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Congressional Runners to Confront Oxygen Debt Ceiling

Dozens of members of Congress will lead teams in the annual ACLI Capital Challenge, a three mile road race.  They join participants from all branches of government and the media on 125 teams and have been cautioned to run sensibly to avoid quantitative wheezing.  The race takes place on Wednesday, May 4 at 8:00 a.m. in Washington, D.C.’s East Potomac Park.  For a brief period competitors from both parties will stand united at the start of the spring’s first major political race.

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) will compete for the 30th straight year, never having missed a race.  Joining him will be several congressional committee chairs; agency heads, including HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelious and FDIC Chair Sheila Bair; plus many on-air correspondents, federal Judges, and print journalists.  Fastest female Senator honors are up for grabs with three entered (Senators Ayotte, Hagan and Hutchison), while Senator John Thune (R-SD) will try to keep his Senate title.  Long-time champion Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH) will seek to retain her title and will be challenged by several female members of congress.  Reigning fastest man in Congress, Senator John Thune,  will seek to keep his crown but will be challenged by Aaron Schock, the 2010 fastest Congressman.

On hand as official whistle blower will be Dick Beardsley an accomplished athlete, author (Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race), and a respected and compelling inspirational speaker and TV commentator.

In the early 80’s Beardsley became the most famous runner in the world by losing a race.  In the 1982 Boston Marathon, he finished two seconds behind Alberto Salazar in a contest often called one of the most memorable in marathon history (Duel in the Sun).  It was the closest finish ever at Boston, and both runners broke the course and the American records.

Retired from running, Dick had a series of near fatal accidents that left him addicted to pain killers.  His overcoming extreme obstacles speaks to anyone who loves competition, who has survived catastrophe or who has pursued a seemingly impossible goal.

Team captains in this event are not honorary positions. Each must finish the three-mile course for their team to score. This event shows that even the busiest people can take time out to stay physically fit.  All entry fees go to Special Olympics, D.C., as does an additional donation from the title sponsor ACLI (American Council of Life Insurers) and from other sponsors AEGON USA, ING, John Hancock, MetLife, New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, Principal Financial Group, Prudential, RGA, Swiss Re, Western and Southern Financial Group, Roll Call and Winstead Attorneys.

Competition for the prestigious Best and James B. Kenin Worst Team name honors remains intense.

Some noteworthy entrants:
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
John Norris (Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
Roy Kienitz (Undersecretary of Transportation)
Sheila Bair (Chair, FDIC)
Richard Monastersky (Nature)
Neda Ulaby (NPR)
Jon Hamilton (NPR)

The riverfront course is out and back in East Potomac Park.  After the race, runners will enjoy a catered continental breakfast (TARP, Tired Athletes Refreshments Program) courtesy of Principal Financial Group, along with pure spring water compliments of Northwestern Mutual.

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