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The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run competitors were fortunate to enjoy great weather for this year’s running of the Washington, D.C., event. The April 5 race, in combination with other events, raised $1 million for the Children’s Miracle Network.Moroccan Ridouane Harroufi, 27, broke away from a tight pack of six runners in the final 500 yards to finish with a first-place time of 45 minutes, 56 seconds. He became the first competitor in a decade to break the 46-minute mark.Lineth Chepkurui, a 21-year-old Kenyan, pulled away from a pack of 16 runners just after the eight-mile mark. She finished with a time of 53:32.Each of the first place winners took home $7,500.Sally Meyerhoff, 25 of Phoenix, set a new American record for a women’s-only race with a time of 54:38.A new addition for 2009 was a simultaneous Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run at Camp Victory in Baghdad.But the real winners were the beneficiaries of the Children’s Miracle Network, which received $1 million from credit unions’ efforts. “We are so fortunate to count the credit unions among our most dedicated supporters,” Judy Graham, vice president of development at Children’s National Medical Center-one of the benefiting hospitals, said. “The dollars they raise help support the hospital’s neediest programs and benefit children in our region and beyond.” Proceeds are distributed to the local hospitals where they are raised; CNMC received $400,000.Credit Union Miracle Day Chairman Juri Valdov, retired CEO of Northwest FCU, said, “It’s full circle for us, presenting this $1 million check to Children’s Miracle Network at Children’s National Medical Center. It all began here, in D.C., and now we’ve gone nationwide. We couldn’t be prouder of our sponsoring credit unions’ continuing strong commitment to helping kids, now more than ever during this economic downturn.”Many people from the credit union movement turned out to run or volunteer.Credit union people were as ubiquitous as the cherry blossoms during the race. CUNA had 18 volunteers present with President/CEO Dan Mica participating in the 5K. NAFCU had six 10-mile runners, six 5K participants, and nine volunteers. Six runners participated from CUNA Mutual, with Holly Fearing finishing 60th among all women at 65:32. CUNA Mutual’s running team also finished fifth of 29 corporate teams. Additionally, the company sent 13 volunteers. MDDCCUA President/CEO Mike Beall volunteer at the start line, as did many other credit union dignitaries, while MDDCCUA Director of Legislative Affairs Aaron Glaser ran the 10-miler.Outside of credit unions, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty completed the race in just over one hour.The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run serves as the Road Runners Club of America’s 10-Mile National Championship. It was scheduled to air on WJLA-ABC, Channel 7, in a half-hour special at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 11 and on NewsChannel 8 at 1:00 p.m. the same day.

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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