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Morning is breaking in downtown DC. And here I am — just about holding it together — panting along the path that runs by the Tidal Basin shimmering in the early morning light in esteemed company: the stone effigies of Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Franklin D Roosevelt and …MC Hammer?

But yes, I hear the unmistakable poetry of U Can’t Touch This as spectators fling confetti, cowbells chime, drums pound and pink petals fall like snow on the heads of the 16,000 people taking part in the iconic Cherry Blossom 1–miler in Washington, known in the US as the “runner’s rite of spring” as the 3,000 cherry trees gifted by Japan in 1912 reach peak blossom.

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