SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- For 10 miles, six members of the inaugural 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment Army 10 Miler Team competed with more than 25,000 other military and civilian runners in the 32nd Annual Army 10 Miler race Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Team members traveled from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, to Washington D.C., for a blustery and chilly start at the Pentagon. The race commenced in various "waves," or ability groups and the course took the runners past some of the most historical and inspirational sights in the nation's capital to include the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the National Mall, and the Lincoln Memorial.
"The team did a tremendous job, impressively represented the unit, and above all, had fun," said Lt. Col. Christopher Aleshire, team captain.
For novice runners, a distance of 10 miles may appear intimidating; however, the environment and atmosphere of the event provides motivation for participants of all experience levels. At water points along the route, family members, friends, supporters and volunteers cheered the runners on, while bands played and radios resounded with the latest from the pop charts or popular rock hits.
"Despite the pomp and fanfare along the route, even more inspiring was witnessing the completion of the race by our nation's wounded warriors," said Aleshire. "Their courage, athletic prowess, and drive to compete eclipsed any physical limitations, which did little to hinder their endurance and strength of character."
At the conclusion of the race, members of the 4th BCD team rendezvoused at the finish line located in the Pentagon's parking lot and toured the spectator or "Hooah" zone, where U.S. Army units erect race day tents. Most tents contained unit historical memorabilia, gifts such as bags, cups, and pens with the unit's crest or symbol emblazoned on them and, most important to a runner who just completed 10 miles, free barbecue, finger foods, and desserts.
For the 4th BCD team, the weekend in Washington, D.C. had an obvious focus on the 10 miles that each runner would face; however, the team used the opportunity to spend time in the nation's capital to conduct an informal leadership professional development session. Using the sights as a stimulus, team members discussed some of the major historical events that formed and shaped the United States. Indeed, the tributes to the sacrifices by our fellow Service members such as the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Monument, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, prompted team members to reflect on their service and served a reminder of the core values of the U.S. Army and the other branches of military service.
"The team did not finish the race together, but the cohesiveness and bonds developed among six individuals formed a group characterized by camaraderie, friendship, and team spirit," said Aleshire.