The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Tom Cotton finishes ACLI race as new Fastest Man in Congress

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Fastest Man in Congress.

At the ACLI Capital Challenge in Anacostia Park this morning, freshman Rep. Tom Cotton finished the three-miler in 17 minutes, 55 seconds — placing first among the 27 lawmakers who joined the annual race. His office team — the “Cotton Tail Rabbits,” made up of staffers drawn from the House Foreign Affairs committee — also took the prize for fastest House team.

The Arkansas Republican may have been helped by the fact that a perennial contender for the title, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) — the Fastest Senator in five of the last six races — was sidelined by a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. Then again, Thune, 52, an honorary co-chair of the event who turned out to hold the finish-line tape, generally runs it closer to 19 minutes. A lanky 6-foot-5, the 36-year-old Cotton has run 11 marathons, his spokeswoman told us, even though he only took up running eight years ago, when he joined the Army eight years ago.

This year’s fastest senator? Rob Portman of Ohio, who finished in 24:47, with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) just two minutes behind him. As for fastest female member of Congress, another impressive freshman, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, finished in 25:13.

The race — hosted by a coalition of life insurance companies as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project — pits Capitol Hill types against agency staffers, journalists and judicial branch officials. This year’s race, which drew 665 runners, was the first in 32 years not to include former Sen. Richard Lugar, a loyal runner who lost his reelection bid but enjoyed one final victory lap last year.

More Reliable Source: Angelina Jolie; Kal Penn; Morena Baccarin; Pat Leahy; Jeanine McDonnell