ACLI Capital Challenge

On the run for financial literacy

About The Event

When: The 2021 race was held on September 29. The 2022 race will return to its usual month (May). Exact date TBA.
What: Annual 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
Cause:  Junior Achievement USA
Twitter: @ACLInews #CapChallenge

About The Cause

The ACLI Capital Challenge benefits 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.

Race organizers for the ACLI Capital Challenge learned that after the race, a race participant tested positive for COVID-19. Those concerned about possible exposure should follow CDC guidance and watch for symptoms and self-quarantine if they feel ill and/or get a COVID test.



U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) discusses financial literacy with Junior Achievement student Olivia Creely of Wheeling, West Virginia.

U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) talks about the 2021 ACLI Capital Challenge.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) discusses the importance of financial literacy with Junior Achievement student Macy Monfils.

ACLI President & CEO Susan K. Neely showcases the 2021 race.

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is interviewed by Junior Achievement student Sophia Moreno about financial literacy issues.

ACLI President & CEO Susan K. Neely asks the key question leading into the 2021 race.


Students from Junior Achievement of Greater Washington went to Capitol Hill to interview members of Congress about the importance of financial literacy and planning for financial security and retirement.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI)

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI)

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI)

Junior Achievement students wrap up day 1 on Capitol Hill.

Junior Achievement students wrap up day 2 on Capitol Hill.

Members of Congress talked race strategy in 2019.

Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ)

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Facts & Trivia

The first Capital Challenge race occurred on Sept. 10, 1981. Ronald Reagan was President, Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House, and the Miss America pageant was the top-rated TV show that week.

  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) finished 35th out of 201 finishers with a time of 18:15. This remains the fastest time ever by a U.S. Senator.
  • Finishing 41st with a time of 18:36 was Juan Williams, then with the Washington Post. Williams has been a Fox News contributor since 1997.
  • Ed Markey finished 175th with a time of 26:13. Then a Representative and now a Senator from Massachusetts, Markey is the only member of Congress from the 1981 race still in office.

ACLI began sponsoring the Capital Challenge in 2004.

  • Of the 11 Senators who ran that year, three remain in the Senate: Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island.
  • Of the 18 Representatives who ran that year, three remain in the House: Tim Ryan of Ohio, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Peter DeFazio of Oregon.
  • Rep. DeFazio’s team, the Rogue Runners, had the overall race winner, Philip Huspeth, and won the Best Spirit award.
  • Tim Walz of Minnesota ran in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 when he served as the Representative from Minnesota’s 1st District.
  • Jay Inslee of Washington ran in 2004 when he served as the Representative from Washington’s 1st District.
  • Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas ran in 2000 when he served as the Representative from Arkansas’ 3rd District.
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough ran in the race in 2014 and 2016 when he served as Chief of Staff to President Obama.
  • His 2016 team, West Wing Runners 1, finished 2nd out of 36 teams in the Executive Branch division.
  • His 2014 team, Camp David’s Counselors 2, finished 29th out of 39 Executive Branch teams.
  • 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.
  • Deena 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.
  • Mike McCurry ran in 1983 for Rep. Dave McCurdy’s team. McCurry was President Clinton’s press secretary from December 1994 to August 1998.
  • Tony Snow ran in 1992 with a team from President George H.W. Bush’s White House staff. Snow was President George W. Bush’s press secretary from May 2006 to September 2007.
  • Sean Spicer ran in 1999 for Rep. Mark Foley’s team. Spicer was President Trump’s press secretary from January 2017 to July 2017.
  • Jake Siewert ran in 2000 with a team from President Clinton’s White House staff. Siewert became President Clinton’s press secretary later that year, serving from September 2000 to January 2001.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ray LaHood ran 11 times between 1995-2008 while serving as the House member representing the 18th District of Illinois. He also ran as a House staff member in 1992 and as the Secretary of Transportation in 2009 (seen below). His best time was 25:47 in 1999.
  • His son, Darin LaHood, the current House member from the 18th District of Illinois, ran in the race in 2016 with a time of 23:35.
  • But the fastest LaHood was Sam LaHood, Ray’s other son and Darin’s younger brother. He ran on his father’s team in 2002-2005 and in 2008, with his best time of 22:50 coming in 2002.
  • 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.
  • 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).


ACLI Capital Challenge: On The Run For Financial Literacy
August 30, 2021 | Susan K. Neely

Earlier this month I watched on TV as some of the best athletes in the world competed in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. An event close to home next month has me just as excited. On September 29 I’ll be in the front row cheering as the nation’s leaders compete in the ACLI Capital Challenge in Washington, D.C.


Junior Achievement and Me
July 29, 2021 | Kimberly Ross

Being the oldest of four children close in age, I learned my selling and negotiating skills early in life. It’s no wonder that I was attracted to the Junior Achievement after school program while attending Roland Park Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland.


Countdown to the ACLI Capital Challenge
March 29, 2021 | Susan K. Neely

Six months from today, America’s leaders will be on the run – for fun and a vital cause – at the ACLI Capital Challenge. Dating back 40 years, the ACLI Capital Challenge road race has become an annual fixture in our nation’s capital. This year’s event is scheduled for...


ACLI Capital Challenge: A Fierce Race With Many Winners, Especially Financial Literacy
February 12, 2020 | Susan K. Neely

In 2019, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) retained their titles as the fastest members of Congress. Sen. Sinema’s team was the fastest Senate squad, while Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) had the fastest House team.


ACLI Supports Junior Achievement, Financial Literacy
January 10, 2020 | Susan K. Neely

Last month President Trump signed a spending bill that included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act will provide a huge boost for America’s retirement savers. Among other benefits, the bill will enable more small businesses...


The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) advocates on behalf of 280 member companies dedicated to providing products and services that promote consumers' financial and retirement security. 90 million American families depend on our members for life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, reinsurance, dental and vision and other supplemental benefits. ACLI represents member companies in state, federal and international forums for public policy that supports the industry marketplace and the families that rely on life insurers' products for peace of mind. ACLI members represent 95 percent of industry assets in the United States.


If you have any questions, please contact us at:
Phone: 202-624-2000
Address: 101 Constitution Ave., NW; Washington, D.C.
Visit us online:


To learn more about retirement security, visit our advocacy hub at

© American Council of Life Insurers. All rights reserved.