Thune runs to the front

Members of the Mount Runmore team that competed in the ACLI Capital Challenge in Washington, D.C., Wednesday were, from left, Becky Engelstad, Erin Klein, Jon Abdnor, AshLee Strong, Dakota Bixler, Sen. John Thune, Dave Schwietert and Jim Long. (Submitted photo)

Sen. John Thune was once again the fastest member of Congress in the ACLI Capital Challenge, a three-mile footrace at Hains Point, which is in East Potomac Park in southwest Washington. The race was held Wednesday.

Thune finished in a time of 18 minutes and 54 seconds, 25 seconds faster than he ran the race in 2010. He finished first among members of Congress in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Thune sat out the 2008 race because he had recently had knee surgery.

He said former Sen. John Sunnu, of New Hampshire, put his success into perspective a few years ago.

Being the fastest member of Congress, “that’s like being the best surfer in Kansas,” Sunnu told him, Thune recalled with a laugh during a phone interview with The Daily Republic.

See more on Thune’s run to the front in Tuesday’s Daily Republic.

While he was on the phone with us, Thune offered a few comments on the evolving story on the American raid that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Thune said while details change, it was a great moment for America.

“It was still a remarkable operation,” he said. “It got the results we wanted: We took bin Laden out.”

Thune said he’s not surprised the initial story, which said that bin Laden was armed, there was an extensive firefight and that his wife was killed when she was used as a human shield, turned out to be filled with errors and was later corrected.

“There’s always going to be a certain amount of that,” he said. “Sometimes you get out a little bit ahead of the story, need to let the facts catch up.”

Thune said he feels the success of the mission will impact American policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as interrogation strategies and detention policies for years down the road.