Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Local Man Killed in Crash Near Shirlington — “At approximately 7:44 p.m. on July 3, 2020, police were dispatched to the area of Walter Reed Drive and S. Wakefield Street for multiple reports of a crash with injury. The preliminary investigation indicates that the motorcyclist was traveling southbound on Walter Reed Drive at a high rate of speed when he lost control, struck a pole and was thrown from the vehicle.” [Arlington County]

Yorktown Grad Entering Third NFL Season — “The upcoming NFL season, if it is played, will be M.J. Stewart’s third, and the Yorktown High School graduate is more than eager for this month’s training camp then the 2020-21 season to start. ‘I just want to get to training camp,’ said the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” [InsideNova]

Ethiopian Community Facing Dual Challenges — “The Supreme Court on June 25 okayed the Trump administration’s policy of limiting the number of asylum seekers in the country… Most likely to feel the impact locally is the Arlington-based Ethiopian Community Development Council Inc., the refugee-support and State Department-authorized transition agency with offices just off Columbia Pike… this sub-sector of Arlington’s diverse population is among those hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdown.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Why Galaxy Hut is Not Opening Indoors — Updated at 9:10 a.m. — “We just decided ultimately that the questions are too many. Too many questions about how safe it is to be out and dine. And we didn’t feel like with our small size in particular that we would be a good candidate for trying this out. We didn’t want to take the risk.” [WJLA]

River Rescue Blocks Chain Bridge — From Sunday afternoon: “River incident the Potomac River vicinity Fletchers boathouse. Injured 18 year old who fell approximately 20 feet from rocks. Will require patient to be lowered to shoreline and transported by boat.” [Twitter]

Wardian Completes Delaware Run — “Ultrarunner Mike Wardian ran the length of the state of Delaware, starting the 130-mile (209-kilometre) route on July 2 and finishing 26 hours later. He began the run in the afternoon, just north of Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, near the state border with Pennsylvania. He ran in [93 degree] weather straight through the night and next morning, and 26 hours, 19 minutes and 43 seconds later, he crossed the state’s southern border and ran into Maryland.” [Canadian Trail Running]

Photo courtesy Eliana Carreño

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Morning Notes

Schwartz Presents New Capital Plan — “County Manager Mark Schwartz has proposed a $277.5 million one-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The County Manager, rather than proposing the traditional 10-year plan, is presenting a short-term proposal until the County better understands the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the one-year CIP is on projects that are already underway, those that improve failing or end-of-life infrastructure, and those required by legal or regulatory obligations.” [Arlington County]

Juvenile Court Reeling from Coronavirus Cases — “An outbreak of covid-19 in the clerk’s office of the Arlington County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has forced the court to close the office to the public and has concerned lawyers who practice there daily. Four of the seven clerks in the office have tested positive for covid-19.” [Washington Post]

Small Business Grants Announced — “Arlington County today announced 394 businesses are receiving the Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term). The GRANT program provides financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GRANT funds were designed to bridge the gap to provide near-term relief for businesses and nonprofits, some of whom have experienced delays or limitations with federal relief initiatives.” [Arlington County, Arlington Economic Development]

Va. Not Ready for Phase 3 — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday that statewide Covid-19 numbers ‘continue to look favorable,’ but that he will not move the commonwealth into phase 3 of reopening this week. ‘I want to have more time to see how the numbers look before we make changes, especially as we see surges in other parts of our country,’ Northam said.” [Washington Business Journal, InsideNova]

Wardian to Run to Every District Taco — “This is Mike Wardian, a Guinness-World-Record winning runner, who is partnering with DT on Saturday, June 20 as he runs to ALL 12 DMV LOCATIONS (just about 60 miles)! If you see Mike on his run, snap a pic and use #whereswardian for in-app credit for a free taco!” [Twitter]

County Offers Free Trees and Tree Maintenance — “Arlington County loves trees, and knows trees are critical for our stormwater infrastructure, environmental and human health benefits, and through its Tree Canopy Fund EcoAction Arlington offers grants to plant or maintain trees on private property.” [Press Release]

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(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) A fanny pack-clad man exposed himself to female jogger on a local trail, according to Arlington County Police.

The incident happened around 11 a.m. Monday. A crime report lists the location as being in proximity to intersection of 15th Street N. and N. Quincy Street, on the Custis trail near Washington-Liberty High School.”

“The victim was running on the Custis trail when she observed the suspect turn away from the trail, then turn back towards her, exposing himself,” ACPD says. “The suspect fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a white male in his 20’s, with brown hair, wearing blue shorts, no shirt, and a black fanny pack. The investigation is ongoing.”

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Arlington’s own extreme endurance athlete Michael Wardian is comfortable on a treadmill. Comfortable enough to play Madden while running. Comfortable enough to do an interview while running. And, he hopes, comfortable enough to reclaim the 50K treadmill world record tomorrow.

Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Wardian says he’ll start running with an aim of breaking the 50K record (around 31 miles) in around two hours and 57 minutes.

For Wardian, it’s an attempt to take back a record he previously held, but one that he says has been broken a few times since quarantine started and more runners looking for records to beat have taken to treadmills. Wardian says he’s not worried.

“I’ve set a bunch of world records on the treadmill, I’m pretty confident,” Wardian said with a laugh. “There’s nothing you have to worry about other than picking your feet up.”

It would not be the first record Wardian, 45, has set during the pandemic. In April, he ran 262.52 miles in a loop around his neighborhood as part of a quarantine ultramarathon challenge.

Wardian said he enjoys the treadmill because it feels like the most “fair” kind of running, without other factors in the course that can give runners an advantage or disadvantage. He noted that at marathons people only usually see the runner at the start and the finish, but on a treadmill run they can watch him or her the whole time through the race.

“There’s going to be a live stream,” Wardian said. “We’ll send a link out later today and people can Zoom or they can go to my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and can make requests during the run. I think it will be awesome. We’ll have announcers and people there going for other records.”

For aspiring treadmill runners, Wardian also offered a little advice.

“Like a lot of things, it takes a lot of practice,” Wardian said. “A big part is just knowing where all the buttons are and changing the inclines. If you are running, you may want to put it at one percent grade because it mimics being outside. I also recommend changing the incline if you’re on a long run so your feet don’t hit at the same place every time.”

Photo courtesy Michael Wardian

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Morning Notes

Special Election Voting Starts Today — “Arlington election officials have announced plans for two Saturday dates for in-person absentee voting in advance of the July 7 County Board special election. Saturday voting will be available on June 20 and July 4, augmenting the usual Monday-to-Friday early voting that will begin May 22.” [InsideNova]

Big Food Donation to Green Valley Church — “3,300 lasagna and vegetable meals donated by chef Jose Andres’ @WCKitchen were given to those in need at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington [on] May 21.” [@ZoeyMaraistACH/Twitter]

Flags In at Ceremony Despite Pandemic — “The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has continued their tradition of placing American flags at every grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.” [NBC 4]

Arlingtonian Aims to Run Every Street — “Before the pandemic hit, I hadn’t taken a big vacation in years. Since I’m at a dramatically reduced salary from not working full-time and, like so many Arlingtonians, dealing with underlying stress and anxiety while still feeling incredibly thankful, I’ve decided to use this time to discover my own city by walking or running every street.” [Arlington Magazine]

Local Wages Were Rising at the End of 2019 — “The average weekly wage for those working in Arlington (wherever they may live) stood at $1,963 in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data reported May 20 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an increase of 4.7 percent from the same period a year before, well above the national growth rate of 3.5 percent (to $1,185).” [InsideNova]

Local Artist Creates Virus Sculptures — “The sculptures seem to be inspired by the latest breaking news headlines. A figure in a stark white face mask. A giant virus cell mutating into a tentacled sea creature that morphs back into a virus… The centerpiece was a spiky model of “a virus, with seven figures running away,” said [Hadrian] Mendoza, 46, a ceramic artist, sculptor and full-time art director at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington since 2017.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Rain and Storms Today — “Waves of showers or storms are a good bet as the slow-moving upper level low pressure system finally decides to wander by. Round one will end in the morning to midday, but skies remain mostly cloudy. If we do see enough sunshine and heating, it’s not impossible some severe storms will develop nearby.” [Capital Weather Gang]

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Arlington’s resident extreme endurance athlete has pulled off another improbable feat.

Michael Wardian was among the participants in the “Backyard Quarantine Ultra,” a virtual race conducted via Zoom and social media. The race kicked off Saturday and attracted worldwide attention for its unique format — it challenged runners to run about 4.2 miles on the hour, each hour, and broadcast it via the video conferencing app.

What started with 2,300 runners from 50 countries quickly became a battle of attrition. By day two, it was down to just two: Wardian, 45, and Czech runner Radek Brunner.

A TV crew from WJLA showed up to film the spectacle as Wardian repeatedly ran the same loop around the Arlington Forest neighborhood, where he lives, to the cheers of neighbors.

With the round-the-clock race dragging into its third night and surpassing the 250 mile mark, the audience grew.

Finally, at 11 p.m. last night, Brunner — who was running inside on a treadmill — made a mistake: not starting in time when the horn sounded. He was disqualified and Wardian crowned the champion after he completed his loops. He had competed for 63 hours, had not slept, and ended up running a total of 262.52 miles.

“It was a real honor and privilege to be a part of something beyond my imagination,” said an exhausted Wardian, who came a few hours shy of a world record after the race ended.

Congratulations flowed in from all corners of the globe, including from his hometown.

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With running retailer Pacers shutting down its brick-and-mortar stores due to the coronavirus pandemic, the regional chain has shifted its focus to newly-launched virtual fittings.

Like many other video conferences being scheduled for those working from home, virtual fittings are being conducted via Zoom. The customer books an appointment online then joins a one-on-one call with someone from Pacers, who walks them through the sizing and gives the customer some shoe recommendations based on their needs.

The shoes are then ordered online and sent to the house, but can be returned for a full refund.

“This has been incredibly popular,” Pacers CEO Kathy Dalby told ARLnow. “We booked almost 100% — over 50 appointments the first week — within 72 hours of launching. We had 100 scheduled as of this morning.”

Dalby said the company is aiming to increase its capacity for virtual fittings over the next few days. A chat feature on the website has also proven popular for the online store. Dalby credited much of that to outdoor running being one of the few allowable, socially-distanced exercises left and a popular form of stress relief.

“Our online sales have increased 10 fold, as has the option for people to have their product shipped or picked up curbside at select locations,” Dalby said.

Still, Dalby admitted the closure of the physical stores in mid-March hurt the company as closures throughout the region has severely impacted other local retail.

“We certainly saw a large dip the first week when the world was just trying to figure out what was going on,” Dalby said. “Spring is a big season for us so it certainly stings but we saw sales double from the first week of closure to last week as we mobilized our team and rolled out virtual fit options and promotion of our online shop. While the closures are incredibly difficult for all small businesses we are hanging in there and staying positive.”

Dalby said the crisis put pressure on the Pacers team to respond quickly. Virtual fittings, for example, went from concept to market in eight days.

“Normally a product like that would take 3-4 months to develop and test,” Dalby said. “We are design testing it on the fly making edits as we go. Finding these new ways to communicate with our customers will have staying power past COVID-19 for sure.”

The other side of Pacers is as an organizer of local races, like the now-postponed Crystal City 5K Fridays. All races have been put on hold for now.

“April is our biggest month for events constituting about 65% of our event revenue for the year,” Dalby said. “Through amazing partnerships… we have been able to pivot and reschedule a good number of events. We will certainly see a dramatic decrease in revenue for this year but are working now with many of our client events to help them find new dates in the fall.

“This will change the landscape of events,” she added. “We are working with other race producers across the country to mold what the future will look like.”

File photo

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Gatherings of dozens — let alone thousands — of people are now criminal acts in Virginia, which is helping to put the kibosh on an annual series of spring races in Crystal City.

The Crystal City 5K Fridays series, which would have started up at the end of this week, is being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the hope of reviving the races later this year.

“At this time we’ve postponed this year’s series and plan to reschedule,” Crystal City Business Improvement District events manager Cassie Hurley told ARLnow last week.

No word yet on a possible return date for the month-long series of races. In the meantime, the governor’s stay-at-home order allows outdoor exercise while practicing social distancing, so solo 5K runs around Crystal City (and anywhere else) can continue.

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A Courthouse pub is again lending its name to an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed race.

The Four Courts Four Miler will start and finish in front of Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd). It’s taking place on Saturday, March 14, starting at 9 a.m.

New this year, the race is now a part of the St. Pat’s Run Fest, a two-day event that offers three races, including a 5K and 10K in the District on Sunday, March 15.

“Join us for an entire weekend of celebration and running as we combine two of our favorite iconic events,” wrote organizer Pacers Running. “The Four Courts Four Miler (Arlington) and the St. Pat’s Run (DC) merge across our community into one Run Fest. A region-spanning, shamrock-shaking, running event with adult beverages, Double Challenge and Triple Challenge finisher custom medals for our multi-event competitors, post-race fun and the most beautiful views in Arlington and DC.”

The registration fee for the Four Courts Four Miler is $48. Those who register can pick up their bibs from Pacers Clarendon and Pacers 14th Street beginning March 2, up until the morning of the race.

The Four Courts Four Miler course will take runners down Wilson Blvd into Rosslyn, then down Route 110, and back. It famously includes a steep climb at the end and a leprechaun that passes and heckles runners — for a good cause.

Shreeya Aranake contributed to this report. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography.

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Arlington’s resident running superhero Michael Wardian is preparing to attempt another outrageous athletic feat.

Having already run 10 marathons in 10 days, nearly qualified for the Olympics, run across Israel in a record-breaking 10 days, won a marathon while dressed like Elvis, set a world record for running back-to-back marathons on all seven continents, and set another world record for fastest indoor marathon, Wardian is planning to go full Gump and run across the continental United States this summer.

Wardian, 45, tells ARLnow he’s hoping to run the roughly 3,000 miles from coast to coast — potentially from San Francisco or Los Angeles to one of the Mid-Atlantic beaches — in 60 days.

For the record, Wardian noted, that would not be a record-setting pace. Setting the record would be difficult since, between his daily ~50 mile runs, Wardian intends to telework for his day job as an international shipbroker.

Accompanying Wardian on the journey will be a small crew, who will help document the feat and provide logistical support, and perhaps some other runners. Attempting the run, including a stretch through the desert, at the beginning of the summer “is probably going to be terrible,” he said, but he’s excited about the “big, epic” challenge.

https://twitter.com/mikewardian/status/1223273527215828994

Though the exact route is being worked out, while Wardian conducts more research and talks to other people who’ve done the coast-to-coast run, one possible path is to take the Lincoln Highway all the way across the country.

Wardian did not totally rule out turning around and running back across the U.S. after completing the first transcontinental run, like the fictional Forrest Gump, though he said “my wife would probably disown me if I did that.” Another possibility, according to Wardian, should this run go well: attempting the same kind of coast-to-coast run on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

As for how he’s managed to continue running ultra-marathon distances at a seemingly impossible pace for the past 25 years, Wardian credited clean living, a vegetarian diet, and a bit of luck.

“I’ve taken pretty good care of myself, avoiding injury,” he said. “I know when something doesn’t feel right.”

Photos courtesy Michael Wardian

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Morning Notes

NAACP Slams APS Diversity Czar Process —  “The Arlington school system’s effort to appoint a diversity czar has run into a buzzsaw of criticism from the county’s major civil-rights organization. The two co-chairs of the Arlington NAACP’s education committee took to the Dec. 5 School Board meeting to complain that the selection process was leaving out many of those the position is designed to support.” [InsideNova]

Snow Likely Overnight — “Temperatures are poised to leap to near 60 degrees Tuesday, and it won’t feel at all like it could snow. But, in a flash, that will change. An Arctic front charging to the East Coast will switch our weather from fall-like to winterlike in a matter of hours, setting the stage for possible wet snow overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday morning.” [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Yorktown in Xmas Choir Competition — “Vote Now! The @yhschoir is a finalist in 97.1 WASH FM’s Christmas Choir Competition. The top prize is $5,000!” [Twitter, WASH-FM]

Local Bus Routes on Chopping Block — Metro is considering cutting or restructuring a number of local bus routes as part of its new, proposed budget. Among the Arlington bus routes that could be cut are the 5A, 16G, 22A and 22C. [WTOP]

Wardian Attempts Elvis Record — “Local ultramarathoner Michael Wardian has unfortunately failed to re-capture the world record time for the fastest marathon run while dressed as Elvis.” [Canadian Running]

Letter: County Shouldn’t Rescue Fallen Phones — “I question whether retrieving personal property is really an appropriate use of Arlington County resources. It must have cost significantly more than the value of the phone to provide the personnel for the recovery effort. As an Arlington County taxpayer, I resent that.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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