ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground community members turned out en masse to participate in the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 9 in Washington D.C.

Approximately 30,000 military and civilian runners competed in America's largest ten-miler event. The start and finish lines of this year's event were held in the northern and southern parking lots of the Pentagon.

Col. Orlando Ortiz, APG Garrison and deputy installation commander, and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades took part in the race alongside other troops and senior leaders stationed at APG.

As part of the festivities, Army garrisons and organizations hosted a Hooah Tents where they displayed memorabilia and photographs to show off their teams' history and esprit de corps. Members of APG's Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation joined participants and Family members to show their support.

APG Soldiers and civilians gathered after the race at the installation's tent to congratulate one another and talk about their experiences at the Army Ten-Miler.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 William Sharpe said he participated in a ten-miler run while deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Sharpe said he had not run as much as he would have liked over the last six months and wanted to make up for it by running in the event.

"My goal was to get a good, long run because I haven't been running as much," Sharpe said. "I feel great. I want to go do another one right now."

Army Sgt. Makineti Castro is stationed at APG and has served in the military for the last five years. This was her first time participating in the event and she said it was no simple feat.

"It was more than I expected," Castro said. "The run was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I thought we were going to run on a flat surface, so I wasn't prepared for all the hills."

She said she plans to participate in next year's ten miler because she enjoyed the camaraderie and has a goal she would like to meet. "I felt so relieved when I finished," Castro said. "It was really great to see all of the other soldiers running alongside me. I want to do it again next year, and hopefully, place in the top 50 or even top 100."

Although most of the runners from APG participated in the event for the first time, some were seasoned veterans.

Army Maj. Lee Lefkowitz has been running in the event for the last five years.

"This is my fifth Army Ten-Miler," Lefkowitz said. "I [recently] trained to do the 100-Miler Civil War Century, which is a 100-mile bike ride out in Thurmont that visits Antietam, Gettysburg and South Mountain battlefields. [So] I only had about a month to train up for the ten miler. Although
I had a slow start, I'm happy to be here."

Lefkowitz has served in the Army for the last 12 years and said he enjoyed seeing other people from the APG community participate in the event.

"It's really great to see friends and colleagues from around the Army and APG."

Byron Reasin, APG FMWR Athletic Center facility lead, attended the event to support Team APG.

"It was an invigorating experience to meet people from across the APG community," Reasin said. "It was great that we had the support of the garrison and support organizations. They provided the banner stands that explained what the Army does at APG.

"Everyone working together definitely made a difference. Hopefully, the relationships that we built today are going to be lasting ones."