Lorig Charkoudian, a Takoma Park Democrat running for a seat in District 20 of the Maryland House of Delegates, will run 70 miles over the course of Saturday and Sunday in a fundraiser for the state’s re-entry mediation program for soon-to-be-released inmates. The program, now 10 years old, is available at all state prisons and 11 local detention centers.
Charkoudian is the executive director of Community Mediation Maryland, a Takoma Park nonprofit that supports local mediation centers throughout the state and has helped develop the re-entry mediation program in partnership with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The run, known as “Run for Re-Entry,” is in its fifth year and aims to raise $10,000 for the re-entry mediation program, Charkoudian said in an interview.
In addition to the fundraiser aspect, Charkoudian said the goal of the run through the hilly terrain is to help the public understand the many hurdles inmates face when re-entering society such as finding jobs, securing housing, paying child support and staying sober.
“There’s multiple things that happen that make it difficult to transition back into society,” she said.
“This run is designed to be a metaphor for the challenges of re-entry, although to be clear I don’t imagine that my experience comes close to what it’s like to get out of prison and set your life back up.”
Charkoudian will begin the run with a kickoff event in Hagerstown on Saturday at the Maryland Correctional Institute, and will be joined by Robert Green, director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. She’ll then make a stop at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Frederick, where local officials and clergy will host a rally in support of criminal justice reform. The run will conclude at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the Baltimore Community Mediation Center, where she will be joined by Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, state Senator Will Smith (D-Silver Spring/Takoma Park) and other state and local elected officials.
Charkoudian is running without opposition in her race on a slate with Smith and incumbent Dels. David Moon and Jheanelle Wilkins, both Democrats. She said training for a 70-mile run while simultaneously holding a full-time job and running for office has been challenging. But she has prepared over the summer by running at least 24 miles one day and half that distance the next. She ran 28 miles last Saturday and 15 Sunday.
“When you’re doing long distances you do a long run and then a medium run the next day. A lot of it is mental, because you can only train your body so far,” she said.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org