Today, DC has enough trail races and group runs to saturate a calendar. But it wasn’t that long ago that it was awfully lonely to be a trail runner in the District. Beyond a handful of events in Virginia run by Happy Trails, DC was a big black hole for organized trail running during the mid-2000s.

Enter Fairy Godmother. (Clarification: a younger, more athletic ultra-running godmother…). About a decade ago, Kerry opened the doors of her 1920s historic rowhouse to ultra runners. Located in one of DC’s poshest and most centrally located neighborhoods, steps from the Woodley Park – Adams Morgan metro station and all its restaurants and shops. As well as a ten-minute trot in either direction to the two major arteries of DC’s woodland trail networks: Rock Creek Park and Glover Archibald. You could pretend to be adulting as an urban professional, but really just go Peter Pan it as a dirt-bag trail runner with a collection of stinky running shoes in the hallway and a complete inability to empty a dishwasher.

Typical night at the WUS house

No, there weren’t very strict criteria for getting a room in what would affectionately become known as the Woodley Ultra Society (WUS) house. After all, Sean and Keith were early tenants. So apparently you didn’t need to know how to dump trash on Wednesday Trash Night. Or even report that your toilet had been broken for three weeks.

The WUS house may be gone, but WUS still lives every Tuesday night at CPBG

No, all you had to do was be a full-throated ultramarathon trail runner. And by that measure, Sean and Keith were highly qualified. Keith once ran three 100-mile races in the span of three weeks. Sean was ultra stud enough to get his face smiling back at you from New Balance tags.

I myself never lived in the WUS house. Part of me was tempted. What could be more fun than partying with runners every day? Always having someone around to go on a woodland adventure with?

Sean invited me to WUS in a case of mistaken identities. He got a bit of grief when it turned out I wasn’t actually an ultra runner.

But I was wary of gorging on the ultra trail running scene. Running 100 miles is intensely physically demanding. And while many can do it in a healthy, self-limiting way, the rate of injury and burnout is high. Is there are part of me that regrets that I didn’t live out my young, free, single days going all-in on trail running? Sure. But it was a highly conscious decision. And living two blocks away from the WUS house, it was still an awful lot of fun to dip my toe in from time to time.

Photo Gallery

I. Fast

I guess you get to be a Gangsta when you’re seeded #1
WUS represents at Worlds
WUS coverboy
WUS dominates with 1st and 2nd plus a CR (still standing) at Bull Run
Victory for Wussies at BRR!

II. Fun

T-rex stuffs one down at the donut run
Beer Miles can complicate ordering takeout
This Race is for the Birds!
WUS invasion at Bull Run
WUS trips with Sean require some bed stealing
WUS ladies rock 12-donut performances at the inaugural WUS Krispy Kreme Donut Run
Bobby’s athletic career peaks at the WUS Beer Mile
Doug underestimates the difficulty of scarfing an entire pint of B&Js with a plastic spoon
Joe leads us into the NYS wilderness
Joco: forever the most-quoted WUS
Just because I needed a picture of kerchief boy

III. Furious

WUS at Highland Sky. Somehow Aaron still doesn’t know he has Lyme Disease.
Aaron gets more than ice cream cake for 10 finishes at Hellgate
Sean has a tough day in Woodley
Knipling photography at WHM
Saying bye to WUSSIES requires some hard tailgating.
Classic Sean
WUS: the Next Generation

2 Responses to WUS house: end of an era

  1. Joe Clapper says:


    Thank you for putting this together. Thanks for giving the entire picture- I am so many babies behind.

    I remember showing up for a Tuesday run and Aaron, Neal, Sean, and Keith. Then I saw you, and said to myself, “thank god!, I should be able to keep up with that nice woman”. Then you led the pack down the street and into the woods with the guys all trailing. I ran 6 miles all by myself and formally met you at the pizza place. Thank you for the good times and desroying my male bias.

    Miss you and all the WUS Peeps.

  2. Kirstin Corris says:

    Oh, so many hilarious memories!! Thanks for putting it all on the internet.

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