For many of the 35,000 who ran the Army Ten-Miler Sunday, it was more than just a race.
It was a chance to work out the tension stemming from the government shutdown. And for some, to prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon or to see old friends.
"I think prior to the government opening back up, a lot of people were concerned about it and worried," says Sgt. 1st Class Melanie Gordon.
"Had it been cancelled, I would have been crushed," says Thomas Lee, a New Jersey resident.
Some worried that, with the Marine Corps Marathon facing cancellation because of the shutdown, that it might happen to the Ten-Miler, too.
"I heard something about the route changing because of the shutdown," says Al Baptiste of Woodbridge.
One of the runners was Iraq War veteran Thomas Lee, who lost part of his right leg from an IED explosion on May 22, 2007.
"It is my longest run as an amputee," Lee says.
At the finish line, in that moment, Lee thought of two friends killed that day.
And in the post-race glow, one had a message for the nation's leaders.
"Just take care of us, like we take care of you," Sgt. Gordon says. "We pay our tax dollars, now take care of us, the way we've elected you to do."