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Lou Castagnola, engineer, runner

Lou Castagnola, 76, an engineer who worked in sales for Hewlett-Packard for many years but who was better known as one of the Washington area’s premier distance runners in the 1960s, died Dec. 11 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

He had complications from injuries sustained in a fall at his home, said his brother-in-law James Harless.

Mr. Castagnola spent 24 years working for Hewlett-Packard in Rockville in sales of computer systems. He retired in 1995.

Throughout the 1960s, Mr. Castagnola was one of the finest distance runners and marathoners in the Washington region. He won the Washington’s Birthday Marathon in 1963, 1967 and 1968. His course record of 2:22:45, set in 1967, still stands.

He finished fourth in the 1967 Boston Marathon with a career-best time of 2:17:17 in the 26-mile, 385-yard event. He competed throughout the country and trained for the 1968 Olympics but did not make the team. He was a member of the DC Road Runners Club, which named him to its hall of fame in 1995.

Louis Craig Castagnola was born in Raleigh, N.C., and graduated from high school in Norfolk. After serving in the Army, he attended Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the track team and set a Southern Conference record for the two-mile run. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1962.

He was an engineer at Patuxent Naval Air Station, an engineering firm and at NASA in Greenbelt before joining Hewlett-Packard.

Mr. Castagnola was known for his dedication to training. On weekends, he would typically run 30 miles at a stretch.

He lived in Rockville and was a member of Faith United Methodist Church in Rockville.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Jo Ann Harless Castagnola of Rockville; two children, Lynn Castagnola of Millersville and L. Craig Castagnola Jr. of Rockville; and four grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel

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