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40th Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Was One For The Record Books
From Allan Kiprono’s Course Record, to Course Recordholder Colleen De Reuck’s Pending U.S. Age Group Record for Women 45-49, April 1 Was a Fast Day for Running in the District of Columbia.
May 7, 2012, Washington, DC: The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk on Washington’s National Mall was chock full of winners on Sunday, April 1, 2012. From frontrunners to age groupers, new standards were broken by numerous participants.
As many expected, last year’s second-place runner, Allan Kiprono, won the men’s race – what wasn’t expected was the fact that he broke the Course Record set by Lelisa Desisa in 2011 by 21 seconds, running 45:15 to win by the widest margin in recent Cherry Blossom history, one minute and 13 seconds. No surprise, however, was fellow Kenyan Julliah Tinega’s repeat victory in the women’s race in 54:02. Tinega led the field of elite women runners from the start, including Colleen De Reuck, who set the standing Course Record for women (51:16) in 1998. This year, at the age of 47, De Reuck ran a pending age group record for women 45-49 of 58:14 to place 10th overall.
An interesting competitive sidelight to this year’s 40th running of “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®,” was a special award for any runner, male or female, who ran faster than Sam Bair (51:22) or Kathrine Switzer (1:11:19) ran to win the inaugural Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in 1973. At the end of the day, 16 male runners and 212 female runners earned mugs that boast “I would have won this race in 1973!”
Results from the Washington Metropolitan Area Team Championship were based on the combined times of each team’s three fastest runners and, due to the complexity of scoring teams when runners tend to swap race numbers, were just finalized on April 30. Pacers won the men’s team competition, with a combined time of 2:32:12, Georgetown Running Company was second in 2:35:22, and PR Elite was third in 2:43:35. The women’s team competition saw Georgetown Running Company take top honors in 3:00:44, Pacers was second in 3:01:34, and PR Racing placed third in 3:14:27.
Twenty-one runners from Teens Run DC finished the race. Teens Run DC is a Washington, DC based program designed to empower at-risk youth to envision and work towards the achievement of personal goals through an adult mentoring and distance running program. The top Teens Run DC runners included Terrance Bullock, 5th, and Genuine Kinsey, 16th, in the 5K Run Walk. In the 10-miler, Ross Pendergast placed 9th and Noah Howard placed 11th on the men’s side of the 19-and-under age group, while Yael Holtzman-Castellands placed 12th among females in the same age group. Every student in the group finished the race they entered, making them all winners in the minds of their 26 mentors and teachers, who also participated in the races.
Over 900 Capitol Hill staffers took part in the annual Capitol Hill Competition, highlighted by 43 Senate teams and 37 House teams. Top team honors went to the “Two Extreme for Colorado” team from the office of Senator Michael Bennet, and the “Red, White and Blumenaur” team from the office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
Ben Beach completed the race for the 40th consecutive time, running in 1:37:04. The 62-year-old Bethesda, MD resident is the only runner to have completed every edition of the race. Just over two weeks later, Beach moved into a tie with Neil Weygandt for most number of consecutive Boston Marathons completed – that total is 45. Weygandt did not compete this year.
Other noteworthy statistics include Metro ridership of 13,767 on race day, up from 13,162 in 2011, but less than the peak of 13,900 riders in 2010. (Race organizers have an arrangement with Metro to open stations early on the Sunday morning to encourage runners and spectators to take advantage of public transportation, rather than struggle to find parking and increase already heavy traffic in and around the National Mall.) In addition, race organizers encourage runners who cannot take advantage of Metro to purchase carbon offsets from NativeEnergy to mitigate the impact of their travel to the race; carbon offsets were priced at $3.75 this year to coincide with the average roundtrip Metro fare, and 841 runners supported the program, raising $3153.75 for NativeEnergy.
On the fundraising front, a total of $515,000 was raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals this year, bringing the total amount of money raised since the Credit Unions became the title sponsor of the Cherry Blossom Run in 2002 to over $5.5 million dollars.
This year’s event took place on the second weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival®, the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2012 Festival, March 20 – April 27, included five spectacular weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The 2012 Festival commemorated the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.
About the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile:
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®.” The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children’s hospitals across the United States. Since the Credit Unions became the title sponsor in 2002, over $5.5 million dollars has been raised through donations and fundraising on the part of the runners and individual sponsoring Credit Unions and partners. About one-third of these funds support Washington, DC’s own Children’s National Medical Center (“Children’s Hospital”). The event also funds two $5,000 Road Runners Club of America “Roads Scholar” grants designed to support up-and-coming U.S. distance running talent.