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On Sept. 15, Jesus the Divine Word Catholic Church in Huntingtown held its inaugural Chariots of Faith 10K at the Huntingtown High School track in support of the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Run For Vocations fundraising campaign (in association with the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K). More than 100 parishioners and their families turned out to support with cheers, prayers and taking turns pushing the “charioteers” around the track for 25 laps.

The genesis of this event began with Dick Kruse. In his younger days, Kruse actually ran a marathon. Today, at age 67, he is confined to a wheelchair as he battles ongoing medical issues, a press release states. Last year, in memory of Jim Peck (who had recently died of brain cancer and was also a previous 10K participant) and wanting to show his support for the archdiocese seminarians and the parish’s “Team JDW,” Kruse registered for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K race. Plans were for a number of other team members to take turns pushing him along the 10K route, but they learned wheelchairs were not allowed in that event. Inspired by Kruse’s motivation, the parish originally organized a 10K to be held last fall. However, poor weather forced cancellation and it was ultimately rescheduled for Sept. 15. Along the way, two parish children who are also wheelchair users decided to join in the action, setting the stage for the race to become an annual event.

This year’s charioteers were Kruse, Ben Lash, 11, and Tori Callabrese, 7. Lash was the winner of the event.