The fastest men and women in Congress have until May 18 to enhance their speed.
That's when organizers have scheduled the 35th annual ACLI Capital Challenge, which pits members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches and the fourth branch, the press, in an approximately three-mile footrace at Anacostia Park that establishes absolutely no land-speed records, at least among members of Congress. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was the fastest man in Congress this May, dashing in at 19:12. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a tri-athlete, was the fastest woman in the legislative branch. She clocked in at 24:14.
Cotton is expected to defend his title in the 2016 contest, and Capital Challenge officials expect many other previous participants to run again.
"We expect good returns," said Jeff Darman, a race organizer. What else may one expect from life insurers?
It's not just individual members who compete. There are teams across the spectrum, with Sen. Rob Portman's Team Portman taking top Senate honors, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer's Red, White and Blumenauer the winning as a House team.
There's a bit of uptick in speed for the outside-Congress individuals and teams. The overall winner among males was Patrick Fernandez of Team Coast Guard at 15:05. The fastest woman was Gina Slaby of the Navy's Global Force for Speed.
The overall team winner was Global Force for Speed, which took home the coveted Senator Richard G. Lugar Award, named after the long-time Republican running enthusiast from Indiana.
Not everyone is there for the glory. Some come simply to show off their team names. There was Swalswell That Ends Well, the team of the fastest House member, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. Even the courts get in on the yuks. Failure to Exhaust was the team name for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The media of course, can't help itself either. EnergyWire went with Can't Carbon Capture Us.
In recognition of the team names, there is even a competition to recognize best and worst. The Best Named Team in 2015 went to AARP Magazine's Flock of Geez. The worst, and this is quite an accomplishment among these folks, went to the runners representing Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., who took home the James B. Kenin Award for absolute worst team name: Cartwright Before The Horse.
Proceeds from the race go to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation to provide guide dogs and services to blinded veterans or their immediate family members.
Organizers say registration will begin in early March.