Saint John's winners
Members of the Saint John's University, of Minnesota, Army Ten-Miler team hold their trophy on the awards stage in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OCT. 9, 2011) - The road to winning the ROTC division of the Army Ten-Miler started months ago for the St. John's Fighting Saints battalion.

The eight-person team's top four runners finished the race Sunday with a combined time of 4 hours, three minutes and 35 seconds.

But they have been running since August, five days a week.

"We trained hard," said Patrick Heagel, the team's captain. "We put in the time and a lot of early mornings."

Heagel said they ran five days a week, including every Monday when they ran 10 miles and timed themselves.

The team was determined to improve on the prior year's performance, when it placed 12th among ROTC teams.

Lt. Col. Tom Nelson, the professor of military science at Saint John's University in Minnesota, said his cadets were systematic in their approach to winning. He said they researched past ROTC teams' performances in order to determine what time they had to beat, then set about training up to that standard.

"They conducted a military decision making process on what it would take to win out here, and they put in the training," Nelson said shortly after the winners were announced.

Two teams from Virginia Tech took second and third place in the ROTC division, with times of 4:11:41 and 4:17:35.

The annual race, in its 27th year, starts and ends at the Pentagon. The route takes runners through the heart of Washington, past such famous landmarks as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and runs in front of the Capitol.

This year a record field of nearly 31,000 runners competed, including 58 ROTC teams.
While the race is the reason for the teams travelling to Washington, the locale affords opportunities for cadets to experience the history and flavor of the city.

For several cadets, the weekend marked their first trip to Washington. Several groups spent an extra day or two to tour the National Mall and visit the monuments.

Brodt Zachary, a cadet from the University of Central Florida, said the Ten-Miler is unique both for its military ties (the race is sponsored by the Association of the United States Army) and for the scenic route it takes.

"I like running past the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial," Brodt said. "It's inspiring and reminds you of the vision our founding fathers had for this country."

Page last updated Sun October 9th, 2011 at 16:15