Award Honors the Memory of Longtime Race Volunteer Les Kinion
April 7, 2018, Washington, DC: At this year's pre-race dinner for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run, the table was set - in more ways than one. Everyone who gathered for dinner had done their best to prepare for the 46th running of The Runners Rite of Spring®.
A very deep and hungry field of elite runners had trained hard for the PRRO and RRCA Championship events that would be held as part of this year's Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile. Race organizing committee members had reconfigured the event's staging area on the Washington Monument Grounds to avoid areas that are being refurbished, just as they had revised and recertified both the Ten Mile and 5K Run-Walk courses to avoid construction on Memorial Bridge. And Credit Union dignitaries were excited to share the news of $380,000 having been raised for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
To top it off, one dedicated race committee member was about to receive the coveted Les Kinion Outstanding Service Award - an award established in 2015 to ensure the memory of Kinion's outstanding service to the Cherry Blossom Run.
In his presentation remarks, Race Director Phil Stewart said: "Les Kinion was very much at the heart and soul of the Cherry Blossom race committee for over 20 years. He coordinated the screen printing of the t-shirts, packaged and delivered over 150 separate packets for committee members and others, and worked all race weekend long - always with a smile and effusive spirit that rejuvenated even the most tired among us. There wasn't a single thing that Les wouldn't do to help out the race."
Stewart went on to add: "This year's Kinion Award recipient, Jean Arthur, has been as essential to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run as the water and Gatorade she has served to our participants for the last 20 years. Jean oversees a corps of water stop captains who get up before 4:00 a.m. on race day year after year largely due to the loyalty and respect she has earned from each and every one of them."
Indeed, Jean Arthur exemplifies the dedication to service that previous Kinion Award recipients Irv Newman (2015), George Tarrico (2016) and Michelle Carter (2017) have been recognized for in years past.
By trade, Les Kinion was a Baltimore fire fighter with Engine Company 43. By passion, he was first a runner and then a running club officer and race director. In 1970, Les co-founded the Baltimore Road Runners Club, one of the earliest chapters of the Road Runners Club of America. In 1973 he helped launch the first Maryland Marathon. After retiring in 1986, Les moved to Bishopville, MD, and worked on hundreds of races on the Maryland-Delaware Coast. He became involved with the Cherry Blossom Run over 20 years ago, and was active until he passed away in July 2014 at the age of 78.
Since 2002, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and 5K Run-Walk have raised over $8 million for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The 2018 event marks the 17th year of title sponsorship by Credit Union Miracle Day.
About the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile:
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom, organized by Cherry Blossom, Inc., a 501c(3) chapter of the Road Runners Club of America, is known as "The Runner's Rite of Spring®" in the Nation's Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children's hospitals across North America. About one-third of the funds raised support Washington, DC's own Children's National ("Children's Hospital"). The event also funds two $5,000 Road Runners Club of America "Roads Scholar" grants designed to support up-and-coming U.S. distance running talent.
The event is a proud member of the PRRO Circuit (PRRO.org), a series of non-marathon prize money road races in Tampa, FL; Washington, DC; Spokane, WA; Utica, NY; and Pittsburgh, PA, with the 2018 PRRO Championships to be hosted by the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile on April 8. The circuit is committed to a drug-free sport and funds Clearidium to conduct drug testing at all circuit events in compliance with the standards of international and U.S. drug testing authorities.
In addition to being sanctioned by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has earned Gold Level Inspire Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in recognition of its legacy of commitment to sustainability and thoughtful resource management. To learn more, visit www.CherryBlossom.org.
Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., a consortium of credit unions and credit union suppliers in partnership with CUNA Mutual Group and PSCU, is the title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run 5K Run-Walk and Kids' Run. Hood Cottage Cheese is the presenting sponsor of the 5K Run-Walk. Supporting sponsors include Baroody Camps, E-Trade, Garmin, Gatorade, GEICO, Gold's Gym, Mamma Lucia, MedStar Sports Medicine, Navy Federal Credit Union, Old Ox Brewery, Potomac River Running, Suburban Solutions, and Under Armour.
About America's Credit Unions:
Credit unions provide consumers choices for financial services such as checking accounts, investments and loans of all kinds including mortgages. Funds are federally insured, but unlike banks, there are no stockholders at credit unions. Earnings are returned to member-owners in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates, low or no-fee products and services. The credit union philosophy of placing members' needs first is why more than 113 million Americans do their banking at one of America's 5,800 credit unions. Credit unions are for everyone - no matter where you live, there is a credit union to meet your needs.