More than 1800 runners crossed the start line of Fort Bragg's 13th Annual Army Birthday 10-Mile race Thursday. The race, which was held as part of the Army's 234th Birthday celebration, takes place each year during the second week of June.
Participation for this year's event was double that of 2007, when race officials reported more than 900 runners, walkers and hand-cranked wheelchair participants.
U.S. Military Academy at West Point cadet Alexis Santiago took first overall in the race, crossing the finish line with a time of 55:41. In the women's division, Nicole Smith of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment took first place with a time of 1:11:42.
The team of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment took first overall with a combined time of 1:08:23.
Other finishers included: Jonathan Yerby, USASOC, who finished second overall with a time of 1:00:21; and Brendan Fox, also of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but who is assigned to the 2nd Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Fox finished in third place with a time of 1:00:59.
For the women, Fayetteville native Christina Patton finished second overall with a time of 1:11:56, followed by Cameron's Tammy Burch, who crossed the line at 1:14:35.
The second and third place teams included the 618th Engineer Support Co., which posted a time of 1:10:00 and Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Bn., 319th Field Artillery Regt., which finished with a time of 1:11:30.
Following the race, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III congratulated the winners and thanked the audience for its support.
"First of all, let me thank the MWR team for putting together such a wonderful, wonderful event," he said. "Last year, I'm told, we had about 900 runners and this year we had 1,846 or so. That's more than twice the number of runners from last year and that just goes to show you that we have some great folks that live and work on this installation and it's because of your support that we are the Community of Excellence that we are."
He said the effort put forth to sponsor the event was significant, considering that post has units in the midst of deployments and redeployments, along other projects taking place on post.
"Yet, we can get 1,800 runners out on a morning like this morning, is just amazing," he said. "That says a lot about you and it says a lot about the MWR."
Austin also said he was impressed with the finishing times that were recorded by the individual and team winners.
"The times that I've seen, for the top finishers are phenomenal," he said. "I didn't think it was humanly possible to run that fast, at least I didn't think so until this morning. But I want to congratulate all of the winners for doing such a tremendous job. That is really, really impressive.
"Let me also say that if you are here this morning, you're a winner," Austin continued. "You are either participating or supporting your participant in some shape, form or fashion and thanks for being who you are. I really appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support."
The event serves as a prelude to the Army Ten-Miler, which takes place annually in Washington, D.C. The Fort Bragg Ten-Miler team, which was chosen from a select field of participants in last year's Fort Bragg event, went on to win the Army Ten-Miler's Commander's cup in the Women's category.