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WASHINGTON – Gusting winds and periodic rain was not enough to deter more than 8,000 hard-core runners from participating in the 32nd annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run April 4. The first male competitor to run through the end tape held by CUNA Chairman Dick Ensweiler, president and CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, and NAFCU Chair Diane Furnas, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union, was Kenyan Nelson Kiplagat in 48 minutes and 12 seconds. Fellow Kenyan Isabella Ochichi, 24, achieved a personal best of 52 minutes and seven seconds to win out of the female contenders. Both received $5,500 of the total $30,000 prize money, a record for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Race. Finishing somewhat behind the winners were some credit union dignitaries, including CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica and NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker. House Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.) also completed the race. However, the Children’s Miracle Network was the real winner. The race raised $325,000 for CMN, a $135,000 jump over last year’s donation. This was the third consecutive year credit unions have been the title sponsors of the race. Over 500 credit union members served as volunteers at the race and nearly 4,000 runners were credit union members. Supporting race sponsors included Navy Federal Credit Union, Gatorade, and Metro Run & Walk. The race’s contributing sponsor was Fitness Image Results. The Cherry Blossom Run is part of the 2004 National Cherry Blossom Festival from March 27 to April 11. Local ABC affiliate WJLA televised the race in a half-hour special Saturday, April 10th. -

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