Haycock Teacher Susanna Sullivan Wins the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Race.


Photo by Adam Fagen via Flickr CC BY NC SA 2.0

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, 2008 National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, DC

Haycock alumni may remember Susanna Sullivan, a 5th-grade teacher at Haycock.  An avid runner, she not only completed the 10-mile Cherry Blossom Race in Washington DC but won!

The race was part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration commemorating the day Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City gave the city of Washington DC its famous Japanese Cherry Trees. 

The race kicked off on April 2, at 7:30 am with a friendly atmosphere. Sullivan was running with the “Elite” classification.  This classification varies from race to race, but there’s usually a standard intended to limit the field to roughly 20 qualifiers. At Cherry Blossom, you probably had to have a personal best under 56 minutes (5:36/mile) to guarantee acceptance.

Sometimes it can be tense at the start of a race, but in the group of elite women, a lot of us had raced each other before, so we all were working really well together to stay on the pace that would help us all have a great race,” said Mrs. Sullivan. 

As a veteran runner, Sullivan knows the best strategies for getting through a long race. 

“I was trying to stay focused on running a pace that felt comfortable and not pressing too hard until the last third of the race,” she explained.

This method proved to work out well, and Mrs. Sullivan finished in 52 minutes and 32 seconds, coming first out of 8,328 other females.

Sullivan has had a lot of experience with running, having started competing at the age of 12.  In fact, she played a lot of different sports as a youth, but once she hit high school she focused on cross country and track.

Before the race, Ms. Sullivan prepares by trying to get a bit more sleep and paying attention to eating more and staying hydrated. Every week, she does two hard workouts, runs, and swims regularly.

“The morning of a race, I make sure I have a pretty big breakfast. If I’m running an evening race at the track, I might do a short run in the morning,” she explained.

Ms. Sullivan’s win shows her students what they can achieve when they follow their passion.  Her advice to any former students, and everyone else as well, “Have a great summer and work hard at whatever you choose to do.”