After a long winter here in Washington, spring is in the air and you can see more than a few runners getting in their miles on the National Mall near our Voice of America headquarters.
Some are running for their own personal health, while others are training for upcoming races. The Washington area has a vibrant racing scene, and many of the competitions raise money for charity.
On May 20th, I’ll be joining 14 of my VOA colleagues for the 34th running of the ACLI Capital Challenge. The three-mile road race in Anacostia Park benefits the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, which provides trained guide dogs and services to blind and visually impaired people.
In addition to many members of the media, the charity race features teams led by Senators, Representatives and other top U.S. government officials.
Race Director Jeff Darman says the event “promotes healthy living in the shadow of the Capitol as many physically fit Washington luminaries set an excellent example on race day each year.”
Each year, Darman brings in a celebrity runner to help showcase the race.
This year’s celebrity is Dathan Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian for the United States who will compete in the Boston Marathon April 20th.
The 32-year-old Ritzenhein will serve as the official Capital Challenge “whistle blower” and start the runners on their way. Then he’ll jump in and run from the back of the pack.
I have no doubts if Dathan puts his mind to it, he’ll catch up to me quickly.