More than 1,500 runners, joggers and walkers from all over the D.C. area came out to West Potomac Park early Sunday morning to support the Sallie Mae student loan fund in its effort to help America’s youth afford college, or just to catch up on exercise.
The event, the Sallie Mae 10K, entered its 23rd year on Sunday. Despite the overcast morning sky, those who braved the 6.2-mile trek or the organization’s other peripheral events were treated to the opportunity to run past Washington’s many monuments without the capacity crowd that is typical on spring weekends. The route took joggers past the Tidal Basin, the Jefferson Memorial and the FDR Memorial, among others.
The GW Road Runners Club finished third in the intercollegiate coed group, with Dominick Cice finishing the race in 37:03.
In addition to the main event, Sallie Mae also hosted a pre-race warm-up, a wheelchair race for disabled runners and a 2K walk/run for those who wanted to lend their support but lacked the stamina for the longer event.
“I just recently began exercising again after giving birth to three children,” participant Karansa Minor, a Maryland resident, said. “My loans came from Sallie Mae when I was in college, so (I wanted) to help other students.”
The winners were classified by age demographic, and those who finished in top positions shared a total of $12,900 in prize money. Although many participants ran individually or with family members, some grouped themselves into teams with names like the “D.C. Frontrunners” or “Road kill.”
The Sallie Mae Fund collected donations via registration fees, which ranged from $12 to $30. The purpose of the fund is to benefit the D.C. College Access Program, a groups that helps send local high school students to college.