Kathy Pugh


When did you begin running and why?

I never liked to run but after the birth of my daughter, everything changed. I gained almost sixty pounds during pregnancy and the weight hung around like a bad houseguest who doesn’t know when to go. My frustration was further compounded by a move from Washington, DC to Las Vegas. Life as I knew it was over and I was having an identity crisis. I was a fat, lonely, nervous new mom, lost in Las Vegas and I needed something to free me from my funk so I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon. Post partum hormones make you do crazy stuff!

It turned out to be a great idea! Training gave me purpose. I’d load my daughter Ava into the baby jogger and tell her we were going to ‘work’. Not only did I run for myself but also I ran for my daughter. I wanted to set a good example for her. Crossing the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon was one of the best moments of my life and I never wanted that great feeling to end. I suppose that’s why I keep running marathons.

How did you find out about DCRR and when did you join?

I signed up for the National Marathon (now Rock ‘N’ Roll DC) in 2010 and was looking for a group to run with through winter. I’d never run in the cold (all my previous training had taken place in Las Vegas in extreme heat) and thought that running with the group would help get me out of my rut of running up and down the Mall (not such a bad rut) by finding new routes and also giving me something to look forward in the winter. This was the winter of Snowmagedden and I may not have run were it not for the group. Because of that experience, I LOVE running in winter and have been running and coaching with DCRRC ever since!

What are you training for right now?

I’ve got a few things lined up. In addition to running some of the Snowball series races, I’m training for the Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY and the Rome Marathon in April. I’m focusing my energy on the half and after that I’ll add some miles and long runs to prep for Rome.

What is the toughest run or race you've ever participated in?

The toughest race I ever participated in was the ET Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon. I was supposed to run the full but hurt my foot and had to switch to the half. The race starts after midnight and runs along Area 51 in Nevada. I’m typically an early morning runner and was nervous about running that late so I consumed three cappuccinos before leaving Vegas. I was completely buzzed from the cappuccinos then sat on a bus for 2.5 hours for the ride from Las Vegas. The course is at a much higher elevation then I’m used to running and you gain almost one thousand feet in the first six miles. The combination of all those things plus being alone in the dark in the desert with my heart racing caused me to panic. I recalled every horror movie I had ever seen and was sure I’d wind up either the subject of the next Hollywood Horror Flick or on Dateline. It was such a relief to finish! Call me crazy, but I’d like to run it again without the cappuccino!

What's your favorite part about being a DCRR member?

The camaraderie! DC can be a lonely place as everyone is so wrapped up in their careers making it hard to connect with people. I’ve made some great friends training and coaching with this group. In fact, several of us travelled to Chicago for the marathon a few years ago and I’ve been on several run-cations to run the Death Valley Marathon, St. George Marathon, and Monument Valley Ultra with coach Ariel, whom I met while running through a blizzard training for the National marathon.

What's the most important lesson running has taught you?

Patience. Running does not come naturally to me. I hated it and found every step to be a chore when I started out but I’m stubborn and stuck with it. Training for marathons is very meditative for me and running long distance has taught me to be patient with others and myself. It took me several tries to qualify for Boston and it was not an easy road. Not every run or every race is a good one but I found that like all things in life, with some hard work, faith in yourself, and a LOT of patience, you can achieve your goals.

What's your favorite route in the area?

Any route with hills! There are so many great hilly routes in the DMV making it hard to choose just one. I’ll have to say running loops in the National Arboretum would be my favorite. The arboretum is a gem of a spot about 1.5 miles from my home so I can run there and back and get in a great hilly run. There is very little traffic, the hills are great (the second highest point in DC is located here at Mt. Hamilton), the flowers and trees change with the seasons, the original columns from the Capitol are located here, and every so often a bald eagle takes up residence in one of the trees!

What race day traditions do you have?

I love picking out a cute race outfit and laying it out the night before, but that’s about it for traditions. I used to be very superstitious about what I ate the night before or the morning of a marathon but am very relaxed about the whole thing these days. In fact last year, I went out for a ten-course dinner with wine pairings at Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas before driving up to Utah for the St. George marathon so you could say I did the opposite of carbo loading and protein loaded! I had a great race!

What's your proudest running moment?

My proudest running moment was completing the Boston Marathon. I never could have dreamed it possible when I started out as fat and depressed mom trying to lose weight that I’d run a marathon then later qualify and run Boston! I went from a 5:10 at the Marine Corps Marathon to a 3:47 at Boston and I’ve since gone on to qualify twice for Boston since then.

What's your life like outside of running?

There’s life outside of running? I’m laughing to myself as I write this because these days most of my life revolves around running. I’m a holistic health and run coach and my focus is women’s running. So when I’m not coaching DCRRC, I’m coaching women’s groups on the National Mall and trying to squeeze in my own training. I love hanging out with my husband Drew (he coaches too), my daughter Ava (she’s quite a good runner), and our cat Vegas. I’m a theater lover and usher at several local theaters and I volunteer as a docent at the Folger Shakespeare Library. I also write essays and plays and even wrote a play about running, entitled Marathon Mama, that I’ve performed around town! And of course I love to travel, especially if there is a race involved!

What is one thing you wouldn't run without?

I can’t choose just one thing because I always run with water, phone, metro card, credit card, twenty dollars, big sunglasses, and of course sparkly lip-gloss.


Upcoming Events

DCRRC Hugh Jascourt 4-Miler
Fri, Jun 21st, 2024, @7:00pm
DCRRC Age Handicapped 4-Miler
Thu, Jul 4th, 2024, @8:00am
DCRRC Bastille Day 4-Miler
Sun, Jul 14th, 2024, @7:00pm
DCRRC Bluemont 5K
Wed, Jul 24th, 2024, @7:00pm
DCRRC Paul Thurston 4.5 Miler
Tue, Aug 13th, 2024, @6:45pm
DCRRC Steve Thompson 8K
Sun, Aug 18th, 2024, @7:00am
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The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.