All-Army runners take top trophy from Brazilians at 26th Army Ten-Miler
By Tim Hipps
FMWRC Public Affairs
ARLINGTON, Va. – Runners from the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program triumphantly took the team trophy from the Brazilian Army at this year’s Army Ten-Miler on Sunday.
The All-Army WCAP team dashed away with the international Army trophy after defeating the three-time reigning champions from Rio de Janeiro.
“We beat the Brazilians,” Spc. Robert Cheseret said moments after leading the elite U.S. squad of four men by finishing third with a time of 48 minutes, 20 seconds. “They haven’t finished the official results, but we did the math with our times and we should be ahead of them. We are very confident that we did it, so I’m very happy about that.
“Everybody worked hard to make sure we won it, and we did it.”
Cheseret, 27, a native of Kenya who won NCAA championships at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters on the track for the University of Arizona, was the U.S. Army’s shining star on this day at the Pentagon.
“It’s amazing,” he said of the atmosphere provided by supporters who lined the 10-mile route along streets of Northern Virginia and around monuments of Washington. “You have people cheering at almost every point. This is the best road race I’ve ever ran. I like it.”
So does Ethiopian Alene Reta, 28, who ran away with the race for the second consecutive year with a winning time of 47:10. Reta opened with a 4:29 first mile and went through two in 9 minutes. He won in 2009 with an event-record time of 46:59.
“As defending champion, I wanted to come back again this year,” said Reta, who decided Tuesday he would run the Army Ten-Miler despite hamstring tightness Oct. 16 at the Baltimore Marathon. “When I go to race, I don’t think of winning or taking second, I always like to better my time.”
Nobody dared go with him, and Reta never looked back.
“Did you see how fast he went out? If he did that for 10 miles, that’s a world record probably,” said WCAP Maj. Dan Browne, 35, who was content to lead the second pack through the mile mark in 4:40 and finished fourth in 48:22. “It wasn’t hot out, but it wasn’t cool at the start, so you’ve got to be smart.
“I felt like I did the things I needed to do to give myself the best chance,” continued Browne, a six-time top-five finisher in the Army Ten-Miler. “I led the second group for two-thirds of the race. It was kind of just me holding pace. I wasn’t really catching the second-place guy, so we had a nice, fun finish at the end.”
Ethiopian Tesfaye Sendeku was second in 47:58. Cheseret passed four runners, including Browne, during the final mile to finish third.
“The kick at the end is part of my strength,” said Cheseret, whose goal is to run the 5,000 meters for Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. “I went out with the leader but his pace was too fast, so I dropped back and ran with Dan and a group of about five other guys. Dan really did a great job for us today.”
Behind Browne, Ethiopian Fikadu Lemma finished fifth in 48:22, followed by Neal Cabating (48:33) of Washington and the first two members of the Brazilian Army team: Clodoaldo Silva (48:38) and Wilson Lima (48:38), both of Rio de Janeiro.
WCAP-bound PV2 Joseph Chirlee of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was ninth in 49:11. Lucas Meyer of Ridgefield, Conn., rounded out the men’s top 10 in 49:25.
First Lt. John Mickowski of WCAP gutted out the final mile to finish 11th for the All-Army team in 49:40. WCAP Spc. Kenneth Foster completed the elite U.S. squad with a 13th-place finish in 50:26. They both beat Brazilian Army’s Jose Ferreira, 35, winner of the 2007 Army Ten-Miler who finished fifth in the 2008 and 2009 events.
“With a mile to go, my stomach just seized up,” said Mickowski, 24, the reigning U.S. Armed Forces cross-country champion. “I probably ran that last mile in 6:30. I started sprinting at the end and I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know if I didn’t hydrate right or what. I literally almost couldn’t run. I just hung on to finish. I’m just perplexed because it’s never happened before.”
Then again, the U.S. Army team had not beaten the Brazilians, either – until the 26th running of the Army Ten-Miler, thanks to Cheseret, Browne, Mickowski and Foster.
On the women’s side, Aziza Abate, 25, of Albuquerque, N.M., posted a runaway victory in 55:54, followed by WCAP Capt. Kelly Calway (57:20) of Fort Carson, Colo., Michaela Courtney (58:14) of Arlington, Va., Gabriela Trana (58:31) of Alajuela, Costa Rica, and 42-year-old masters winner Peggy Yetman (58:51) of Leesburg, Va.
“My husband is in Afghanistan right now so I wish he could be here, but I know he’s cheering for me,” said Calway, 27, who hopes to qualify Dec. 5 for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials at the California International Marathon. “I heard him during the race. I miss him a lot. He’s my number one fan. And my number-two fan is right over there: my three-year-old daughter, Hazel.”
WCAP Capt. Emily Potter (58:56) of Fort Bragg, N.C., Ethiopian Muliye Gurmu (59:13), Emily Shertzer (59:28) of Hummelstown, Pa., Kim Siedsma (59:48) of Fairfax, Va., and Russian Elena Kaledina (1:00:07) completed the top 10.
“I actually ran way faster than I thought I would,” said Potter, 31, who plans to run the Conseil International du Sport Militaire’s 43rd World Military Marathon Championships Oct. 31 in Athens, Greece, on the same course Brown ran at the 2004 Summer Olympics. “It’s the 2005th anniversary of the original marathon, so this is a good tune-up for that.”
WCAP modern pentathlete Mickey Kelly of Fort Carson, Colo., was 15th in 1:01:47. Four-time Army Ten-Miler winner Alisa Harvey, 45, of Manassas, Va., a nine-time NCAA track and field champion for the University of Tennessee, was 16th in 1:02:02.
U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
FMWRC, Public Affairs