Saturday April 9th saw an elite group of Olympic-caliber athletes emerge from behind the keyboards and monitors at Hodgson’s Kensington offices to strive with champions in “The Race to End Poverty.” This 5K charity event was sponsored by A Wider Circle, a local philanthropic organization that “provides basic need items to families transitioning out of shelters or simply living without life’s necessities.” Hodgson employees and family members showed up in force for the race, either to compete themselves or to encourage those of us foolish—er, brave—enough to run.
Rather than weary you with the details of the intensive training regimen common to many of the more energetic runners (booooooring!), I’ll share with you the tale of my own involvement in the race. Our story begins with Hodgson developer Jake Portnoy goading me into signing up, probably by questioning my masculinity and/or my ability to wake up at 8 AM on a Saturday after a typical night of revelry. Needless to say, his appeals to my competitive nature were quite effective in shaming me into participation. Despite the fact that I had scarcely run a block in the past several years, I resolved to join some of my coworkers in their rigorous post-work training sessions. At last, I had found the catalyst I needed to get myself into fighting shape!
As it turns out, my resolve to run was not nearly strong enough to resist the allure of . . . well, notrunning. I skipped most of the training, proffering a valid excuse each time: “I have to finish writing this proposal,” “I need to go grocery shopping after work,” “Gotta do laundry,” etc. When the week of the race arrived, I realized I hadn’t trained a lick for the 3.1 miles I was supposed to run on Saturday. Panic set in. In a last ditch effort to prepare myself for the arduous task before me, I joined the others on Wednesday as they headed to Chevy Chase for a trial run on the course.
Although this little practice session left me praying for the sweet release of death, I was pleased that I managed to run the entire way without stopping. My sense of satisfaction soon turned into intense muscular pain; I was moving with the gracefulness of an arthritic octogenarian. Not great if you’re planning on running again in a day or two, but whatever.
Saturday morning was colder than I would have liked (temperatures in the lower 40s), and the ground was sodden from recent torrential downpours. I knew my lower legs were bound to end up caked in muck by the end of the run; all the same, I donned my Hodgson colors and joined my coworkers in their casual pre-race banter. As we started out of the gate, I decided I would try to pace myself off developer Bryan Scott—if I could hang with a guy who’d been in the Marines for several years, I’d probably feel pretty good about myself when all was said and done.
After we had rounded the first few bends in the course and entered the narrow woodland path (which, at this point, was basically a muddy quagmire), a number of questions began popping into my head: Why did I drink milk with breakfast this morning? Why didn’t I walk the one-mile course with Kevin and James? Was that a 12-year-old girl who just passed me? Will anyone notice if I drop dead from exhaustion? As I pondered these questions and attempted to keep my footing on the muddy, crowded trail, I hit the midpoint of the course and turned to follow the rest of the runners back to the finish line.
I’m sure a lot of things happened during the latter half of the race (e.g. Matt Hodgson passed me and offered what I’m going to assume were encouraging words to spur me on), but I was far too fixated on my labored breathing to take much note. When my heart rate had returned to a somewhat normal level, I noticed that I had finished 58th out of 141 with a time of 27:36, which was satisfying enough for a sluggard like me. I hear there’s another 5K in the fall. I can’t wait.
Oh, of course, I’m sure you’re still wondering how much money was raised, how the others fared, etc. Full results are available on A Wider Circle’s website, and you can check out Hodgson’s Facebook pageto see some photos that were taken right after the race. I think we look pretty good for a group of exhausted runners, don’t you? Please don’t be alarmed by my pallor—that’s actually my normal skin tone.