|Here’s what members of the Capital Area Runners have to say about the program:I joined CAR initially to drop my marathon time so I could qualify for the Boston Marathon. After trying out a few running groups in the DC area, I reached out to George and was amazed by the quick response and excitement for me to join the team. At my first track workout I realized this group was much more than just a chance to lower my running times. They are friendly, supportive, driven, and simply awesome. I’ve been able to surpass my BQ goal (by 10+minutes TWICE) however; I’ve gained a close network of friends which I value even more. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do, George!
“As I struggled through the second half of the Lawyers Have Heart 10k in 2016, a number of runners in red singlets blazed by me. After the race I approached some of the runners and George. He introduced me to the team, explained the training philosophy, and emphasized the supportive and team-oriented atmosphere, something I sorely missed after years of team sports. In the past I trained seriously for the 400m and 800m, but lacked significant long distance experience. In my first race with CAR, the 2016 Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, I ran a PR of 1:20:41. In my marathon debut at the 2016 Richmond Marathon I ran a 2:47:34. which far exceeded my expectations when I joined CAR. I attribute this success to George’s expertise and foolproof training plan, and my dedicated, supportive, and fast teammates. I significantly upped my mileage while avoiding injuries which plagued me previously at lower mileage. George helped me unlearn my sprinter mentality, to approach distance running with great discipline and purpose. After such a successful first training cycle, I look forward to growing faster and more experienced with George and my CAR teammates.
“I had joined CAR in fall 2015 to train for my first marathon. Back then I’d only had a few months of recreational running experience under my belt. George had prescribed me a three-month training plan that enabled me to run my debut in a time to qualify for the Boston marathon! I’d also lowered my time by a few minutes on my second marathon a year later and look forward to running faster marathon times. I can positively attest that the unique combination of the speed and long-distance workouts enables anyone to achieve his/her goal marathon time. Being a recent transplant to DC, I’m fortunate to have met some very nice people on the team. Weekend long runs and pool running are also a great way to share good conversation and catch up with friends. Also, it is not uncommon for teammates to cheer for you on the sidelines or provide hydration support at local and even out-of-town races. Altogether, this positive support, bustling energy, and camaraderie I’ve experienced on this team is unparalleled. Joining CAR is one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving to the area.-Lili Peng
“I found CAR by a total accident but it was one of the best thing to happen in my life. Not only did I get to meet many great people, I learned about the importance of proper training. Although I no longer live in the D.C. area, I strive to follow George’s wisdom in my every day runs. These include paying attention to pacing, starting slow, and alternating different workouts. I found several running groups here on the west coast, but none of them come even close to CAR. Each group typically meets only once or twice a week so you don’t get the total package of intervals, easy runs, tempo, and long run. Combined together, these workouts make you a faster and stronger runner. While I still have ways to go for a BQ, I managed to shave off almost an hour off my marathon time with CAR.
“I’ve trained on my own for years and thought that I was close to reaching my potential as a distance runner, but after a year of running with CAR I realized that I wasn’t even close. Under George’s expert direction and with the support of my training partners and team I’ve improved my PR’s at every distance from 5k to the marathon with my biggest breakthroughs coming in the 10 mile (1:06:00 to 53:22), half-marathon (1:20:00 to 1:09:36) and marathon (3:02:25 to 2:31:30). My results aren’t unique—train with George and stick to his plan and you will improve beyond what you imagine is possible.” -Doug Smith
“After running on my own for a little while I wanted to join a team so I could train with like-minded individuals. The first thing I noticed was how supportive and friendly the group was and I found myself looking forward to early morning workouts and long runs with the group. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, a supportive training group is one of the most important aspects of success and you’ll find that with CAR.”George’s program emphasizes aerobic development with the view toward long term, injury-free success. After an initial adjustment period, I’ve made huge drops in my 5K (15:42) and 10K (32:23) PR by listening to George’s advice and taking it to heart. George taught me how to keep myself from overdoing it so that I didn’t do anything to jeopardize my development as a runner. I am looking forward to many more seasons and PRs with my friends in CAR!”
“When I joined Capital Area Runners, it was like finding all the running friends I had been looking for in D.C. for the past two years! The team has the camaraderie that I was missing after leaving the Marine Corps. Running speed work and tempos are so much easier with
friends helping you along physically and mentally. They’re there for me during the highs and lows of training and life. The highlight of my Mondays is reading the newsletter that George sends out each week, which are always filled with encouragement and humor.
“After joining the team, I set immediate PR’s in the 4 mile (24:48), the mile (5:48 down to 5:28.1), the 10k (38:31), and the half marathon (1:28 down to 1:24:24) over the course of just six months! I have been running since high school, and I never thought I would still be able to improve so much after college. I couldn’t have achieved this without CAR. I look forward to breaking the 3:00:00 marathon with George and the team (current PR 3:05:14)!”-Anna Bernal
“I joined Capital Area Runners in 2013. As a new marathoner, I wanted to improve my running and race times, but had no real idea how to do it. I could tell from the first few group runs that I had found a team that would help me meet my running goals. The talent on this team is incredible and the sense of camaraderie between teammates is second to none. The support and motivation from my teammates have kept me going in training and in races. Coach George introduced me to the strategy of racing and has been a constant source of knowledge and motivation. Without him I would not have made the kinds of improvements I have. Since joining CAR, I’ve dropped 25 minutes off my marathon PR and qualified to Boston for 2015 and 2016. Coach George’s expertise and the support of my teammates have made all the difference.)
“Coach George has managed to create an environment which accomodates a range of runners- from those trying to qualify for the Olympics to people like me who are trying to break 4 hours in the marathon. Yet he somehow manages to keep it both competitive and supportive for all of us, which is what keeps everyone coming back. Since joining this year, my half marathon PR has dropped by 11 minutes, but I know that this is only the beginning. CAR has opened up my eyes to what is possible with consistent training and I’m excited to see what I can do in the marathon. All this while having fun, meeting inspiring runners and enjoying the guidance of an amazing running coach. There is nothing like it in the area. Joining CAR was the best thing I did this year!”-Karen Kaya
“I get out what I put in – and then some. Capital Area Runners are some of the areas most talented athletes and training with the group ups my game with the added bonus of very little ego and a great deal of encouragement! Running with George and the club has totally improved my running and no matter how much positive energy I put into the group, I get back more! I have no hesitation jumping out of bed at 5:00AM for our interval and tempo track work…I know it’s going to be a totally beneficial work-out every time.”Since joining the club I’ve improved all of my running times at every distance. PR’s at 3 Miles (20:41), 10k (41:43) and 10 miles (1:08:06). I PR’d my half marathon distance by over 14 minutes during the ’12 Rock-n-Roll Philly, finishing in 1:30:07. I’ve taken 12 minutes off of my marathon PR while working toward running a 3:15 Boston qualifier.”-Jesse Gordon
“I am a new team member to Capital Area Runners, but in my first few weeks I feel like the team has taken me in with a warm welcome! It is a great feeling to have so many other teammates out there with you on the road helping you train but also making it fun- because yes I think running is FUN! I also have known and been coached by George in the past and I am so happy to be back under his coaching. Not many people are as dedicated to seeing others meet their running goals and hit their PRs as George is.”–Erin Swain Taylor
“When I decided to join Capital Area Runners and train with George, I knew I was making an investment in my running future, and that my times would improve. What I didn’t plan on was how much fun I’d have along the way!”-Cristina Burbach
Note: Cristina Burbach joined Capital Area Runners in late 2010 on the same day an aircast was placed on her left leg. By the end of 2011, she’d set PRs at distances ranging from 5K to the half-marathon, including winning her age group at the Richmond Half-Marathon in 1:29:36. She’s also started smiling constantly on long runs. In 2013 she ran Shamrock Marathon in 3:08:52.”Up until joining CAR, I hadn’t been part of a team, and I’d only been running a few years (though older – 44). I was in a bit of a running rut. My marathon PR had been stuck in the same position for a while (3:26).
“Soon after joining CAR, I felt rejuvenated by new ideas from George, and also the friendly competitiveness and camaraderie of the other CAR runners. One year later, I have gotten new PRs in most race lengths (including cutting 14 minutes off my marathon time), and I’ve never enjoyed running as much as I do now. George’s dedication to the team and his consistency in coaching have really made all the difference.”-Jamey Burden
Note: Since joining Capital Area Runners, Jamey lowered his marathon PR to 3:08, and qualified for the Boston Marathon on his two most recent marathons.
“Joining Capital Area Runners was the best decision I could have made for my running. George is a miracle worker. There is no conceivable way I would have improved as much as I have in the past year without his guidance and support. He has a seemingly endless wealth of running knowledge and his positivity and enthusiasm are infectious and
inspiring. In addition, the runners in the group are all incredibly supportive and welcoming. I look forward to every single workout!”Since joining the group last year, I cut 42 minutes from my marathon time and set personal records at every race I ran in 2011. I can’t say enough good things about my experience with CAR, and I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to improve their running and become part of an amazing community.”-Nora O’Malley
Note: Since joining Capital Area Runners, Nora has been consistently setting PR’s in every race distance she’s run. She most recently PR’d the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon in 3:14:03. Nora was the recipient of the 2011 Capital Area Runners Coach’s Award for her dedication to training and her amazing improvement in her race performances.
“When I moved to Northern Virginia back in the spring of 2010, I was kind of in a slump with running. Luckily, I discovered the club through a co-worker and my running has taken off since I joined. George has given me the confidence, patience, and consistency to take my running to a new level. Two years ago I would have never imagined I’d be in the kind of shape I’m now in.”-Rich Saunders
Note: Rich is a consistently high finisher on the local road race scene. His top 2011 performance was his 1:09:44 at the Shamrock Half Marathon. He was the recipient of the 2011 Capital Area Runners Men’s Open Runner of the Year Award.
“I always considered running an individual sport. However, after falling into a rut following years of training on my own, I found Capital Area Runners and immediately discovered a true team in every sense of the word. Under George’s leadership, I’ve PR’d every distance, some multiple times over, and have never had more fun running. Track mornings usually make my day, and I genuinely look forward to being out there with my teammates as we push ourselves and each other. I feel like I’ve only just started to see what I’m really capable of, with all of the credit going to George and CAR for helping me see how to get there.”-Amy Shopkorn
Note: Since joining Capital Area Runners in 2010, Amy has lowered her marathon time by more than 17 minutes (3:36:55) and her half marathon time over 9 minutes (1:37:47).
“I can safely say that the best thing that occured when I signed up to run with the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) was that I got full access to George Buckheit as a coach and the opportunity to run with all the great people in CAR. Before signing on with ACS, I had planned to do all the training work for my first full marathon on my own by using an online training plan. After my first workout with CAR I was hooked. I enjoyed the prep races I ran before MCM all the more so because I had a group that was supporting my efforts. Then at MCM, CAR runners who were not participating were out in full force to cheer us on, and even to hand me a spare fuel bottle.”Even though there are other running clubs closer to my home in Silver Spring I have decided to stay with CAR now that my successful MCM run for ACS is past. George and his training plan were a perfect match for me and I am excited for a great 2012 of racing and training with CAR and seeing the PR’s continue. You can’t underestimate the power of group support during a training program! “-Dan Vogel
Note: Dan has been an energetic addition to Capital Area Runners, competing in his first marathon in 2011, finishing with a time of 3:30. In 2012, he brought his marathon PR down to 3:11.
“I had never run on a track or run regularly with a running group before joining the program. The program has added so much to my running. The track workouts have helped me work on becoming a faster runner and it’s especially nice to look forward to training with the same familiar faces week after week. I’ve met several fellow runners through the program and the group is very fun and friendly.
“George is an outstanding coach. He has an expert knowledge of running and it’s clear that he puts a lot of thought and effort into making the program a success. I appreciate the fact that our workouts are always very well-planned and that George can explain how and why our training will improve our running. He is unfailingly positive and demonstrates a real enthusiasm towards helping his runners meet their goals.”-Mary Beth Muething
Note: After starting to train with George Buckheit, Mary Beth Muething sliced 16 minutes from her marathon PR, coming in 6th place in 2:55:54 at the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon. She subsequently lowered her PR to 2:53:45 at the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon. Currently Mary Beth is taking some time off to prepare for her 2nd baby.
“My New Year’s resolution for 2009 was to find a running community and actually train for a marathon. After trying out many local running groups, I found CAR to be the most welcoming and supportive. Coach George’s years of experience and knowledge have helped me grow as a runner. Plus, his generally all-around great personality make running in the rain/snow/freezing winds at 6:30 in the morning a fun activity rather than a chore. After six months of George’s tutelage, I shaved 16 minutes off my marathon PR to run a 2:59 at the Richmond Marathon. With George’s guidance and the group’s support, I hope to be running more PR’s in the future!“–Kate Hudson
Note: Kate’s Marathon PR came exactly one year after giving birth to son Nathan. Kate also won the very challenging Decker’s Creek Half Marathon in 2009.
“I’ve trained under George for about 2 years and this testimonial won’t begin to justify my respect for him.
Me: I chose not to run collegiately. Instead, I began running the full marathon after undergrad. My only annual consistency A.) Running a marathon and B.) Being disappointed with the results. “Why George and Capital Area Runners: In 2009 I hit a rut in my training. Solo track efforts were difficult mentally and I wasn’t trending well. I ran ok but not well. Long runs were done with a myriad of friends; all of whom trained differently and had different training strategies. I needed a more coherent, organized means to train. I needed a good group. I sought out George and the CAR family. “Results: I have never run healthier, training via more mileage and I ran a PB of 2:39 for the marathon. “George brings a wealth of knowledge to the sport. He motivates; he discredits poor habits; he inspires. If he doesn’t like something about your training, he will lay it out straight. Needless to say I’ve benefitted immensely by him. I’m proud to call him a friend and mentor. If you have the character to absorb sound training advice and want to join a great group of fellow competitors; you won’t find a kinder, more dedicated, engaged coaching personality in the world.”-Andrew Jacobson
“I contacted Capital Area Runners as I approached my 40th birthday, having never run more than 8 miles at one time. Feeling like I needed to prove something to myself as I hit this milestone age, I inquired about the possibility of running a marathon. George immediately responded and told me to attend a workout and go for it. 1 year after my first workout with Capital Area Runners, I completed the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon and consider myself to be in the best shape of my life. I owe my success to George and the great runners that I met through the training program.”-Steve LaMantia
Note: Steve ran the 2011 MCM in 4:01:47, just a tad shy of his 4 hour goal. Next year, Steve!
“George is more than just a coach, he’s a friend, a mentor, and a cheerleader (there are male cheerleaders too!). He is super responsive to questions/concerns each of his runners has. I email him and I always hear back from him within the next few hours. He treats us all like we are super stars, even though only a few of us in the group really are. All of us are at different levels, and we all get equal attention, instruction, and supervision from him, there is no favoritism. He drives all over town to bring us water and snacks during our longs runs and he always waits for us all to come in safely. He drives to the races he can (Philly, Richmond, etc.) and cheers us on at multiple spots along the courses. He is our #1 fan and we are his.”-Tenley Ludewig
Note: Since joining Capital Area Runners, Tenley has taken 8 minutes off her marathon time and 11 minutes off her half marathon time, recently racing the 2011 Philadelphia RNR Half in 1:29:12.
“After running my first marathon I knew I wanted to get better and thought that joining a group and getting a coach would help. Fortunately, I met George and began running with his group I would recommend George as a coach for runners at all levels from beginner to elite. George knows when it is neccessary to push runners harder and when it is necessary to hold them back. “His experience and knowledge are great for those who want to learn the science and physiology behind the different aspects of running and the social make up of the group is great for those who want to run with a fun group and achieve new goals. Each week he takes the time to answer your questions and cheer you on at races. No matter where you are looking to go with your running, George can help you get there. The improvements I have made in the year since joining speak more about George’s coaching ability than I can put in words.”-Dan Lesniak
Note: Dan Lesniak capped off an amazing year of improvement in the marathon which saw him run 5:16:16 in the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon, 4:24:34 in the 2009 National Marathon, 3:35:26 in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon and then 3:10:53 in the 2009 Richmond Marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Dan has shown us all what you can do when you commit to doing something well. Dan was the recipient of the 2009 Capital Area Runners Coach’s Award.
“Training with CAR has given me a new excitement for running. I had always thought of running as a purely solitary sport, but over the past few months, I have gained a whole new perspective.
“The CAR group is extremely friendly and always supportive of one another, and I look forward to the opportunity to test my limits with the other members of the group each week.
“George’s running knowledge is amazing, and he can provide a blueprint for achieving any running goal. His passion for running and love for coaching are clear in the way he shares in the excitement of his runners when they are successful and disappointment when they come up short.
“George’s enthusiasm and humor, coupled with the group’s friendliness and energy, make the CAR workouts a great way to start the day!”-Katie Muething
“Before joining George’s training group, I was counting down the decades until I was going to be old enough to qualify for Boston Marathon. I had simply written off the possibility of running a marathon under 3h10min59sec. George’s training program changed all that. In less than a year, I became a better athlete, a better runner, and learned to really value George’s running philosophy of starting slow and finishing fast. I am still not sure that I am able to implement it 100%, but I know that I shaved 30 minutes off my previous marathon and qualified for Boston. If you want to become a better runner, join George Buckheit’s training group!”-George Cernat
“I joined Capital Area Runners on a friend’s recommendation, and I’m glad I did. Coach Buckheit is great…he has an infectious enthusiasm for the sport, he takes a personal interest in each runner and helps tailor their workouts to best meet their goals, he devotes a lot of time and thought to planning and attending the workouts, and to top it off, he has a great sense of humor!
“The runners in the group are also wonderful. The experience levels range from beginner to elite, and I’ve found everyone to be quite friendly and supportive of one another.
“After training with CAR this year, I trimmed my previous Marine Corps Marathon time by more than 20 min. and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I attribute that mostly to Coach Buckheit’s coaching and the structure/discipline that comes with training with a group. I highly recommend the group to anyone, whether you’re training for a marathon or other race, or just trying to keep in shape.”-Tony Black
“One of the highlights of my week is the Tuesday track workout with George. It is the one night a week where I have the opportunity to physically challenge myself with strangers, who over the course of a few months have become friends. On good nights, we push each other; on bad nights, we pick each other up. We return every Tuesday because all of us believe our best race is in front of us. “It is a very short distance between a pat on the back and a kick in the butt. George understands this. He will encourage you, he will test you, and he will make you faster. “-Brett Nelson
“While working with George in the program in 2007, I was able to get PRs in several distances, including the 5K, 10K, half marathon and the Richmond marathon, where I finally qualified for Boston. George’s program provides the motivation that I needed to get to the next level. He provides good training advice, a good schedule and great people to train with who have similar goals. ” If you are ready for a ‘tough – but fair’ speed program that will take you to the next level, give George a try!”-Tamara Smith
Note: Since starting to train with George, Tamara reached her goal of qualifying and running the 2009 Boston Marathon. Way to go Tamara!
2009: “George uses his wealth of experience as a runner to plan very well thought out and sensible work-outs. I have trimmed additional minutes off my marathon time thanks to the program. The program isn’t just about speed – George has created an environment with a very friendly and supportive atmosphere.”Update 2011: “At the age of 43 with 10 years of competitive running behind me, I thought I was done with Personal Records. However, this year I hit a new PR in the 5K, 5 mile, and 10 mile.” -Sarah Haut
Note: 2011 was Sarah’s year! She PR’d most of her race distances and we’re excited to see what she does in 2012!
“I learned about the program last September by striking up a conversation with a fellow runner after completing a 5K. I joined the program a month later with a modest goal of shaving a few seconds off of my 5K time in order to break 20 minutes. Six months later, I not only easily achieved my goal in the 5K, but I also had completed my first 1/2 marathon and my first marathon. One of the nice things about the program is the fact that there are runners of all different abilities, so it is easy to find others to run at your pace. Coach Buckheit’s passion and enthusiasm for the sport are infectious, and it makes the track workouts and weekend runs a lot of fun. It is also a great way to meet some great people. So whether your goal is simply to get in better shape or to qualify for the Boston Marathon, come out and give the program a try.”-John Herc
Note: Since starting to train with George Buckheit, John Herc has gone from running only 5k’s, to running a 3:09 marathon at 2008 Marine Corp which allowed him to toe the line at the 2009 Boston Marathon.