Political Racing: The Capital Challenge
You don't see too much of Washington, D.C. in the running news if it isn't time for the National, the Marine Corps Marathon, or the Cherry Blossom road race. A race not open to the public is happening this week, though, bringing together the worlds of politics and running.
The Capital Challenge is a three mile race open only to teams of five, which must be headed by a political or media figure in Washington, D.C. Participants include members of all branches of government, as well as representatives from various broadcast and print media outlets.
Sounds serious, right? The race itself doesn't take itself too seriously, from the team name awards (given to worst names as well as best) to the light breakfast served after, billed as the Tired Athletes Refreshment Program (TARP). There are, however, some serious runners in these races.
Last's year top male, Neal Hannon, finished in 15:58, and the top female, Eve Newman, finished in 19:09. Last year's fastest elected official overall, Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), finished in 18:49. Not to be outdone, the fastest elected female was Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH), who finished in 23:11.
Expect Schmidt to be running on the 28th to defend her title, while unfortunately Gordon is injured and cannot defend. Another runner to watch in this race is Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), who has participated in every Capital Challenge. In total, 36 members of Congress are among the 125 teams. The race also has celebrity participants - this year Bart Yasso, of the Yasso 800 workout and Runner's World Magazine, will be the official whistleblower and is also listed as a running participant.
For last year's event, Meb Keflezighi acted as whistleblower and there was the port-o-potty you saw above, reserved for Mr. Bernie Madoff. Here's hoping for similar antics and another great race this year.