By Christina Wilkie - 05/04/11 11:39 PM EDT
Nasty weather on Wednesday didn’t stop more than a dozen members of Congress from running in the 30th annual ACLI Capital Challenge 5k race.
Runners turned out in steady rain at 8 a.m. to loop around Hains Point, and, as in years past, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was the first senator to cross the finish line, in 18:54.
On the House side, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) blew by his fellow lawmakers to take the top spot in the lower chamber, with a time of 20:12.
But for two senior senators, the race offered them the chance at victories of a different sort. For Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Wednesday marked his 30th consecutive ACLI race, a record for any participant.
An avid runner, Lugar told ITK after the race that this was the first time he’d run the three-mile course in the rain. “It didn’t make any difference to me. I just ran and had a good time.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), on the other hand, had a slightly more competitive angle going.
“I’ve been running every day for two weeks to keep my body in shape,” he told ITK the day before the race. “My best time ever was 27:20, but that was the first time I ran the course. I want to beat that time again.” Grassley finished Wednesday with a time of 30:10, but said he felt better after this race than in previous years, and that he planned to hit the road again Thursday morning.
As for what motivates Grassley while he’s on the racetrack, it’s more than just exercise. “What spurs me on is that twice before, I beat [Sen.] John Cornyn [R-Texas]. But then he found out how I was doing it, and then he’s beat me the last few times.”
Grassley, 77, admitted that he might have made a mistake by teasing Cornyn the first time he beat him. “I told him it felt good to beat a guy 18 years younger than me, and now look, he’s beat me ever since.”
Unfortunately (or perhaps not) for Grassley, Cornyn had to sit out Wednesday’s race due to injury, so the Iowa senator will have to wait another year to face Cornyn on the track.
Following the race, Grassley joked that there were only two reasons Cornyn could have possibly missed Wednesday’s contest: “Either he was afraid I was going to beat him, or he didn’t want to run in the rain.”