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Race day dawned pretty early – 5:30am!

After rushing my sister around the house like a child who overslept, couldn’t find her socks, and whined her race shirt was too tight, I set off for West Potomac Park in Washington. Having been there many times, I had no problem finding the park. What I did have trouble finding was the race site itself.  At 5:30am the park was pitch black. I knew somewhere in the darkness were Foundation staff and volunteers already at work. As I slowly cruised down Ohio Drive, I finally spotted off in the distant flashlights – and life!

I had expected to find a group of groggy people. Instead I found an amazingly energetic group, laughing, helping one another, as they stumbled around in the dark to get everything ready. They were unbelievable!

Brenda, Jan's niece Libby and Jan at the 5K

The sun finally peaked over the Washington Monument as more volunteers trickled in, followed by the race’s MC, WUSA Channel 9 weekday anchor Andrea Roane and Senator and Mrs. Leahy, who were eager to assume their positions in the food tent. The runners arrived shortly after their arrival.

Talking to folks I learned some were experienced runners who took a run before the race began to “warm up.” Others were first time runners, some were walking, some who classified themselves as “light joggers,” and there were even a couple of families, some with strollers. It was quite an eclectic mix with one thing in common – they were there in support of cancer prevention.

(L to R) Marcelle Leahy, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Andrea Roane, Jan Mahrer

It was a beautiful morning, with the race going off without a hitch; except for maybe the “hitch in my get-along.” It took me about 44 minutes to cross the finish line with Brenda following behind doing a combination of walking and easy running. After the race was over and the awards were being announced, I was struck by how many people came up to me, including our Special Guest Washington Post Live’s Ivan Carter , to tell me how much fun they had and how they were already looking forward to next year’s race. It was a great feeling!

How did I celebrate the fulfillment of my 5K challenge? I went to breakfast, then home for a nap. How do you celebrate when you’ve accomplished an exercise goal?