March 14, 2023, Washington, DC: Organizers of the 50th Anniversary of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, 5K and Kids Run (CUCB) announced today a full schedule of talks to be held on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, at the Health and Fitness Expo Presented by Wegmans. The venue will be the auditorium of the National Building Museum — a National Historic Landmark, located at 401 F Street, NW in the District.
The CUCB speakers program will be open to the public, not just registered runners, and will kick off with 1973 Cherry Blossom women’s race winner Kathrine Switzer talking about the Women’s Running Movement at 4:00 p.m. on March 31. Kathrine is perhaps best known for the iconic photos of Boston Marathon director Jock Semple attempting to evict her from the 1967 race, which did not allow women to run officially. She went on to win the 1974 New York City Marathon and to champion women in the sport globally.
Switzer’s talk will be followed at 5:00 pm by a panel featuring best-selling author Alison Mariella Désir, whose book Running While Black will provide context for a lively discussion among a number of notable Black runners from the DC area, including: Alisa Harvey, a world class 1500-meter runner in the late 1980s and throughout the 90s, and winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile in 1991 and 1999; Bill Sollers, who ran CUCB 35 times between 1973 and 2018, when he won 75-79 age group honors at the age of 78; Marilyn Bevans, who ran CUCB 11 times between 1976-2005, winning 25-29 age group honors in 1976 at the age of 26, and who became the first Black woman to break three hours for the marathon in Boston in 1977, placing second overall in 2:51:12; and Delabian Thurston, who ran CUCB eight times between 1974-1986.
The final speaker at 6:30 pm on Friday will be Lisa Bentley, a familiar face to past CUCB expo attendees, who will reprise her talk from 2019 about Running Your Best Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile or 5K – how to use your mind and body to achieve a personal best.
The program on April 1 will begin at 11:00 a.m. with repeats of Friday’s session with Kathrine Switzer, followed by a noon session with Alison Mariella Désir and her fellow Black runners.
At 1:30 p.m., 1973 women’s winner Kathrine Switzer will be joined by four-time Cherry Blossom 10 Mile champion Bill Rodgers (1978-1981); three-time winner Lisa Rainsberger, who won the race in 1985, ‘89 and ‘90 as Lisa Weidenbach; 1983 victor and still American Record holder (46:13) Greg Meyer; 1998 winner Colleen De Reuck; former CUCB race directors Ed Murray and Jeff Darman; and noted running historian and outstanding age group performer Roger Robinson, whose most recent running bio entry is 2023 World Cross Country Champion for men 80+. They’ll all be sharing 50 Years of Cherry Blossom Memories.
Lisa Bentley will close the speakers program at 4:00 p.m. with a repeat of her Friday session of Running Your Best Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile or 5K – how to use your mind and body to achieve a personal best.
Cherry Blossom, Inc. Historian George Banker will moderate all of the sessions on both days.
Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers and Roger Robinson will be signing books at a booth in the expo hall from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on March 31 and from 3:00-4:00 p.m. on April 1; Kathrine and Roger will also be signing books from noon-1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Alison Mariella Désir will be signing her book from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday evening and again from 1:30-2:45 p.m. on Saturday.The books of those doing book signings will be available for sale at the expo.
Event Director Phil Stewart, who makes it clear that he has not directed the race for the last 50 years (he did place 5th in 1977 in 51:01), said: “Our 50th anniversary speakers truly celebrate our traditions of the last 50 years through athletes and former race directors, and our goal of making the event more inclusive in the years ahead with Alison Mariella Désir.”
The inaugural Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in 1973 was won by Sam Bair in a time of 51:22; the women’s winner was Kathrine Switzer in a time of 1:11:19; 127 men and 12 women ran that first race. Bill Rodgers holds the honor of most victories, with four consecutive wins between 1978 and 1981. Three women have each won the race three times: Julie Shea (1975-77), Lisa Weidenbach (now Lisa Rainsberger) (1985, ‘89 and ‘90) and Lineth Chepkurui (2008-10). Ben Beach leads all Cherry Blossom finishers with an active streak of 49 years. A comprehensive media guide detailing a wide variety of statistics from the first 49 CUCB races is available here.
Thanks to Credit Union Miracle Day’s title sponsorship since 2002, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has raised over $10.2 million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including $323,000 in 2022.