Member(s) of the Month: June, 2017

Congratulations Janet Choi and Lucas Moten for being selected co-DCCS members of the month for June 2017!  Here is their story!

Janet Choi

1.   Tell us a little bit about yourself?  Where were you raised? When did you get introduced to running, etc?

I was born in Pusan, South Korea and moved to NYC in the 70’s. In the 80’s, I lived in Ohio, near Cleveland and then moved to NJ for most of the 80’s. I started officially running on the 9th grade track team in NJ but my very first race was in Korea when they lined up all the first graders and had them race. I came in 2nd out of 70 ish kids. When I was very young, my Dad would take me out on some morning jogs ever since I could walk. That’s probably my fondest memory. I also ran Cross Country college but my school, Babson College in Massachusetts was Division 3 and not very stressful.

College - Cross Country - Year?  (Nope)

College - Cross Country - Year?  (Nope)

2.  What do you do for work?

My background is in accounting and I’m a CPA but pretty much the most useless one you can find. I don’t do taxes. In fact, I extended mine. I’ve been an independent financial consultant for the last several years doing financial project management stuff mostly for software companies. I am a single mom and raised my son on my own. I need to have flexibility in my schedule so I now just answer to myself. I have one non-profit client. They do work in South Sudan, the most depressed poor place on earth. Very inspirational.

3.  You lead a weekly run for DC Capital Striders, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

We meet 6 am on the W &OD trail near mile 14.5 by Hunter Mill/Hunter Station on Thursdays. I find morning runs way better for me in the summer. I can’t do heat. I once ended up in the hospital for 12 hrs after Boston Marathon 2004. I threw up in the ambulance on the way to Beth Israel Hospital. I shared an ambulance with another heat casualty victim and he was thrilled with me when I barfed inches from him. It was a hot year. I couldn’t even say my name I had such bad heat injury. Ever since then, I do most of my summer running in the AM! If anyone else has heat issues, I suggest this meetup! so far, it’s just me and Lucas and an occasional stranger. But we will continue to be there! It’s also on the flattest most uninterrupted section of the W & OD so perfect for speedwork. 

4.   You have hosted the Ran it with Janet 50K trail race for several years now, can you tell us a little more about that, its history and money raised over the years?  

 It’s the first Saturday of June every year on National Trail Day! We just finished our third year of putting this race on and our 2nd official year. It started out as couple of tipsy women on a Girls Night Out saying, HEY LETS PUT ON A 50K! Seemed like a good idea at the time. But then we started getting serious with the planning when I noticed people literally living in the woods in Reston when I was out on my morning runs. I thought, how can this be? We are in one of the most affluent parts of the country! But with all the construction going on in Reston, these people had no where to hide anymore. It really bothered me to see these people in the rain, under bridges, in the cold, in the heat with no where to go. Lucas Moten, co-director to this race pointed out the Cornerstones organization. We went to visit Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston and when I saw a legless homeless veteran, I thought, come on, we can do SOMETHING. So we rounded up some people and we said lets plan out a course. First year in 2015, Tom Buell, Lucas Moten, Heather Reed, Tom DeAngelis, Amy Albu, Mark Zimmerman, Gray Weaver among others all came out to try out the 50k. Amy ran 50k in 5 hrs or so putting up with our amateur directions and being directed the wrong way and we gave everyone a finishers wine glass.

5.  How can people can involved and donate to Cornerstones?

You can donate all year long to The funds that are raised go straight to the organization and their long term programs to help people find affordable housing, job programs and training, and affordable childcare. Because it’s not just about feeding and housing someone in the short term, we need programs that empower them to sustain themselves in the long term. This is a wonderful organization that focuses on hope, empowerment and long term solutions. But government funding is difficult to come by because often, they are required to find a match to get the funding.. and they expect it to become even more difficult going forward. Yet the number of people that come in for housing, food, shelter keep growing. We live in a society and every bit that we do helps. Besides, we’re out there running ANYWAY, why not make something good come out of it? But none of this would’ve happened without Lucas Moten. He is sooo OCD organized and with zero funding and out of thin air he managed and organized websites, tracking people, logistics and he never lost our vision of helping people in our community. Hey, we all go through hard times right? It takes a lot of work but with the right mindset and help of great friends, it can get done!

Lucas Moten

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself?  Where were you raised? When did you get introduced to running, etc?

Maryland is the state I was born in and spent the majority of my youth growing up before moving to West Virginia when I was a teenager.  In general, my family didn't participate in sports or attend sporting events. I had to run to meet the requirements for basic military training when I was enlisted with the United States Air Force, but beyond that I didn't really start running as a hobby/life endeavor until mid 2013.   

2.  What do you do for work?

My career is focused on assorted forms of software development providing services and solutions for small and large organizations. Currently, I'm working for Decipher Technology Studios. My role includes some design and development of a data storage system leveraging and exposing web services.  I've been working there for just under two years, but I'm very excited to be working with some highly talented colleagues solving tough problems.

3.   You lead a weekly run for DC Capital Striders, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Certainly. A relatively new DC Capital Striders weekly run on Thursdays at 6AM, Janet and myself start at Hunter Mill/Hunter Station area which is about mile marker 14.5 on the W&OD trail. With a run workout that generally lasts about an hour, there are 3 main options from this point. We can do an out and back relatively flat to Vienna and back, great for tempo runs. Alternatively we can run a brief bit down the W&OD until jumping off onto the CCT heading northbound on trail. Finally there is a short but somewhat steep hill perhaps a half mile west that can be used for sprint style hill repeats.  With the warmer weather coming, early morning runs are just the ticket to avoid the sweltering afternoon heat.

4.  You have hosted the Ran it with Janet 50K trail race for several years now, can you tell us a little more about that, its history and money raised over the years?   

We recently held the Ran It With Janet 50K for the third year on National Trails Day at Manassas National Battlefield Park.  The first year things were a bit more loosely organized. Our group size was small enough that we didn't need a permit and we didn't even have signage! We went with a unicorn theme and gave out custom made wine glasses to finishers.  

In the past two years, things have been more organized with permits, signage, aid stations and volunteer support. We were entirely a Fat Ass style event in 2016 and raised over $2000 in cash and check donations for the Embry Rucker Community Shelter operated by Cornerstones in Reston, VA. In 2017, a nominal $5 signup fee was charged to support the registration, permitting and premium, with an option for people to donate whatever amount they wanted. Between the signup process, checks and cash received and donations through the cornerstones friendraiser page, donations totaled over $4500. 

Helping organize and put on this event each year is something I enjoy because it is an opportunity to give back.  Both in terms of supporting the community at large and also as a very approachable 50K for first timers - I think over 30% were first timers!.  The training runs, which this past year kicked off on National Unicorn Day (April 9), are a great opportunity for newcomers to familiarize with the course, and spend some time reading up on the history of the civil war while passing signs along the course.   

5.  How can people can involved and donate to Cornerstones?

Often places like homeless shelters are most thought of in the winter months when the environmental conditions are bad. It's easy to understand the need to have food, warm clothes, and a roof over ones head.  But needs don't completely go away when the weather is nice out either. This is one of the reasons the Ran It With Janet 50K takes place in the Spring, to help fill the gap.  Cornerstone's provides a "wish list" on their website for seasonally appropriate donated goods that they are always in need of.  

Cornerstone's has many opportunities to volunteer.  If you can donate your time, there is an assortment of ways that you can help. Check out the list here:

Making a monetary donation is often the easiest and quite effective means to help out. Cornerstones accepts online donations and people can do that at the link here: