.
“We got our asses kicked,” Wardian says. “But we will get the next one.”
The Marine Corps Marathon is offering a new option for runners hoping to kick the intensity up a notch this year.
For the first time ever, the annual race’s backers are planning to put on a 50-kilometer “ultramarathon” alongside two other distance options this fall.
The ultramarathon will be held on the same day as the 44th iteration of the traditional marathon, Oct. 27, and kick off on the National Mall in D.C.
Some of the course will include portions of both the 10K race and regular, 26.2-mile marathon offered as part of the event.
“Runners must maintain an 11:30 minute pace-per-mile through mile 14 on Rock Creek Parkway,” the event’s organizers wrote in a release. “For the remaining 17 miles, MCM50K participants may run at a 14 minute pace-per-mile. Ultimately, the MCM50K will arrive at a joint finish at the iconic U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington.”
Registration for the ultramarathon will open on Feb. 27, but will be limited to 500 participants. The fee is $200 to participate.
Runners in the new event will earn a U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial themed medal, a quarter-zip and commemorative bib, organizers said.
Fresh off running seven marathons on all seven continents in just seven days, Arlington resident Michael Wardian isn’t slowing down.
Wardian, one of the county’s most prolific athletes, says he’s planning to run three more marathons in D.C. this week. He’s planning to finish one each day, starting tonight (Thursday) and running through Saturday.
Hope you all might be able to come out and maybe even run with me. You don’t have to run the whole way.
I am running a marathon as follows, as of now:
Tonight-February 7, 2019 @ 1900 HRS
February 8, 2019 @ 1200 HRS(Noon)
February 9, 2019 @ 1200… https://t.co/BaB2wz67Uh
— michael wardian (@mikewardian) February 7, 2019
Wardian already managed to win the men’s side of the “World Marathon Challenge,” compiling the fastest total time across marathons in Miami; Santiago, Chile; Cape Town, South Africa; Perth, Australia; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Madrid, Spain; and Nova, Antarctica.
With the events this weekend, he’s trying to set a new world record for the fastest time across 10 marathons in 10 days.
He previously set a world record in the 2017 World Marathon Challenge, and has managed all manner of other impressive running feats over the years. The 44-year-old works as an international shipbroker for his day job.
Today’s marathon will start at 7 p.m., giving Wardian some much-needed time to rest, while the other two will each kick off at noon.
Anyone hoping to watch can gather at an event hosted by Pacer’s Running at the Hains Point Picnic Area in D.C.’s East Potomac Park.
Photo via Facebook
The Marine Corps Marathon returns to Arlington next Sunday (Oct. 28), likely bringing over 30,000 runners to Arlington and a resulting tangle of road closures and transportation changes.
The opening ceremonies for the marathon will be held at 6 a.m., followed by the wheelchair and handcycle race starting at 7:40 a.m. Races will continue throughout the day until 3:10 p.m. Award celebrations are scheduled to continue until 9:30 p.m.
Street parking near the race will be restricted and motorists should keep an eye out for temporary “No Parking” signs. Use of rideshare and public transportation is encouraged.
Metrorail will open at 6 a.m. for the race, two hours early, and run extra Blue and Yellow line trains. The closest stop to the race will be the Pentagon station, which will be exit-only until 8:30 a.m.
According to an Arlington County press release, the following roads will be closed for the race.
3:00 AM-5:30 PM Marshall Drive from N. Meade Street to Route 110
3:00 AM-5:30 PM N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Lynn Street
3:00 AM-6:00 PM Route 110 from I-66 to Jefferson Davis Highway
3:00 AM-6:00 PM Wilson Boulevard from N. Nash Street to Route 110
3:00 AM-6:00 PM Lynn Street from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
3:00 AM-6:00 PM Fort Myer Drive from N. Meade Street to Lee Highway
3:00 AM-6:00 PM N. Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway
3:00 AM-6:00 PM 19th Street N. from Lynn Street to N. Nash Street
3:00 AM-4:00 PM Route 110 ramp from Washington Blvd. to Pentagon North parking
6:00 AM-12:00 PM Lee Highway (eastbound) from Lynn Street to Kirkwood Road
6:00 AM-12:00 PM Spout Run Parkway from southbound George Washington
Memorial Parkway (GWMP) to Lee Highway
6:00 AM-12:00 PM GWMP from Spout Run to Memorial Circle Drive
6:00 AM-12:00 PM Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes)
6:00 AM-2:00 PM HOV lanes from 14th Street SW to HOV ramp at S. Eads Street
5:00 AM-4:30 PM S. Eads Street from S. Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive
5:00 AM-4:30 PM Army Navy Drive from S. Fern Street to 12th Street S.
6:00 AM-10:00 AM 15th Street S. from Crystal Drive to S. Eads Street
6:00 AM-4:00 PM 12th Street S. from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive
6:00 AM-4:00 PM Crystal Drive from 12th Street S. to 23rd Street S.
6:00 AM-4:00 PM Longbridge Drive from 12th Street S. to I-395
3:00 AM-5:00 PM Boundary Channel Drive from I-395 to Pentagon North Parking
3:00 AM-5:00 PM Washington Blvd. from Columbia Pike to Memorial Circle
(southbound lanes will reopen at approximately 9:30 AM)
A map of the course, as well as additional race information, can be found at the Marine Corps Marathon website.
Family Wants to See Relative Shot By Police — The family of Steven Best, who was shot by police last week after allegedly trying to ram a police cruiser with a van, says they have not been allowed to see him nor have they been given information on his condition. [WJLA]
Legislative Threat Helped Country Club Tax Deal — “The decision by two Arlington country clubs to take their case to the General Assembly helped get all parties to come together on a deal more expeditiously than otherwise might have been the case, the Arlington government’s top legal official said,” reports the Sun Gazette. Arlington clubs, meanwhile, “came away with most of what they were seeking in assessment reductions.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]
Local Sixth Graders Make Headlines — A fourth-period, sixth-grade class at Gunston Middle School is the May Class of WaPo’s KidsPost. [Washington Post]
Marymount Employee’s Boston Marathon Journey — Katie Sprinkel, a lab coordinator and adjunct professor at Arlington’s Marymount University, overcame knee and leg injuries — and a battle with breast cancer — to finish this year’s Boston Marathon. She was back at work the next day. [Marymount University]
Arlington Among Top Walkable Places — Arlington is No. 9 on a list of the most walkable communities in the country. The list was compiled by the travel site Expedia. [Viewfinder]
Major Metro Work Starting Next Summer — “There will be no service on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines south of Reagan National Airport for 98 days beginning in May 2019, as the transit agency embarks on a platform rebuilding project spanning six stations, part of an effort to refurbish 20 station platforms over three years.” Arlington’s East Falls Church Metro station is also on the list of platforms to be rebuilt. [Washington Post, WMATA]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Pedestrian Hit, in Critical Condition — Police closed a ramp to Washington Blvd and southbound I-395 during a portion of the Monday morning rush after a vehicle hit a pedestrian in the area of Columbia Pike and Queen Street. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [WJLA, WTOP]
Woman With Cerebral Palsy Finishes First Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts has completed her first marathon, finishing the New Jersey Marathon in 14 hours and 33 minutes. Watts, 36, has cerebral palsy and started participating in races a few years ago to get in shape for a family trip. She has since worked her way up to half marathons and now a full 26.2 miles. [WUSA 9]
Homebuyers’ Cost Per Square Foot Increases — Arlington homebuyers’ cost per square foot increased by 3.6% during the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same time last year. Those buying homes within the county paid a median $462 per square foot, which is more than in any other Northern Virginia jurisdiction. [InsideNova]
Taekwondo Legend Dies in Arlington — “Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the ‘father of American Taekwondo,’ died Monday after a long illness. He was 86. His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia.” [Associated Press]
Cinco De Mayo Options in Arlington — Ragtime, Pamplona and Bar Bao are a few of the Arlington options for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this weekend. [Eater]
Petition in Support of Affordable Housing Project — The website Greater Greater Washington is helping to promote a petition that intends to counter resident complaints about a proposed affordable housing project on the former Red Cross site along Route 50. Neighbors are concerned that the project might “defile” the Buckingham neighborhood, with increased traffic and school overcrowding and a loss of green space. [GGW, GGW]
‘A Friend’ Writes Thank You Note to ACPD — From the Arlington County Police Department Twitter account: “To the citizen who left this unexpected note on one of our cruisers, thank you. ACPD is grateful for the support we receive from the community and small gestures like this mean a lot to our officers.” [Twitter]
Arlingtonian Places 23rd at Boston — Among other impressive finishes by Arlington residents at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Graham Tribble finished 23rd with a time of 2:30:06, the fastest among the D.C. area contingent at the prestigious race. [RunWashington, Patch]
High Schools Students Learning How to Spot Fake News — “At Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, some high school seniors are bent over their laptops, engaged in a digital course called Checkology that helps them figure out what makes news and information real, misleading or just plain false.” [Voice of America]
Elementary Girls Heading to Int’l Problem Solving Competition — “An all-girls engineering team from Glebe Elementary School is heading to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals where they will compete with students from nearly 25 countries… The team of fourth graders from Glebe, who are all ages 9 or 10, became state champions last weekend at the Virginia Odyssey of the Mind competition, which was held April 14 in Newport News.” [Arlington Public Schools]
ACPD Forms ‘Restaurant Liaison Unit’ — The Arlington County Police Department has formed a “Restaurant Liaison Unit” to work with local bars to tamp down on drunken and sometimes violent incidents. One Clarendon bar in particular had police responding to it for a call almost every other day in 2017. [Washington City Paper, Twitter]
Glebe Lane Closure Causes Backups — Commuters heading northbound on Glebe Road today faced major backups due to a lane closure near Ballston. Washington Gas has been performing emergency repairs in the roadway since Wednesday. [Twitter, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Rex Block
First Responders Say Starting Pay Is Too Low — “Patrick Gorman was just beginning to enjoy his job as an Arlington, Va., police officer when he decided to quit. His wife was pregnant with twins, and they already had a 2-year-old. Even with both working full time, he said, they couldn’t afford to live in the area. Two months out of training, he left the department in February and moved to North Carolina.” [Washington Post]
Large Arlington Contingent for Boston Marathon — Some 77 runners from Arlington are set to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon a week from today. [InsideNova]
Public Safety Personnel Recognized for Crisis Interventions — “Four Arlington County police officers, two sheriff’s deputies, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher were honored this week for their exemplary work in responding to people in a mental health crisis when on a call or on the job.” [Arlington County]
Spotted: Michael Irvin — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin was spotted hanging out at Champps on Pentagon Row over the weekend. [Twitter]
Rosslyn Hotel Opening Brings Up HQ2 — It’s difficult to find an economic development event in Northern Virginia these days that doesn’t spark discussions of Amazon’s HQ2. At an opening for the new Homewood Suites hotel in Rosslyn, Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins remarked that “you’d have to build, like, 10 more of these” if Amazon were to come to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]
ARLnow Doesn’t Have a Wikipedia Page — Did you know that despite being around for more than eight years, and being cited as a source in plenty of Wikipedia pages, ARLnow does not have its own page? With Facebook now starting to use Wikipedia as a signaling mechanism for trustworthiness, now would be a great time for someone to finally give ARLnow its own Wikipedia entry. Pretty please?
Frigid Weather Makes Firefighting More Difficult — The persistently cold weather may be responsible for a recent spike in structure fire calls. Meanwhile, the deep freeze is “taking [firefighters’] biggest weapon, water, and using it against them.” [WJLA]
Beyer Blasts Trump Tweet — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted the following this morning in response to a tweet from President Trump: “Trump opens 2018 with calls for prosecution of his political enemies… Every Member of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Protecting rule of law must not be partisan.” [Twitter]
Grassley Tweets About Local TV — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is not a fan of the History Channel’s dearth of shows about history. He tweeted the following over the weekend after apparently watching public television channel WHUT: “Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???” [Twitter]
Pacers Owner Keeps Marathon Streak Alive — Yorktown High School alum, Pace the Nation host and Pacers Running owner Chris Farley has kept his two-decade streak of running a sub-three-hour marathon every year alive. He did so by completing a hastily-organized but official 26.2 mile course around Hains Point in 2:52:53 on Friday. [Washington Post]
ACFD Reminding Residents to Close the Door — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed and to close doors behind them in the event of a fire, to help prevent flames from spreading. [Twitter]
Last Call: Advertiser Thank Yous — The website you’re currently reading is 100% advertiser supported. If you think ARLnow is an important resource for the Arlington community, we would greatly appreciate if you could help us thank our advertisers by sending one of them a postcard through this online form.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Home Sales Increase — The number of homes sold in Arlington last month totaled 252, which is an 18.3 percent increase over last year. The average length of time between listing and ratified sales contract for homes that went to closing in March was 55 days, which is unchanged from last year. [InsideNova]
E-CARE Recycling Event on Saturday — Arlington County will hold its biannual E-CARE event on Saturday. Residents can safely dispose of items including household hazardous materials, bikes, small metal items, clothing and compact fluorescent light bulbs. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 15 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road). [Arlington County]
Wardian Runs Barkley Marathon — Well-known Arlington marathoner Michael Wardian competed in the notoriously difficult Barkley Marathons trail race, but he did not finish under the 60-hour time limit. In fact, only one person finished the race this year. Wardian says this was one of the most difficult races he’s ever done. [Washington Post]
Metro Station Manager Arrested — A Metro station manager at the Pentagon has been arrested and charged with assaulting a fellow employee. The fight happened Wednesday afternoon inside the station manager’s kiosk, police say. [Washington Post]
Yorktown Grad’s Music Video Goes Viral — Budding hip-hop artist Hovey Benjamin has tallied nearly 1.5 million YouTube views of his new, NSFW music video. Benjamin lived in Arlington and attended Yorktown High School and Virginia Commonwealth University before moving to Los Angeles and signing a record deal. [Real House Life of Arlington, Uproxx]
New Condo and Townhouse Sales Center — Sponsored — Learn about all of the newest and most well-appointed properties in Arlington and DC without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself. Stop by the Sales Center this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in the area. Located at 1600 Wilson Blvd. [Keri Shull Team]
Dozens of Arlington Runners Competing in Boston — Seventy-six Arlington runners will be shipping up to Boston next month for the Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s most prestigious races. The field includes local running superstar Michael Wardian, who is also competing in this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon. [InsideNova]
CERT Training Still Open — A few spaces are still available in Arlington’s Community Emergency Response Team spring training class. The eight-session, 26-hour course begins next week. [Arlington CERT]
Library Exhibit on Baltic WW2 Refugees — Arlington Public Library is hosting an exhibit through April 17 on Baltic refugees from World War II. “‘No Home To Go To’ is the story of people living in refugee camps and finding a home in a new land, as told through their memories, documents, photographs, and memorabilia,” according to the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman