Last October, when Sixth & I put out a call for submissions to its “Next Great Idea for the New Year” contest, Wendy Rubin could come up with only one thing: running. The Arlington resident was training for the Marine Corps Marathon — her first — and had become completely consumed by logging miles. The focus paid off when she not only finished the race but won the contest.
The result is this Sunday’s Exodus 5K Walk/Run, a race of biblical proportions in Rock Creek Park. “I originally thought of an 18K, because 18 is a lucky number for Jews. But it was too long,” Rubin says.
A Passover theme, however, stuck. Before the holiday, it’s traditional for Jews to get rid of all the chametz (leavened food) in their kitchens, so it’s prime time for carbo-loading. Whatever participants don’t manage to down, they can donate to Miriam’s Kitchen, the event’s charity beneficiary. Re-enacting the Jewish escape from slavery in Egypt also provides an opening at the race to discuss modern-day slavery, as well as other social justice issues.
It’s quite a departure from last year’s winning idea, which was the Sixth & Rye kosher food truck. But it serves a similar purpose of getting the community together outside of the synagogue for some secular bonding. To encourage participation, the event is open to walkers and parents with strollers — and people of all religions. And although there will be a clock to help runners see how they did, no one will get an individual time.
That’s not to say there won’t be any competition, notes Sixth & I communications associate Allison Goldstein. The first- and second place men and women will take home prizes, as will the person in the best costume. With ten plagues to choose from, as well as several well-known figures, there are many options out there. “A friend suggested I should dress like Moses and lead the runners,” says Rubin, who claims she will not be wearing flowing robes this weekend.
In addition to a T-shirt and post-race snacks, all runners will be entered into raffles for various goodies, including tickets for concerts at the 9:30 Club, books from Politics and Prose and admission to events at Sixth & I. If that sounds like a good idea to you, just make sure you register by Friday at noon. There will be no walk-up sales on Sunday.
Registration for the walk/run is $25. Sign up at Sixthandi.org by Friday at noon. Check-in starts an hour before the 8 a.m. run at picnic grove #24.