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A guide to Whitman’s best after-school running routes

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A guide to Whitman’s best after-school running routes

Junior Aaron Bratt rounds a curve in a race. Bratt, along with the rest of the cross country and treack and field teams, follow pre-set runs that are simple and vary in difficulty and length. Photo courtesy MileSplit.

Junior Aaron Bratt rounds a curve in a race. Bratt, along with the rest of the cross country and treack and field teams, follow pre-set runs that are simple and vary in difficulty and length. Photo courtesy MileSplit.

Junior Aaron Bratt rounds a curve in a race. Bratt, along with the rest of the cross country and treack and field teams, follow pre-set runs that are simple and vary in difficulty and length. Photo courtesy MileSplit.

Junior Aaron Bratt rounds a curve in a race. Bratt, along with the rest of the cross country and treack and field teams, follow pre-set runs that are simple and vary in difficulty and length. Photo courtesy MileSplit.

By Maddy Frank

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Every afternoon, Whitman’s Track and Field team sets out on a run. The team has a number of different routes, which vary in length and difficulty, but they each have their own ups and downs (pun intended) for runners. If a student is looking for an easy way to get a workout in, the Track and Field team has a few pre-constructed runs that anyone can follow.


Maiden, named for the lane that it starts on, is a one mile run circling Whitman. It’s the most suburban of the courses, taking runners exclusively through the neighborhood behind the school. Although it includes a few hills, the course remains relatively easy.

“Maiden is kind of like old reliable,” junior Obi Onwuamaegbu said. “It’s always a good warm up or cool down. It’s not too long, so overall it’s pretty fun.”

Maiden is also good for anyone looking to get a workout. While the typical run has students going down the 150 meter hill in the middle, running back up the hill can be a rewarding challenge for those who want to try. The number of repetitions is up to the runner, but eventually running up the hill can feel as good a workout as a gym session. For a track workout, runners usually complete a minimum of six repetitions.


The Landon School, across the street from Pyle Middle School, has a running path around its campus that’s about three miles long. The scenery changes frequently on the run—first, runners go around the school’s soccer fields, through the woods, then through part of the campus—ensuring a runner won’t get bored. For some students, though, the best part of the course is the open spaces. Unlike Maiden, Landon doesn’t have houses on either side of the path, and runners often gets lost in the scenery.

For junior Breanna McDonald, the best part of Landon is the views.

“My favorite part about Landon is this slight hill, and late in the afternoon, you can see the sun setting.” McDonald said. “Especially during the winter, I think that’s really pretty.”


Bethesda is a five mile run, going from the Whitman neighborhood into downtown Bethesda via the Capital Crescent Trail. It’s one of the more demanding runs for the track team.

“It’s a good staple. It’s got everything you need,” senior Josh Engels said. “It’s fun running in downtown Bethesda, and the trail part is really fun. It’s a good in-between.”

While Bethesda is the longest run, it also has the most opportunities for breaks. Students can bring money with them to buy something or can stop at a restaurant to ask for water.

These runs are perfect for a student looking to start running or build up their mileage. And because they’re all straight from school, it’s easier to run with your friends.

“Because you’re running a lot more milage, there’s a lot more time to just relax with your friends. It’s not like you have to go high speeds,” McDonald said. “You can just talk to your friends and just get to know them better.”

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7 Responses to “A guide to Whitman’s best after-school running routes”

  1. Just your average hobby jogger on May 5th, 2018 4:53 pm

    Oh and there’s also this run that’s 11-15 miles long (depending on one’s mileage needs) that the team often does as a long run on Sunday. The run starts similar to Bethesda but then heads north toward Silver Spring on the Capital Crescent Trail until you reach Rock Creek Park. Runners then meander their way through Candy Cane City until they reach Beech Drive; this is where the fun begins. After crossing Beech Drive, runners find themselves beginning to climb up Leland Steet though a hilly neighborhood. Runners spend the next two miles ascending and descending five hills, the last of which is half a mile long. It is during this stretch of the run that Whitman’s runners often choose to pick up the pace from a casual 6:40-7:00 per mile pace to a more demanding 6:00-6:30 tempo. After cresting the final hill, runners still have three flatter miles before arriving back at Whitman, which they use to continue their momentum from the previous miles. This often leads to runners finishing their 11-15 mile run with a final mile under 5:50.

    And just in case anyone was wondering, water stops are taken sparingly, casual snack breaks are nonexistent, and the scenery is an afterthought once you’re 8 miles in.

  2. Usain Bolt on May 10th, 2018 5:29 pm

    Sorry that this article damaged your fragile ego. Funny thing is, I hear all day is a water stop and casual snack break when you’re injured. Guess not everyone on the track team is made to run more than Bethesda. But hey, glad you’re only an average hobby jogger.

  3. Berg on May 11th, 2018 7:02 pm

    While what they said was obviously very pompous and obnoxious, I fail to see what you try to accomplish by calling their ego into question. The original comment was uncalled for and foolish, but let’s try to spread love in this world at a time where it is very much needed as opposed to fighting fire with fire. Thank you.

  4. Usain Bolt on May 12th, 2018 5:12 pm

    I’m sorry, you’re right. I should have just called them pompous and obnoxious. No fire there.

  5. Regina Phalange on May 10th, 2018 6:20 pm

    I feel like you misunderstood the article. It was actuallyyyyy for beginning runners. If she had said you should go on an 11 mile run at a 6 minute mile pace, that would’ve been QUiTe odd. And also, I take snack breaks ALl ThE tImE.

    Thank you,,,
    Regina Phalange

  6. USATF Level III and IAAF Level V Distance Coach on May 10th, 2018 7:42 pm

    No on on the team should be doing a 12 mile long-run at 6:00 mile pace, let alone running at 5:50 pace. Even the fastest runner in the school should never be taking an easy day (or long run) faster than 6:30 pace (maybe 6:15 pace). Though 0:15 seconds per mile may not seem that much faster, it actually is significantly faster. A long run is already a stress on the body, it is not necessary for you to make it more stressful by running too fast. I would rather see you do more mileage, I think you would get more bang for your buck than running too fast. Running too fast can lead to injury. So my advice to the hobby jogger would be to slow down, follow your coach’s advice, and take your taper seriously.

  7. Elise Yousoufian on May 16th, 2018 9:30 pm

    I really enjoyed reading Maddy Frank’s “A Guide to Whitman’s Best After-School Running Routes” because I always enjoy a good piece of writing, and because it gave me insight into how Whitman’s Track & Field Team trains. Now in my 9th season as a Whitman Cross-Country and Track & Field parent, I found this article a twin treat of good writing and loads of information.

    And I also really enjoyed how the crescendo in the article, from the lightest run on the Maiden Lane course to what Ms. Frank names “one of the more demanding runs for the track team,” the Bethesda course. This description of this course ends in an unexpected twist. After setting readers up at the start with the premise that runners can “get a workout in” on one of these courses, the article ends with an answer to the question that would certainly be on my mind if I could revive the high school runner in me: “Where can I get my next cup of coffee?” But “one of the more demanding runs” also begs the question that I thought the sequel might answer: “So where else does Whitman’s Track & Field do its demanding runs?”

    To my delight, the answer came in a comment from an anonymous writer, who tongue in cheek (no snack there) details a run even more demanding than Bethesda, complete with race parlance of pace and tempo. I can see runners going from 7-minute miles to a one final mile under 6 minutes with gravity to help. There’s vivid language that ties in nicely with Ms. Frank’s. In her piece, I could see the courses and feel the ground, and in anonymous writer’s piece I could feel the sweat.

    I love how the original article and the comment it inspired show the exchanges that electronic platforms allow—that did not exist in my high school running days. These two pieces together give a complete picture of how Track & Field team members and anyone seeking a workout can gain different things from different courses. I read the pieces as two pieces in a collection—a collection of runs and a collection of musings on what a person can draw from a run. Unfortunately, reading the next several comments I got lost—maybe these were misposted?—as I saw no support for the claims and statements they made in either Ms. Frank’s delightful piece or in the light coda that followed. Thank you Ms. Frank and anonymous commenter for maybe even succeeding in getting me to channel the high school runner from my past.

    Elise Yousoufian

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