ACLI Capital Challenge

About the Event

What: This three-mile road race attracts participants from Congress, high-ranking Administration officials, federal judges, active members of the military, television correspondents, print and web reporters and other VIPs.
Where: Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia Park
When: September 29, 2021
CauseJunior Achievement USA
Twitter: @ACLInews #CapChallenge

Washington D.C. TV station WUSA9’s coverage of the 2019 ACLI Capital Challenge

Congrats to Sen. Sinema and Rep. Gallagher—fastest members of Congress in 2019!

  • In 2019, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona broke the ACLI Capital Challenge record for Senate female members with a time of 20:45.
  • In 2018, Sinema set the record for House female members with a time of 22:05.
  • Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin (18:37 in 2019) has been the fastest male member of Congress the last three years.

Long-time ACLI Capital Challenge participant, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), discusses the 2019 race.

Did you know Senator Capito is the two-time defending Senate female champion?

Senator Shelley Moore Capito talks strategy for the 2019 ACLI Capital Challenge

  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has participated every year since 2005, except in 2011.
  • In 2005 and 2006, she was the fastest female House member.
  • Capito’s time in 2015 (26:52) was faster than her time in 2005 (27:12).

Did you know that three-time Olympian Deena Kastor was the celebrity runner for the 2019 race?

  • Kastor was the official race starter at the 2019 race.

  • She won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics and set the American marathon record in 2006.

  • In March 2019, she broke the American masters record for the fastest 8K by a woman 45-to-49-years-old.

Did you know Senator Sinema wants to set another record in 2019?

Senator Kyrsten Sinema is ready for the 2019 ACLI Capital Challenge

  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona set the record for House female members in 2018 with a time of 22:05.
  • The Senate female record is 24:52, set by former Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire in 2012.
  • While Sinema was a member of the House, she was the fastest female House member in every race except in 2017, when she was injured and walked the race in a protective boot.

Did you know famous athletes ran with us?

  • Three-time Olympian and former mile world-record holder Jim Ryun ran several times when he served as a Kansas congressman. His House office team was the fastest in the House of Representatives six times between 1999-2005.
  • NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent ran several times when he served as an Oklahoma congressman. His House office team finished 3rd in 1999, trailing only the teams of Ryun and former Tennessee Representative Bart Gordon.
  • Former Olympian and NBA player Tom McMillen ran in 1993-1995 when he served as co-chair of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Did you know famous media personalities ran with us?

  • NBC’s Andrea Mitchell ran in 1995, 1996 and 1998.
  • Bret Baier of Fox News ran in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007. Shannon Bream of Fox News ran in 2008 and 2013.
  • Many CBS News journalists have run including Major Garrett (most recently in 2014), John Dickerson (2016) and Margaret Brennan (2013, 2016 and 2019).
  • CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell ran in 1998 when she was with Roll Call and in 1999 and 2000 when she was with NBC.

Did you know Supreme Court Justices ran with us?

  • Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts ran in 1984 and 1985 when he worked in the White House Counsel’s office during the Reagan administration. He also ran in 1990 and 1991 while working in the office of the U.S. Solicitor General, Kenneth Starr.
  • Anthony Kennedy ran in 1990 when he was a Supreme Court justice.
  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh has participated every year since 2010, first while he served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and now as a Supreme Court justice. He was the fastest federal judge five times (2010-13 and 2015). His Supreme Court team was the fastest judiciary team in 2019.

Did you know 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ran with us?

  • Beto O’Rourke ran in 2016, when he was a member of Congress from Texas. O’Rourke was the fastest male runner from the House of Representatives.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell of California ran in 2015. He was the fastest male runner from the House of Representatives.
  • Jay Inslee ran in 2004, when he was a member of Congress from Washington.
  • Also in 2004, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio participated. He beat Inslee by 2:04, but Inslee’s team finished 4th out of 17 House teams, while Ryan’s team finished 7th.

Did you know Al Gore ran with us?

  • Al Gore participated in the Capital Challenge 10 times between 1985-1998 - six times as a Senate member and four times as vice president.
  • In his final Capital Challenge appearance in 1998, his five-person team from the office of the vice president finished 16th out of 30 teams from the executive branch.
  • Gore’s time in 1998 for the three-mile course was 27:04. Among the 170 people he beat were Andrea Mitchell (NBC News) and Norah O’Donnell (now anchor of the CBS Evening News, then with Roll Call).

Did you know Mike Pence ran with us?

  • Vice President Mike Pence participated in the ACLI Capital Challenge three times (2007, 2009-10) while he served as an Indiana congressman.
  • Several members of Vice President Pence’s family also competed in the race including his wife Karen (2007 and 2010), son Michael (2007), and daughter Charlotte (2007).
  • Vice President Pence visited ACLI in June 2018 to address ACLI members during their fly-in to Washington D.C. 

COVID-19 Update

February 26, 2021 update: The new date for the 2021 ACLI Capital Challenge is Wednesday, September 29. We will continue to closely monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and local public health officials regarding COVID-19 as we approach the race date.

ABOUT The Cause

This year, the ACLI Capital Challenge will benefit Junior Achievement USA. ACLI believes strongly in Junior Achievement's purpose to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Through our support of Junior Achievement, we will teach the next generation of American workers the importance of planning early for retirement.

Above, students from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington talk about their 2019 visit to Capitol Hill.

Above, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) share important things they have learned in Washington D.C. about financial security and retirement with students from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington in 2019.

Above, watch Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) advise students from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington about planning for financial security.

Above, watch Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) discuss the importance of financial literacy with students from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington.

ACLI Capital Challenge remembers former Sen. Richard Lugar, who died April 28, 2019


  • Sen. Lugar ran in the inaugural Capital Challenge race in 1981 and competed in every subsequent Capital Challenge through 2012. No member of Congress has run in more Capital Challenge races than Sen. Lugar (31).

  • Sen. Lugar’s team won the Senate competition several times, most recently in 2009.

  • The award given to the winning team across all divisions at the ACLI Capital Challenge is called the Richard G. Lugar Fastest Overall Team Award.