Winter Half Marathon Program

The Winter Half Marathon Program provides a friendly environment and to support and help participants train over the chilly months. The program is designed for runners who are accustomed to running middle distances and who want to prepare for their first distance event or improve their past half marathon performance times.  We train participants of varying ability levels including beginners. You do not have to be a fast runner to join this program or to complete a half marathon. It is important, however, that your base mileage at the start of the program be sufficient to support the increasing mileage. We will group participants of similar ability together in pace groups, based on race times and other criteria. The program gradually builds up your average weekly miles.

Prerequisites:  Participants should have a weekly mileage base of 15-20 miles per week and should be able to comfortably run 8 miles without stopping prior to starting the program.   MCRRC Membership is required for participation in this program.  If you are not a member, you will have the opportunity to join MCRRC during registration.  Participants must be 18 or older to register.


We will be offering optional and informal weekly pre-program build up group runs. These pre-season runs will take place on Saturdays beginning on December 2, 2023 through December 30th, 2023 at Candy Cane City Park (7901 Meadowbrook Ln, Chevy Chase) at 7:30 AM.

The formal program runs for 11 weeks and welcomes runners both new to the distance and those with experience.  The first workout is on Saturday, January 13, 2024.  This long run will start with 8 miles and gradually build in distance through the program, to prepare for a half marathon. Prior to the first workout, participants will be placed in pace groups with others of similar ability.  Each group will ideally be led by a pace coach, though we may not have pace coaches available for all groups.  We will need a current race time and information on your recent mileage to properly place you in a pace group.  You will have an opportunity to provide that information during registration.   Note: A current race time should represent a “hard effort” race time.  If you don’t have a hard effort race time, please consider one of the upcoming races on our schedule.

The program meets twice per week on Saturday mornings at 7:30 AM for long runs, which will take place in various locations, as well as on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM at a local track. Track workouts in January and February will be located at Gaithersburg High School (101 Education Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD). The track location is subject to change.

Participants should come to each workout properly dressed for the weather conditions and with proper hydration.  A fuel belt or similar is recommended to allow runners to easily carry water on Saturday long runs.  Reflective gear may be recommended on select Tuesday evenings if the track is closed due to snow or ice and we are able to do an alternate workout on the roads.

*** Curious about coaching, like the cold, and love to have fun? We are looking for Pace Coaches! Please email for more information! ***

Cost: Online registration is $80.  This does NOT include entry into a goal race, but does include a premium.

Program Dates: Saturday, January 13, 2024 – Sunday, March 24, 2024;  The informal, pre-program build-up runs will start on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at Candy Cane City Park  at 7:30 AM. Come join us for a few miles!

Target Race: The B&A Half Marathon on Sunday, March 24, 2024 though participants may choose to participate in another winter/spring race.  Additionally, running a goal race is not required to participate and those who just want to train with a group are also welcome.


Date/Time: Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Location: Zoom – details will be provided to registered participants.

Head Coaches/Director:  Jennifer Smith & Lisa Chilcote

Jen’s first experience with the club was with the 10K program in 2010.  In 2018, after an 8-year hiatus from running, Jen returned to the club with the 5K Run/Walk Program. She joined the program to jumpstart a fitness and weight loss journey and is proud to say she’s lost 65 pounds.  Jen has been off and running ever since! In 2019, Jen ran with the First Time Marathon Program, got her RRCA Coaching Certification, and has served as a pace coach for the Winter Half Marathon Program.  She has run numerous races of varying distances since joining the club and completed her first marathon in 2019!    Jen volunteers at aid stations and water stops for club races and program runs. She brings almost 30 years of accounting experience to MCRRC. Her financial background includes 8 years auditing non-profits and 5 years as the CFO for a local performing arts organization. She now has her own accounting and tax services company. Jen previously served as Treasurer for her college’s SCUBA club and for the C&O Canal Trust.   When not working or running with the club, Jen works out, bicycles, rides motorcycles, and white-water kayaks.  Jen lives in Silver Spring, MD with her 2 BIG lovable cat fur babies, Aruba and Tahiti!

A native New Jersey high school stand out and state ranked athlete in the 400 meters, Lisa took a 15 year hiatus from running. In 2007 she rekindled her relationship with the sport and over the course of a 5 year period set a number of personal records. Of the late her greatest running accomplishment is having remained injured free for close to 5 years. In addition to running, she spends her free time with her family and lovable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, improving her tennis game and traveling between Moco and the Delaware beaches. She is an RRCA certified running coach and a certified spin instructor. She employed as a Sr. Director for a local Health Care organization.

Program Registration

Registration is Open!

Please Note

A CURRENT MCRRC MEMBERSHIP is REQUIRED to participate in this program. Please note that membership is NOT included in your program registration. PRIOR TO JOINING this program, you must become a member. If you are unsure if you have a CURRENT MCRRC Membership, please contact for assistance. Otherwise, please click here to become a valued member.

Communication Methods
We will use a private, online group to facilitate communications. Everyone will be required to join this group to participate in the program. Instructions on how to join this group will be provided by the Program Director.

The program director reserves the right in his sole discretion to refuse admission to the program or dismiss any individual from the program whom the program director believes is unsuited for running the specified distance or is unable to meet the demands of the training schedule, or is disruptive to other program participants. Those individuals will be denied entry into the program or dismissed from the program as appropriate. The program director also reserves the right to limit the number of participants in the overall program or in individual pace groups. MCRRC has a No Refund policy. Program registration fees cannot be refunded due to injury, schedule conflict or any other reason.