- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 15, 2009

The local running community suffered a big hit Nov. 1 when Todd Hixson took his life at age 50.

But the loss extended across the nation and around the world.

As word of his death spread, his former teammates at the University of Maryland and Catholic University remembered Todd as a college kid some 30 years ago who could ease the most tense situation with his wonderful sense of humor.

My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Todd and his wife and children last year through mutual friends. Aside from our love of running, Todd and I both shared distasteful experiences with the family court system and conflicted feelings about the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The problem was that Todd was a colonel in the Marine Corps, and he knew he had a job to do. When we met, he was scheduled to leave soon for his second assignment in Iraq. He did make it back home to Arlington.

He leaves behind a wife and children from two marriages. He also leaves behind troops overseas and friendships from decades past who benefited from his leadership and, of course, his sense of humor.

Early retirement - Chris Lukezic, a Georgetown grad who quickly rose to become one of America’s premier milers at age 20, retired from the sport at 25.

Lukezic was fourth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials and has run as fast as 3:33.28 for 1,500 meters and 3:54.46 for the mile. In 2005, Lukezic nailed second in the 1,500 at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships.

But Lukezic had struggled since 2007, posting just a 3:37.32 best in the 1,500 this year after moving to a higher altitude and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Lukezic, now director of marketing for new online venture Airbnb, shared his thoughts Friday with Runner’s World:

“Running was something that I’ve done for a long time, and I knew at some point it was going to come to an end. Maybe I didn’t anticipate it was going to come to an end so soon, but I think an opportunity like this, working at Airbnb … [is] as much of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as making the Olympic team [would have been]. It wasn’t easy. I have a lot of passion for the sport.”

Big Apple debut - The passenger in the lead vehicle of the New York City Marathon traditionally runs the famed race the following year. Olympian Shalane Flanagan was this year’s rider Nov. 1 - and maybe will make her long-expected marathon debut next year.

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