- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 7, 2002

Among American cities, Washington is known for the transient nature of its people.
They come to town, and a few years later they leave. Few actually stay and send out roots.
The running scene has experienced this transient nature as well. Although injuries are a big reason that runners fall out of sight, a larger reason why runners disappear is that they move out of the area.
Sometimes the runners come back and visit, and out of nowhere a familiar face goes past or a familiar name appears in a results list.
Meg Ritter spent some time at the top of area rankings before moving to Richmond and Germany and marrying elite runner Andrew Letherby. She came back to visit last month and ran third at the Washington DC Marathon. George Probst comes back to visit his family.
But more often than not, runners leave town and never come back. And we wonder what became of them.
What ever happened to Philippe Rolly, the tall Frenchman who won virtually every race he ran between 1998 and 2001? He left Arlington last August for New York City and is starting to get back in form.
"We got married in August in France, then we spent August and September in China and Tibet and one week in October in Washington, then we moved to New York," Rolly said from his home in Westchester County. "My wife [Joanne] is a lawyer, and she found a good job in New York."
Rolly also found a nice job for himself as a physical therapist at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan.
But the wedding and the move, according to Rolly, has taken its toll on his running at 29.
"The last four months, I wasn't in good shape," he said. "In August, September, October, I did not run at all. I started back in November. Now I am running better."
Rolly ran 15:45 in a February 5K in Central Park and a 15:29 5K last month. Still, it's far from his 14:38 victory at the 1999 Race For the Cure in Washington.
"The past two weeks, I did some very good workouts, and I'm getting faster again," Rolly said. "I have lost some weight. But I don't have as much time to train because I work full time now. When I was in D.C., I was a student at NOVA."
He said he will be concentrating on his speed on the track this summer in preparation for his sixth marathon, New York City in November. He hopes to run 2:16 to 2:17, ahead of his personal best of 2:19:40 at the 1999 Chicago Marathon.
But of even greater importance to Rolly is finally receiving his U.S. citizenship.
"I am hoping by 2004, I will be an American citizen," Rolly said. "I have had my green card for two years, then you have to wait three more years after getting the green card to apply for citizenship, so I can apply in 2003, then you have to wait six more months to become an American citizen."
If the timing works out, Rolly wants to qualify for the 2004 Olympic marathon trials in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb.7 as an American.
Before that, however, you may see him at Sallie Mae in Washington or Pike's Peek (Rockville) in three weeks.
"In New York, it's a different life," he said. "It's a little crazy in New York City. I prefer Washington."
Gates are open Registration for the third Marathon in the Parks opened Monday. The run, from Gaithersburg to Bethesda through 21 miles of park land, is scheduled Nov.17. Check www.marathonintheparks.com.
Registration for the second Washington DC Marathon opened yesterday . That race is scheduled for March 23 and will follow the same course as the inaugural event, according to marathon spokeswoman Angela Casey. Check www.washingtondcmarathon.com.

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