WASHINGTON D.C. (Oct. 16, 2023) – It is the U.S. Army’s premier running event – and the views can’t be beat.
Members of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center laced up their running shoes Oct. 8 for the 39th annual Army Ten-Miler race in Washington D.C., joining more than 26,000 runners from 23 countries. Their hard work and training paid off, with three of the four teams placing in the team competition categories.
“The Army Ten-Miler is an opportunity to build camaraderie and esprit de corps within all AvMC personnel -- whether civilian, military, or contractor -- by competing in an Army-focused event that also happened to be fun,” said AvMC Ten-Miler Coach Nathan Buchheit.
Established in 1985, the race serves as both a fitness initiative and an Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation benefit. Participants range from military members to civilians, wheelchair athletes to wounded warrior athletes. The route begins at the Pentagon and weaves through the National Mall.
“I wanted it to be something that would reach across the organization,” Buchheit said. “I was completely surprised that instead of just a single team, enough people signed up to have four AvMC teams, with participants from each of our directorates. Equally impressive was that we had both serious runners and others described more as recreational runners.”
What made it extra special for the Center team was that the 21 runners came from three different AvMC locations – Moffett Field, California; Huntsville, Alabama; and Fort Eustis, Virginia; giving runners the opportunity to meet co-workers normally seen only on a computer screen. For some runners, it was even a family affair.
“This was my ninth Army Ten-Miler and running it with my kids definitely made it the best one yet,” said Col. Justin Highley. “I have great memories of them as kids meeting me at the finish line but today was way more memorable. The race was also meaningful for them as they are now affiliated with the Army beyond being Army brats. My son is an Army civilian, working as an electrical engineer and my daughter is enrolled in ROTC. Finally, and most importantly, I firmly established that dad is still a force to be reckoned with by soundly beating them both.”
Participating from the Center were Janet Baeder, Nathan Buchheit, Damian Carr, Wendy Carriger, Andrew Hardwick, Haley Hardwick, Alex Highley, Col. Justin Highley, Christopher Maurer, Chelsey Moore, Patrick Hammond, Haley Patterson, Stephanie Reitmeier, Gonzalo Rubio, David Saalwaechter, Erin Saalwaechter, Gerardo Tamez, Victor Terres, Philip Traylor, Gregory Wildman, Adam Williams and Oliver Wong. Teammate Stephen Shorey was unable to travel, however, he still completed the mission, running 10 miles at home, with his family cheering him on.
For AvMC runner Haley Hardwick, the race was an opportunity to combine her personal and professional passions.
“I wanted to participate in the Ten-Miler because I've had a love of running for over ten years now, and love participating in running events that have a greater meaning behind them,” Hardwick said. “The race was fantastic. From the atmosphere to the camaraderie of working with the AvMC team, I really enjoyed the whole experience. I couldn't think of a better meaning than supporting the Warfighter.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.