WASHINGTON-Credit unions are trying the make Washington, D.C.’s 2006 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run more of a nationwide event for credit unions. “There’s always been a sense that this is a nationwide event,” commented The Summit Federal Credit Union President and CEO Mike Vadala, who is heading up a new Credit Union Miracle Day Inc. committee to expand participation among credit unions outside the Washington, D.C.-area. Vadala explained that the obvious visibility credit unions gain from the race that attracts runners from all corners of the globe is good for the entire industry, but credit unions generally like to have “a local feel” to the money they put out. Though the event is held in D.C., credit union funds are being earmarked to go back to their local hospitals. The Cherry Blossom Run benefits the Children’s Miracle Network. The committee is brand new, Vadala pointed out. “We’re still working on the specifics and we’re going to have to do it quickly,” he said. Vadala added that the committee is trying to be sensitive to other programs already out there, too. The Summit CEO has run most of his life, he said, and participated in the run most years that the credit unions have sponsored it. Online entries for the April 2 race, which tends to fill up in a matter of weeks, can be submitted beginning promptly at 10 a.m. on Dec. 12. Mail-in entries will begin being distributed in early December. A maximum of 10,000 runners will be accepted, including 1,000 set aside for sponsor credit union-entrants. The event is providing $31,500 in prize money, its largest purse ever. Race Event Director Phil Stewart recently announced that an extra “all-women’s event” to include 30 elite female runners will begin 10 minutes before the regular race time in order to establish an official world record for an all-women’s race.

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