Every year the Military District of Washington sponsors the Army Ten-Miler. It is the premier running event of the U.S. Army and the largest 10 mile race in the U.S. The course begins and ends at the Pentagon and the route passes by many of the great monuments in the city. Military units and bases around the world send teams to compete.
By: CDT Kelley
On October 8, 2006, 8 Cadets and 1 cadre member from the Golden Eagle Battalion participated in the 22nd annual Army Ten Miler in Washington DC. The Army Ten Miler is the largest ten mile race in the country with a total of 24,011 registrants this year. Registration closed ten days early this year when the maximum registration was full.
Preparations for the race began in early May when the battalion’s intent to send a team was announced. The last time a team was sent was in 2004. Soon after, the team was registered for the race. The participants were assisted in making custom workouts based on their abilities and race goals. Training was made difficult for some of the Cadets due to summer training interfering with workout routines but every effort was made by each Cadet to follow their individual program as closely as possible. Also each participant was encouraged to do a race prior to the Ten Miler to further prepare them. Cadets participated in races ranging from 5K to full marathons. Also during this time funding was provided by both the Golden Eagle Battalion and Stratford State Bank.
Soon race day came and on October 7th the team departed for Washington DC. After a 0400 rendezvous at George Webb’s to grab a bite to eat the team drove to Chicago O’Hare to catch a direct flight to Washington. Immediately upon arriving at Washington the team attended the race expo to pick up their race packets. It was a very intense atmosphere where all the runners were indulging in the many give-aways and great deals on running gear. Anything from custom made shoes to “HOOAH” energy bars were available.
Next came all the normal tourist attractions. The team went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, The World War II Memorial, and the Washington Monument amongst other attractions. But all that walking worked up a good appetite and an evening meal at a local Italian restaurant was the perfect pre race carbo loading opportunity followed by an early bedtime in preparation for race day.
The race was very exciting because it was what the team had been preparing for since May. There were security checks, MPs, even snipers all providing security for the race so that the race wouldn’t have to be diverted like it was the previous year due to a terrorist threat. The starting area was nothing less than chaotic. There were people everywhere. Many of the team members even recognized people including a recent graduate of the GEB. However, despite the bustle, as soon as the Star Spangled Banner began playing everything stopped. Not a single person moved as a reminder of the real reason that the race was going on. Then the starting gun went off and 24,000 runners started the 10 mile race.
The race itself was more than anyone expected. The Cadets met a variety of people from general staff officers to other Cadets. However, the most inspirational moments were when the entire race cheered on the wounded veterans running with prosthetic legs or and other injuries reminding everybody what it meant to be a member of the United States Army. Everybody was humbled by the site of these soldiers and was proud to be part of an organization that attracts these kinds of heroes. The race made its way past all the monuments and all along the way bands and cheering crowds rooted the runners on.
Though the team didn’t win the race, nobody considered it a wasted experience. It was a reminder of the size of the organization we represent and filled everybody with a sense of pride to be part of it. It's an experience that is definitely worth participating in again even if it’s not with ROTC. Overall it was an amazing experience and definitely one of the highlights of my ROTC career.