Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Boston Bound: Capitol Hill Staffers Lace Up for Marathon

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Allen, right, a legislative assistant for Sen. Amy Klobuchar , will be among the 36,000 runners at this year’s Boston Marathon. Lehner, communications director for Sen. Mary L. Landrieu , ran Boston in 2011 and has already qualified for the 2015 marathon.

Kerry Allen knows what it’s like to go to work on only a few hours of sleep. The legislative assistant for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is up every morning before sunrise to log miles as part of her training plan for the upcoming Boston Marathon. Even on days when she does double-digit-mile runs, Allen is at her desk in the Hart Senate Office Building by 9 a.m.

“Depending on the length of the run, I’m usually out the door by 6 or 6:30 a.m. on weekdays,” said Allen, who qualified for Boston with a time of 2:56 at the Raleigh Oaks Marathon in North Carolina, where she was the fifth overall female finisher. She’s aiming to finish the 26.2 mile race in 2:48, which is an average 6:25-minute mile.

Allen will be joining 36,000 other runners at the 118th annual Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21. Expected turnout is near an all-time high for the race, eclipsed only by the 100th anniversary 18 years ago. The Boston Athletic Association increased the field size by 9,000, anticipating greater demand given the bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 200 last year.

“The energy last year was amazing and I can only imagine that will be amplified greatly this year,” Allen told CQ Roll Call. “I’m sure the race will be very emotional for both runners and spectators.”

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., will also be at the starting line, along with an estimated 800 from the D.C. area, according to information provided from RunWashington, a website and magazine.

Finding Time to Train

The frenetic pace of Congress and the intense daily training a marathon requires are a delicate balancing act. Even with a supportive boss and co-workers, the sheer miles required (Allen runs between 55 and 60 miles a week in peak training) means devoting a substantial amount of time to hitting the pavement.

“You have to fully know the time commitment required, plan well and stay flexible,” said Matt Lehner, communications director for Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. Lehner ran Boston in 2011 and qualified again for 2014, but decided against running. “My boss has her own competitive race this November that is keeping me busy,” he said.

Lehner has already qualified for Boston 2015 with a 2:50 at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota. During the peak of his training, he runs more than 70 miles a week.

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