Off the Hill, into the Park

NPR fielded several teams and won the race's spirit award.                                Photo: Charlie Ban
NPR fielded several teams and won the race’s spirit award. Photo: Charlie Ban

For one day, instead of putting their noses to the grindstone early, hundreds of federal employees from all branches of government showed up in Anacostia Park to run the ACLI Capital Challenge.

[button-red url=”http://www.capitalchallenge.com/2001_cabinet/history2001.html” target=”_self” position=”left”] Results [/button-red] Several members of Congress participated, and several acquitted themselves well over the three-mile course Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R- N.H.) finished first among U.S. Senators and Reps. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) were the first from the House to cross the line.

[button-red url=”https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.659491597411409.1073741846.189448104415763&type=1″ target=”_self” position=”left”] Photo [/button-red]Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s office was represented well up front by Paul Balmer, who began working for the Oregon democrat. Balmer finished fourth.

It was Blumenauer’s 16 time running out of the 17 years he’s been in office.

“It’s a terrific event, the whole office participates,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to focus on an event. I don’t train anymore but still run four or five times a week.”

Blumenauer tries to schedule meetings during runs or walks.

“It’s an efficient use of time, when you have endorphins kicking in, you think better,” he said. “The world would be a better place if more people ran, walked, or biked.”

The U.S. Coast Guard swept the top individual spots, with Patrick Fernandez in 14:46 and Rachel Beckmann in 17:59. Fernandez went on to win the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon five days later.

The FBI (Full Blooded Intensity) eeked out a team title over Navy, which FBI team member Jim Keesling hoped for but did not expect.

“It has been a fun and storied rivalry and a challenge trying to stay competitive with Navy,” he said. “I have really enjoyed running with them and competing in such a great event. I ran my first Capital Challenge in 1998 when we narrowly defeated Navy and saw them easily beat us the past two years so it was really fun coming up victorious this year. Their team captainSue Himes knows how to put together great teams and I wish her the beat in retirement.”

Himes has also served RunWashington and the Washington Running Report for several years as its Military Running columnist.

Matt Thomas of Alexandria was running late to join his Navy teammates. He was able to make it to the start in just in time.

“It was a rude awakening to run that hard off of no warm up,” he said. “Two and a half miles in and I was like ugh, I felt that breakfast gripping me pretty tight.”

Holley Simmons, was the most tired of her Washington Post Express teammates and put up the least fight when they dressed her like a copy of the commuter daily. She is a fashion and dining editor who is not a habitual runner.

“It got pretty hot under there,” she said.

 

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