Arlington, VA

Crystal City’s 5K Fridays are just around the corner for those looking for a “low key race” each week.

The race series returns to Crystal City for its 10th anniversary this year. Starting on April 5, runners can race each Friday starting 6:30 p.m. Billed as the area’s “fittest happy hour,” Crystal City 5K Fridays give race participants tickets for exclusive bars after they finish.

The race itself starts and ends at the Crystal City Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive), looping along Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.

Attendees can register here and pay $25 for one race, or $75 for all the races which comes with a free T-shirt.

Crystal City 5K Fridays is organized by Pacers Running store and sponsored by the Crystal City Business Improvement District and JBG Smith.

Runners can check their bags with race attendants before the 5K begins and will have access to restrooms in the Crystal City Shops (2100 Crystal Drive), per the organizer’s website.

Participants can use a water station at the start line to fill up water bottles and will be able to refill at another water station organizers say will be outside Long Bridge Park.

Current course records for the Friday race are 15 minutes, 10 seconds for men set by Bert Rodriguez in 2011, and 16 minutes, 22 seconds for women set by Susanna Sullivan in 2016, according to the Pacers website.

Photo via Pacers Running

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Morning Notes

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

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The Crystal City Twilighter, a mid-summer 5K race through the heart of Crystal City, is just over a couple of weeks away.

The race begins Saturday, July 22 at 8:30 p.m. Participants can either register as individuals, or as part of a team with other runners.

The race begins at 2121 Crystal Drive at the Crystal City Courtyard Green, and follows Crystal Drive past Long Bridge Park.

Teams must register with a minimum of five members to participate, and include at least two male and two female runners.

Once a team is registered, they can choose to be in one of three divisions: Racing Clubs and Teams; Community Run Clubs; or Pacers Neighborhood Fun Runs.

This year teams in each division will be competing for points in four categories: being the biggest, fastest, strongest and smartest.

The points for the biggest team are awarded to the team with the most runners, while the fastest team will earn points for speed based on the combined finish times of its five fastest runners. To earn points for being the smartest team, members participate in a six-question round of Trivial Pursuit before the race.

After the race, specials for participants will be available at local bars and restaurants.

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Four-Courts-Four-Miler-2017If you’re out and about in Courthouse and Rosslyn tomorrow morning, be prepared for some road closures and restricted parking.

Pacers is hosting its annual Four Courts Four Miler on Saturday. The race takes runners from the start at Ireland’s Four Courts along Wilson Boulevard and Jefferson Davis Highway before returning to the finish line outside the pub.

The starting gun will sound at 9 a.m.

Arlington police said they will close Wilson Boulevard from Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street from 6:30 to 11 a.m.

Wilson Boulevard also will be closed from Route 110 to N. Courthouse Road from 8:45 to 11 a.m., while Route 110 will be closed between Interstate 395 to Interstate 66 at the same time.

Police said street parking will be restricted, and vehicles parked illegally where there are temporary “No Parking” signs could be ticketed or towed.

The Safeway at 1525 Wilson Boulevard can be still be accessed at N. Nash Street or N. Oak Street, while southbound Route 110 will stay open. Metrobuses will detour from N. Moore Street west onto Wilson Boulevard and north on N. Nash Street from their regularly scheduled routes.

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Chris Farley (center) recording his Pace the Nation podcast

Chris Farley is a native Arlingtonian who had a knack for running and turned it into a thriving local business.

Farley, the owner and co-founder of Pacers Running, talked with us about how he and his parents bought a local running store and worked hard to grow it to a small chain that also organizes local races.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast we also ask Farley about his podcast, Pace the Nation, and about some of his well-known clients. Be sure to stay tuned to the end for a discussion about the challenging retail climate in Arlington County and how e-commerce is impacting local businesses.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Marine Corps Marathon sign outside Pacers Clarendon storeThose running the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30 now have an alternative to picking up their race packets at National Harbor this year.

The new packet pickup location has some worried about crowds at the Maryland shopping, entertainment and tourism destination, which is not Metrorail accessible. In response, local running store Pacers has made a deal to pick up packets for customers and bring them to Pacers locations, including the store at 3100 Clarendon Blvd in Clarendon.

The catch: you have to buy at least $125 in Brooks running gear — including Marine Corps Marathon apparel, which will be available — at Pacers between Sept. 28 and Oct. 24 to be eligible.

Pacers will also be holding mini-expos at the company’s Clarendon and Navy Yard stores just before the marathon.

“We will be hosting expotiques at Pacers Navy Yard and Pacers Clarendon on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 with all the great last minute essentials and great deals you expect at the expo — just without the massive crowds and travel headaches!” Pacers said on its website. “And for those of you who participate in our packet pick up program, we’ll have your packet waiting for you with a smile.”

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Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Pacers Running may not be a startup, but it is using digital media to connect with customers in an innovative way more akin to a tech startup than a small specialty retailer.

Since April 2015, Pacers has been extending its reach with a podcast called Pace the Nation. While podcasts aren’t new, they have increased in popularity and influence since Serial helped to reinvigorate the format.

Pace the Nation is a weekly running podcast recorded by a trio of Pacers familiar faces: Chris Farley, who co-owns the chain of stores, Joanna Russo, who manages the Navy Yard store in D.C., and William Docs, a former college teammate of Farley. The show often features special guests, from local high school cross country coaches to elite athletes like Matthew Centrowitz, who won Olympic gold in Rio in the 1500 meter.

Pace the Nation recording

Pacers was founded in 1991 in Alexandria, and has since grown to five local stores in the District and Virginia, as well as a location in Princeton, N.J. Russo said the podcast is a way to still maintain a personal relationship with shoppers as the business branches out.

“It started as one family-owned business and it’s grown to five in the area and one in Princeton,” she said. “When you start to get bigger, it helps people still connect with us if we were still that one storefront.”

The podcast, which launched in April 2015, at first had just a handful of listeners – mostly family members and people who were fans of the store – but now regularly gets about 1,000 listeners every week, Farley said.

Docs said that the listeners are his favorite part of the show.

“I think the coolest thing about the whole podcast for me is the community that it’s built. We have some people who never miss an episode, they tweet to us, they come out to social events,” he said.

Many of the show’s listeners are active in the local running community — they who sign up for local 5Ks and marathons, who join running groups and train all year round. One of Pace the Nation’s devoted fans, Annie Hughes, said that she has been listening to the podcast for a little over a year and looks forward to the new episodes every Monday.

“Arlington can often seem big and impersonal, but PTN showcases the vibrant running community here and invites the listeners to be a part of it,” she said. “When Farley and Docs speak about their favorite running trails, I can immediately relate, as I run those trails too.”

(Today’s Pace the Nation episode — No. 74 — features Marine Corps Marathon Race Director Rick Nealis.)

Hughes said she also loves the show’s non-running discussions, including conversations about dogs, books and Uber woes — something to which all locals can relate.

The podcast started as a way to just “spread the gospel of running,” Farley said. Even now that it’s attracted quite a following, Farley said its primary purpose isn’t to increase sales or drive business to the store.

“This really gives us this platform that really tells our brand story,” he said. “It gives a look into our personalities and who we are and I think makes us more relatable. I think when you get more people to relate to you and to like you, they’re more likely to do business with you. But that’s not even the goal of the show, to ring the register. It’s really to truly inspire people to get out and run.”

The Pacers Clarendon store (3100 Clarendon Blvd) will soon include a new studio for the podcast, with a window to the street so passersby can see the podcast hosts in action, according to Farley. He said he chose to base the show in the Arlington store because of the large number of runners in Arlington, and because it’s the place he’s called home for nearly his entire life.

“I think I’m sort of a rare breed in that I actually grew up here and now live here,” he said. “I definitely make that known on the show, that I am very proud of being an Arlingtonian.”

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Crystal City Twilighter 5K on July 25, 2015 (photo courtesy Crystal City BID)Crystal City will host the annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race on Saturday, July 23.

The race, organized by Pacers, will kick off at 8:30 p.m. The relatively flat course will start and finish will be in front of 2121 Crystal Drive.

There will also be a post-race party with food and drink specials at local restaurants. Cash prizes will be awarded to overall male and female runners. Age groups ranging from 1-10 and 80+ will also be given prizes.

Registration is $45 for adults over the age of 18, but $25 for those 18 and younger. Space is limited to 3,000 runners.

Disclosure: The run is sponsored by the Crystal City BID, an ARLnow.com advertiser.

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Morning Notes

Trees in bloom on Feb. 29, 2016

It’s March 1 — Not only is today the first day of March, with spring (March 20) and Daylight Saving Time (March 13) around the corner, but it’s also the Super Tuesday presidential primary day here in Virginia. Arlington’s 52 polling places opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]

Committee of 100 to Discuss Racial Tensions — On Wednesday, March 9, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a discussion entitled “Are Arlington’s Police and Justice Systems Prepared to Respond to Community and Racial Tensions?” Among the speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Police Chief Jay Farr. [InsideNova]

Bowen McCauley Dance Performing at Kennedy Center — Arlington’s Bowen McCauley Dance company will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with performances at the Kennedy Center later this month. [WJLA]

It’s a Good Time to Lease an Office in Arlington — D.C.-based commercial real estate firm West, Lane & Schlager is advising companies to consider leasing office space in Arlington in the near future. The firm says the D.C. area is definitely a tenant’s market at the moment, but the tide will eventually turn. With vacancy rates stabilizing, companies can take advantage of lease concessions now, before the market turns in favor of landlords, the firm says. [Patch]

Four Courts Four Miler Coming Up — The popular annual Four Courts Four Miler race will take place Saturday morning, March 12. Registration is currently $40 and will, in part, benefit the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund. As in previous years, those who beat the runner dressed up as a leprechaun — Ireland’s Four Courts manager Dave Cahill, a 3:10 marathon runner — will get a special gift from the pub. [Pacers Running]

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Start of 2011 Crystal City Twilighter 5K (courtesy Crystal City BID)Crystal City’s upcoming, eighth annual Twilighter 5K will give runners the opportunity to pound the pavement in the cooler hours of a summer evening.

The race is scheduled to kick off at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. The relatively flat course will start and finish at 2121 Crystal Drive, between 20th and 23rd Streets.

The opportunity for a twilight run isn’t the event’s only selling point: there will also be a post-race party with deals on drinks and food at several local establishments, as well as cash prizes for the course’s top finishers.

Pacers, the run organizer, is billing the race as a great way for high school cross country runners or teams to get energized for the upcoming season. Runners can sign up online; registration is $40 for adults and $20 for high school students.

The run is sponsored by the Crystal City Business Improvement District, an ARLnow.com advertiser, and Vornado/Charles E Smith.

Photo via Crystal City BID

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Freedom Four (Copy)This Sunday marks the second annual “Freedom Four” race, which will result in some road closures in the Rosslyn and Courthouse areas.

To accommodate the four-mile course, the Arlington County Police Department will be closing roads sections of Wilson Boulevard, Clarendon Boulevard and Route 110 on June 28 (below). All roads are expected to be open to traffic after 10:30 a.m.

Between 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from N. Courthouse Road to N. Rhodes Street.

Between 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Wilson Boulevard will be closed from from Route 110 to N. Courthouse Road. Courthouse road will remain open. Again from 7:45 to 10:30 a.m., Route 110 Northbound will be closed from I-395 to I-66.

Parking in the area will be also be restricted during the race, and drivers should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. According to the ACPD, illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed.

The U.S. Track & Field-certified course will start and finish on Wilson Boulevard, near the restaurant Ireland’s Four Courts. The race begins promptly at 8 a.m., and participants are advised to arrive early.

Freedom Four was started last year by Pacers Running to replace their previously offered Fourth of July race, the Let Freedom Run 5K. For $40, residents can register for the race online.

Photo via Pacers Running.

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