By Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public AffairsOctober 17, 2012
SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 18, 2012) -- "The Kenyan Connection" of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program is set to defend the International Cup in the 28th running of the Army Ten-Miler, Sunday, at the Pentagon.
Spc. Augustus Maiyo, Spc. Joseph Chirlee and Spc. Robert Cheseret, along with World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, teammate Spc. Kyle Heath, are expected to lead U.S. Army runners against members of the Brazilian Army, which held a two-year stranglehold on the Army Ten-Miler's international military team title in 2008-2009.
Cheseret and Maiyo finished second and third in the 2011 Army Ten-Miler with identical times of 48 minutes, 21 seconds to lead the U.S. Army Team to victory over the Brazilian Army and Canadian Elite teams.
They began gearing up for this year's race by teaming with Chirlee to take three of the top five spots at the USA 20K National Championships in New Haven, Conn., on Sept. 3. On that day, Maiyo (59:39), Chirlee (59:54) and Cheseret (1:00:00) -- all naturalized U.S. citizens from Kenya -- finished third, fourth and fifth behind 2012 Olympian Matthew Tegenkamp, who won the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race in 58 minutes, 30 seconds.
Other candidates to fill out the U.S. Army contingent include Capt. Kenneth Foster of Fort Huachuca, Colo., 1st Lt. Charles Ware of Fort Huachuca, Cpl. Edwin Sang of Fort Carson and 1st Lt. Gregory Leak of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Former WCAP athlete Capt. Kelly Calway and 2nd Lt. Chelsea Prahl, a 2012 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., are expected to be among the front-running Army women.
Lt. Col. Liam Collins, 41, of West Point, N.Y., is expected to complete his 17th Army Ten-Miler. He finished second among masters and 32nd overall last year in 54:13. He also serves as coach of the All-Army runners.
The U.S. Army team won the Army Ten-Miler crown in 2010 and repeated in 2011. The Soldiers intend to keep the trophy at the Pentagon, where the race will begin at 8 a.m., Sunday. The parking lot will be filled with runners mingling with family and friends until the last runner or chair crosses the finish line.
Both the men's and women's reigning overall champions are expected to defend their titles: Ethiopian Tesfaye Sendeku Alemyehu, 28, who ran uncontested to the 2011 victory in 47 minutes, 51 seconds; and Turkey's Tezata Dengersa, who led the women in 56:35. Ethiopian Aziza Aliya-Abate, 27, women's winner of the 2010 Army Ten-Miler, also is entered in the race around Washington's most famous monuments.
Dengersa, 32, also ran to victory last year at the Marine Corps Marathon (2:45:28), Philadelphia Marathon (2:44:05) and Yuengling Shamrock Marathon (2:50:01), along with a seventh-place finish in the Baltimore Marathon (2:37:52). This year, she finished third in the Kiser Permenente Pike's Peak 10K (33:58) and fifth in the Dick's Sporting Goods Marathon (2:46:10).
Four-time overall women's and three-time masters Army Ten-Miler champion Alisa Harvey, 47, of Manassas, Va., was a nine-time All-America track and field performer at the University of Tennessee. She always delights the crowds at the Pentagon and graciously supports the annual event. She won the women's master division last year with a time of 1:02.00.
A1C Emily Shertzer, the Air Force's 2011 Athlete of the Year, is expected to return. She finished 27th among women last year.
The 28th Army Ten-Miler filled its 30,000-participant field in a record time of 28 hours. About one-third of the allotment went to U.S. service members and runners who have participated in seven or more ATM races. Those priority registration spots were sold in less than 19 hours. The remaining two-thirds of the spots were taken in less than nine hours.
"The race continues to gain in popularity and sells out in record time year after year," Army Ten-Miler race director Jim Vandak said. "We are genuinely grateful to all of our loyal runners for supporting the Army's race. They are the true spirit of the sport."
All proceeds from the Army Ten-Miler benefit Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs for Soldiers and their Families.