By Tim Hipps, IMCOMOctober 9, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2011) -- Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayehu ran away with the men's division, Tezata Dengera led the women, and runners from the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and All-Army Sports successfully defended the International Cup in the 27th running of the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 9 at the Pentagon.
Alemayehu bolted to the front during the first mile, stretched his lead to 80 meters in the second, and ran uncontested to victory in 47 minutes, 51 seconds on the new course that started and ended on the north side of the Pentagon. Dengera led the women with a time of 56:35.
WCAP runners Spc. Robert Cheseret and Spc. Augustus Maiyo finished second and third with identical times of 48:21 to lead the U.S. Army Team (3:16:05) to victory over the Brazilian Army (3:16:09) and Canadian Elite Team (3:49:21).
WCAP runner 1st Lt. John Mickowski (49:37) of Fort Carson, Colo., Army Reserve 1st Lt. Charles Ware III (49:46) of Wheeling, Ill., and WCAP Capt. Kenny Foster (50:20) of Fort Carson completed the scoring for the U.S. Army Team.
Alemayehu, 27, an Ethiopian who lives in Antioch, Calif., earned $17,500 for finishing second in the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, 21 seconds. Despite no prize money on the line, he was determined to win the 2011 Army Ten-Miler from the start.
"I was just focused to go hard," Alemayehu said of leading the field through the first mile in 4:45. "Even I didn't check the time. I trained hard and I was focused to win this race because last year I was second place, so this year I decided to win.
"I came here to win this race, and I am very glad to run with the wounded warriors. But I was going to win, you know?"
Most of the runners in the lead pack thought Alemayehu's early lead would dissipate, but the Ethiopian never wavered.
"The first mile, he really took off," said Maiyo, 28, a two-time All-America cross-country runner at the University of Alabama with sights set on the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. "I thought he would come back to us. I thought he was going to run the first mile hard and then settle, but he just took off and left us. We were hoping to maybe catch up by three miles, but he was gone. We should have gone with him."
Cheseret, 28, a native of Kenya who is training for the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, seconded that sentiment.
"We thought maybe we could catch him near the end because he was looking back for a while," said Cheseret, who ran his last two miles of the Army Ten-Miler in 4:52 and 4:46. "We started out a little conservative, and he went too far ahead. I guess that's a lesson for next year. We'll try to go with him next year."
Alemayehu passed the five-mile mark in 23:23 with about a 400-meter lead. He never sipped a drop from the Soldier-armed water stops along the route that weaved through Washington's most historic monuments.
"They didn't follow me, so I kept going," said Alemayehu, who cherished the victory. "Winning this race is history. This is a big race. We can run for the prize money, but running with the wounded from the Army is worth more than money. They are sacrificing for the country. We always run only for prize money, but sometimes it's better to run for something better like this."
Mickowski, 25, a native of Mukwonago, Wis., ran his personal-best time Sunday to help defeat the Brazilians in the team race. He, too, realized how the front-runner got away.
"I think I could have gone out a little harder," Mickowski said. "Last year, we all went out really hard, and we paid for it. This year, we went out kind of conservative, and paid for it. Yeah, so, we'll get it right one of these days. It's just a hard distance to gauge because none of us really run it. We run it once a year.
"I'm just glad that I'll be able to get back to running the mile after this."
Foster was content to lower his time for the third consecutive year at the Army Ten-Miler. He will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in November at the Santa Barbara International Half-Marathon and in December at the California International Marathon, where he ran his personal best of 2:23:03.
"I can't thank WCAP enough for this opportunity," said Foster, 25, a graduate of Mercyhurst College from Brookville, Pa. "Today was a great boost into November and December. The Army Ten-Miler is special because there are so many post teams that do it, and it's great international competition, as well.
"This program has allowed me to erase all of my personal bests. It lets you know what you're truly capable of and what your limits and capabilities are."
Few runners know that better than Maj. Dan Browne, a three-time winner and two-time record-holder of the Army Ten-Miler, who finished 44th on Sunday with a time of 54 minutes, 27 seconds.
"I had a little trouble getting out as quick as I wanted," said Browne, 36, a WCAP runner who has been slowed by a right hip injury while training in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. "I need to regroup a little bit and take about a week and a half to rest the mind, rest the body, and try to put together another couple good months of hard training and go and run the marathon trials."
"Obviously, I would like to have had more of a confidence booster going into the trials at this race, but ultimately, I've been there, done it, and I know what it takes. If I can get a little more consistent in my workouts, hopefully I can improve on my performance here," he explained.
"Some days, the wheels don't turn over so good."
Brown was amazed by the support he received during the race, which, for many years, he served as the face.
"It means a lot to me to come back to this event," he said. "Even though I didn't perform as well today as I would have liked, it still is a special place. There is no other race where I have as many friends and family within the Army circle supporting me.
"If it was heavenly possible for me to push harder today, I would have," Brown continued. "But just hearing people yelling my name, it makes me realize how tight this Army family is and how much I want to stay connected with it. Even though it wasn't going the way I wanted, I've never felt that much love during a race."
WCAP Capt. Kelly Calway, 27, of Fort Carson, finished seventh among women in 58:04.
"I felt good, but it just didn't go great, and I wanted it to go great," said Calway, who had visions of winning the race. "Last year, where I was able to find the power to kick it in, it just wasn't there today. I felt like I left it out on the course today and feel good about the way I ran. I just wish that I could have won it."
WCAP Maj. Emily Potter of Fort Bragg, N.C., finished eighth in 58:23.
"If anything, I'm consistent," said Potter, 32, a native of Charlottesville, Va., who improved her time for the fifth consecutive year at the Army Ten-Miler but finished lower this year because of tougher competition. "It's frustrating because I've never had that breakthrough race here."
Potter ran at least 100 miles per week in Colorado throughout the summer to prepare for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, set for Jan. 14 in Houston.
"I feel like the pace I ran today, I could've kept it up," she said. "The 10 miles felt like nothing. I don't have the speed, but I have the endurance."