How the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Works

Working with the Washington, D.C., legal community, the Lawyers Have Heart 10K is just one way the American Heart Association is working to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Working with the Washington, D.C., legal community, the Lawyers Have Heart 10K is just one way the American Heart Association is working to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.

For two decades the legal community in Washington, D.C., and the American Heart Association have teamed up to raise awareness of stroke and heart disease through the Lawyers Have Heart 10K. This road race, which is open to runners and walkers at all levels, has become a favorite among the D.C.-area running community and one of the largest events in the area. In 2010 it attracted more than 6,500 participants to the course that runs along the Potomac River through historic Georgetown [source: Hoveyda].

Washington lawyers and running enthusiasts Richard Frank and Alan Raul founded the race in 1991, and in that time it has helped raise more than $5 million for the American Heart Association [source: LHH]. The event has become popular partly due to the festive postrace atmosphere highlighted by the Finish Line Festival, a celebration that includes food, drinks, live music, prizes and an awards ceremony.


But runners don't just show up on race day and line up at the starting line. Fundraising plays a big part of participation and just as awards are given to the fastest runners in each class, there are also incentives for raising the most money. The Law School Challenge taps into the competitive spirit by pitting area law schools against one another to see which institution can score the most points through raising money, registering participants and volunteering. The winning school receives a plaque, along with a prize package that may include lunch with a local legal hotshot or vacation packages.

And of course the Lawyers Have Heart 10K isn't just for lawyers. The event is open to anyone interested and draws athletes ranging from elite pros to couch potatoes. Many of them do come from the legal community in and around the Washington area, including public and private firms, law students and administrators.

In the next section we'll discuss the Lawyers Have Heart 10K route and why it's become a must for area runners to work into their race schedule.


Lawyers Have Heart 10K Route

The 6.2-mile run is an out-and-back course that runs along the Potomac River along M Street, in the heart of Georgetown. The route takes runners right by Georgetown University, to the Georgetown Reservoir, then back to the finish/start line at K Street. This is a USATF-certified event, which means it has been verified for accuracy by USA Track & Field, the National Governing Body for long-distance running and race walking in the United States. Events must be certified in order to have any of the performances eligible for records or to be nationally ranked.

According to the race website, the route is very scenic and relatively flat, both features that contribute to its popularity. It has become a target event for running enthusiasts who want to take advantage of the even terrain to try and beat their personal-best 10K times.


There is also a Fun Walk for participants who don't feel like covering the entire race distance. The walk begins at K Street and takes Rock Creek Parkway to the Lincoln Memorial and back.

Starting with the 2010 event, the race implemented start waves. Runners who expect to finish in less than 50 minutes, or about eight minutes per mile, make up wave No. 1. Runners who expect to take longer than 50 minutes to finish start in wave No. 2, and the walkers start in wave No. 3. Having participants start in waves accomplishes two objectives: First, reducing the congestion on the course creates makes for a safer event. Second, a staggered start makes the race much more enjoyable for the runners and walkers by allowing them to run with similarly paced athletes. Faster runners can concentrate on their performance rather than weaving around slower people, and slower runners don't have to worry about getting crowded by speedsters trying to pass.


Lawyers Have Heart 10K Results

Prizes are awarded for the top five male and female finishers overall, the top five masters male and female finishers, the top wheelchair finisher and the top three male and female finishers in the following age groups: 19-and-under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80-and-over.

There are also prizes awarded for the top three finishers in the lawyer, legal assistant, legal secretary, law librarian, administrator, summer associate and law student categories. Participants can also register in teams, and awards are given based on the sum net times of each teammate. The team categories are small law firms (under 50 attorneys), large law firms (50 or more attorneys), government and corporate.


And athletic performance isn't the only competition going on during the race. We already mentioned the Law School Challenge, but anyone can participate in the fundraising efforts by recruiting family, friends or colleagues to donate to the American Heart Association, the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization and the leading source of nongovernmental funding for cardiovascular research. Top fundraisers are also recognized, regardless of their race times.

The race is a chip-timed event, meaning each runner attaches a tag to their person -- usually on the shoelace -- that marks the exact time a runner crosses the start and finish lines, ensuring an accurate and certifiable time.

For people who want to be a part of the event but aren't interested in running or walking, there are lots of volunteer opportunities available. Race organizers are always looking for enthusiastic people to fill a variety of positions, ranging from manning water stops along the route, registering runners before the race, directing runners along the course, and organizing and setting up the post-race festivities.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, and this event not only raises awareness for the prevention of heart disease, but also gives people the opportunity to participate in a fun, heart-healthy activity.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • "The American Heart Association Lawyers Have Heart 10K and Fun Walk." (Aug. 9, 2010).
  • American Heart Association. "Lawyers Have Heart."
  • Hage, Jim. "Lawyers Have Heart Celebrates 20th Year." The Washington Running Report. (June 12, 2010).
  • Hoveyda, Roxana. "20th Lawyers Have Heart 10K." The Washington Running Report. (June 8, 2010).
  • Lawyers Have Heart. "Welcome to Lawyers Have Heart 10K." (Aug. 8, 2010)
  • Zama, Nche. "How to Make Heart Health Your Best Habit." Pocono Record. (Aug. 12, 2010).