Midway through the Lawyers Have Heart 10K, run concurrently with the 5K race, Philippe Rolly had no idea whether the two runners ahead of him were his competition. Rolly's surge just beyond that point ensured that, in the end, it didn't matter.
Rolly, an Arlington resident, broke away from the leaders at the 5K mark to win in 32 minutes 22 seconds. Russell Crandall finished second in 32:50 and Frank Sprtel took third in 33:22.
Donna Moore of Silver Spring led throughout the women's race and won in 37:22. Christi Ireland placed second in 37:29 and Rosalind Sheppard was third in 39:11. A record 3,155 runners registered for the two races in Georgetown.
The three leaders ran together until the 5K mark, when the 10K runners were directed to continue straight and the 5K runners turned around. When Rolly realized that both Crandall and Sprtel were running the 10K, he passed both runners and opened a 40-yard gap within one mile. Rolly extended that lead to the finish line.
"I just wanted to stay close for the first 5K because I did not know which race [Crandall and Sprtel] were running," said Rolly, a native of France, who moved to Arlington seven months ago. "Once I got past them, things got easier and I was able to relax."
Rolly was so relaxed that as the course wound past the French Embassy in the fifth mile, he removed his sunglasses and waved to the security guard, who recognized him and cheered. Rolly was applauded again by a spectator wearing a French national soccer team replica jersey.
"I know the security guard at the embassy and I wanted him to know that a French runner was leading the race," Rolly said.
Moore had almost as easy a time winning the women's race, which she led throughout. "I think it is neat that an old lady can still win a few of these races," said Moore, who is 38.
Monica Robbers, 28, and Paul Ryan, 48, won the 5K over a course recognized as short by race officials.