Fort Drum Soldiers run in 26th Army Ten-Miler
Some 30,000 runners begin the 26th annual Army Ten-Miler on Sunday morning in Washington, D.C. The race is America's largest and the world's third-largest 10-mile race.

WASHINGTON - Citizens were awakened Sunday by the thunder of Soldiers running through the nation's capital.

This year, 30,000 people registered to compete during the 26th running of America's largest and the world's third-largest 10-mile race. Participants came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and numerous foreign countries, including Israel, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

"The runners from start to finish were highly motivated," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Maskalis, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and a Fort Drum Ten-Miler team captain. "They were motivated; they were excited about being here and proud to be representing the 10th Mountain Division.

"The camaraderie was great," he added. "You couldn't ask for a better team to come down and give their all. I am proud of each and every one of these Soldiers."

Along with Maskalis, other team captains were Capt. Alvin Cavalier and 1st Lt. Caitlin Hall, both of 3rd BSTB.

To kick off the day, the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team put on an aerial demonstration for the crowd gathered at the Pentagon.

Runners stretched and warmed up for the race through the nation's capital, while Secretary of the Army John McHugh motivated participants. At 8 a.m., Gen. George W. Casey Jr., U.S. Army chief of staff, gave the signal, cannons fired and the race began.

Among those participating in the race were several participants from Walter Reed and Brooke Army medical centers.

The 10-mile challenge took runners along a scenic route of Washington and near the Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building, White House and Washington Monument.

"I am really excited that I finally got a chance to run this year's race; what an exciting event to be a part of," said Capt. Lindsey Rowland, incoming commander of G Company, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment. "It was everything I thought it would be. Sometimes it was painful, but it was ultimately worth doing.

"It was really exciting to see Fort Drum support the team," she added. "We have awesome uniforms; we have had some amazing support; and it really has been great to have that support from the beginning."

This year, 63 percent of participants were active duty, reserve, National Guard, retired, veterans, military Family Members or Department of Defense civilians.

More than 1,200 volunteers assisted before, during and after the race. They helped set up, manned water points, helped runners maintain their course, cheered on participants and cleaned up afterwards.

"This was a great experience," said 2nd Lt. Bethany Dumas, HHC, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, who was competing in her first Army Ten-Miler. "I would absolutely recommend this for Soldiers who may be thinking about competing. It is an opportunity to participate in something that, first, is a great experience, and second, a chance to see and appreciate the nation's capital.

"One of the great things for me was seeing the wounded warriors who were competing and also the runners who were wearing shirts of fallen warriors who could not be here," she added. "For me, that was very motivating and something I will never forget."

Locations in overseas theaters are hosting Shadow Runs with more than 4,000 participants. The Army Ten-Miler is supporting races at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan; Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan; Forward Operating Base Union III, Iraq; and Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

During this year's race, Alene Reta, 28, from New York City, won the men's competition in 47 minutes, 9 seconds. Azizu Abate, 25, from Ellicott City, Md., won the women's competition with a time of 55:54.

Fort Drum's teams finished as follows in their respective categories: mixed masters, third; mixed team, sixth; women's team, 18th; and men's team, 26th place.

"Today was a great day," said Fort Drum Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. John F. McNeirney. "This is a great opportunity for Soldiers to come out and build some great esprit de corps, demonstrate the principles of fitness and showcase our Army as we were running in downtown Washington, D.C.

"It was a great chance to run around all the sites and to just be a part of our nation's capital," McNeirney added about his fourth Ten-Miler. "It gets better every time you do this. As the novelty wears off, you get to enjoy being a part of it more and enjoy the run as opposed to being overwhelmed by it all. It becomes more enjoyable every time you are here."

After the race, competitors and old friends were able to visit Fort Drum's "Hooah Tent" to rehydrate and enjoy something to eat after running. The tent was hosted by the Northern New York-Fort Drum chapter of the Association of the United States Army.

"Our 'Hooah Tent' is phenomenal," McNeirney said about Fort Drum's entry. "I think the Soldiers who volunteered to come down and help set it up deserve to be applauded. Our Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and AUSA and sponsors have really done a first-rate job. The Fort Drum community can truly be proud."

Also at the tent, Fort Drum community members and leaders talked about the chance to represent the 10th Mountain Division (LI) to the nation during the day's events.

"I am extremely proud of our team's performance and their camaraderie," said Brig. Gen. Harry E. Miller Jr., 10th Mountain Division (LI) rear commander. "We have a bunch of great young men and women, and they have represented the 10th Mountain Division very well.

"Our folks have done a great job," he added about Fort Drum's "Hooah Tent." "This is awesome when you stack it up against some of the other tents. Our folks did a great job. I am very proud of everyone who was involved, and I am honored to be here with them to represent the 10th Mountain Division."

For full results of the Army Ten-Miler, visit www.armytenmiler.com.

Page last updated Thu October 28th, 2010 at 15:41