WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 23, 2009) - To mark the 25th anniversary of the Army Ten Miler this fall, the field for the race will be increased to 30,000 runners.

Each year the race has incrementally increased the running field and has maintained a safe, competitive run, said Jim Vandak, director of the Army Ten Miler.

"Since the 2008 race sold out in a record 21 days, we looked at the logistics and felt that we could incrementally increase participation in this year's 25th anniversary race," Vandak said.

The race formally started in 1985 when the Association of the United States Army joined with the Military District of Washington and got involved with a race that was started by the Pentagon recreation services and the Army Ten-Miler was born, said Vandak.

"We have more than 750 teams from around the world who come out to compete in the race," said Jim Vandak, director of Army Ten Miler. "A little more than half of those teams are Soldiers teams that compete for the Commander's Cup... in addition to the trophy, they go for the bragging rights too."

Race officials confirmed that they will use a wave start to release runners for this year to ensure a safe, competitive race.

The expanded size of the race has led to other changes as well. The free, two-day expo preceding the race will move to the D.C. Armory, enabling twice the number of exhibitors and longer packet pick-up hours for runners. The pasta dinner will move to a larger ballroom at the Gateway Crystal Marriott, thereby adding an additional 300 seats.

The race will be held Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C., with the pasta dinner Oct. 3.

"It has a rich tradition of military and civilian runners," said Vandak. "It's the spirit of the Army; it's the spirit of the nation."

The Army Ten Miler provides a venue for military and civilians to compete for awards in more than 27 divisions.

The race starts and finishes at the Pentagon. Race weekend activities include fitness clinics, youth runs, a post-race party and HOOAH tents from Army installations around the world.

The race is produced by U.S. Army MDW, with proceeds benefiting Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of Soldiers and their families.

The mission of the Army Ten Miler is to promote the Army, build esprit de corps, support fitness goals, and enhance community relations.

Registration will open April 1 at www.armytenmiler.com. Despite the increased runner field, race official said they expect to sell out by mid-May and encourage runners to sign up early to assure entry.