Ten Miles of Run
Two Meade teams to participate in annual Army Ten-Miler
Story and photos by Brandon Bieltz
The two teams of six runners will represent Fort Meade at the race, which is one of the world's largest 10-mile competitions.
The event is hosted by the Military District of Washington. All race proceeds benefit Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation that support Soldier and Soldier family programs.
Preparation for this year's Fort Meade Army Ten-Miler team began in May with a qualifying 10K race. The group of runners was then set to 12, in order to form the two teams.
Participants said they joined the team, as opposed to running alone, to give themselves an extra edge.
"It pushes me," Michael Wahlgren said. "I'm competitive. So to be on a team, I want to be better than the next guy on the team."
For Steve Bichler, joining a team is a good way to get into the popular event, which sold out in 19 hours this year.
The large number of runners in the event is another draw.
"In a marathon, you're probably going to be alone at some point," Bichler said. "In the Army Ten-Miler you're never alone. There's always somebody there pushing you."
Team captain James Eberly said the Fort Meade group consists of experienced runners who have competed in endurance events, including marathons and triathlons. Many have completed previous Army Ten-Milers as well.
Although the runners form teams, competitors trained on their own as they prepared simultaneously for other events.Ë™
"We had several people who were doing half-marathons or training for marathons, so a lot of people were already doing some kind of training program," Eberly said. "It may have been more intense than what would be required for a 10-miler. We have people on the team who do triathlons, so I think most people are doing their own training program."
On race day, the team will be spread throughout the course, which begins outside of Arlington National Cemetery, spans through the National Mall and finishes at the Pentagon.
Individual runners have their own goal time, Eberly said. At the end of the race, the times of the top four runners on each team will be averaged together for the final team time.
While the event is competitive, it also serves as a large reunion for many of the service members who travel from around the world to compete.
"It's one of the better races to run in the D.C. area," said runner Wener Vieux. "You practically have all the installations in the Army participate. So it's good to run into people you knew from the other installation, and it's a lot of fun to see all the different military units come out and participate."
Auyb Odera said it is "prestigious" to have the opportunity to represent Fort Meade.
"How many people do we have at Fort Meade -- and you're chosen to represent the community? It is an honor," Odera said. "It's an honor to represent your post."
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