Mayor Muriel Bowser leads the crowd at the 9th annual Fresh Start 5K. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
Mayor Muriel Bowser leads the crowd at the 9th annual Fresh Start 5K. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)

Mayor Muriel Bowser brought in the new year with a kick of adrenaline, as District residents joined the Mayor’s office for the ninth annual FitDC Fresh Start 5K throughout the downtown District.

All smiles as Mayor Muriel Bowser crosses the finish line at the 9th annual Fresh Start 5K (Ja’Mon Jackson/ The Washington Informer)

Residents from various parts of the city convened at Freedom Plaza, showing a diverse crowd of participants running the designated five-mile stretch.  The Mayor hosts the event every year, this time in conjunction with AETNA as the presenting partner, to encourage exercise and wellness goals for better health outcomes in the region.

“Each new year is an opportunity to recommit to a successful and healthy future,” said Mayor Bowser. “We started the Fresh Start 5K in 2015, and now it is a tradition we look forward to each year – joining thousands of neighbors in getting a strong start to the New Year with a brisk run or walk in our beautiful city.”

The annual race comprised a host of runners ranging from beginner levels to a slew of seasoned fitness fanatics. Returning runner Katedra Nixon, 49, has participated in the annual race every year since its first run in 2015.  An avid runner, she is currently knocking down her goal of completing a half marathon in all 50 states by her 50th birthday.  This year, Mayor Bowser’s FitDC run serves as a run training for her last marathon stop in the state of Florida.

“It’s the top of the year, so [I’m] staying focused. It allows you to set your intention for the year and go out strong,” Nixon said.

While many participants have joined the race almost every year since its inception, other residents joined the event as a first step in honoring health and exercise goals for the year ahead.  Representing a diverse age range, older residents also began their new year with a concerted effort to own their health.

“I just [needed] a fresh start. I had never done it before, this is my first year. I got up, got my clothes on, and came on down,”  said Pamela Johnson, Ward 1 resident. “I think things have gotten a little more serious than just a plain, old ‘happy new year.’ It’s more like a ‘happier’ new year [for me].”

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