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Fewer Than 5,000 Spots Left for Army Ten-Miler

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2003 – Fewer than 5,000 spots remain before registration for the 19th Army Ten-Miler closes. The cutoff is 18,000 runners for the Oct. 5 event.

Runners must register online, by Sept. 5, according to event director Jim Vandak.

The race begins and ends at the Pentagon, just across the Potomac River from the nation's capital. The route "runs the river bridges," crossing into Washington, passing the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials as well as the Washington Monument. The route also passes the Smithsonian Institution building enclave and the U.S. Capitol. Organizers said that enhanced security will be in place.

The flat, fast course will cross in front of the west front of the U.S. Capitol, looping around the reflecting pool and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial around Mile 6, noted Vandak.

The runners line up at the start according to their estimated pace, the faster runners to the front. But, ever since 1999, later runners have not been concerned that the minutes spent shuffling toward the start will be added to their time. A chip is placed in each runner's shoe and as he or she crosses the start line the chip activates, said Vandak.

The running field is divided into numerous individual, team and handicapped divisions. Each has its own awards. Team categories include open-field, masters (40 years and older), sergeants major, corporate, National Guard and Reservists, and government agencies. Individual categories include the overall male and female winners, and winners from each age group. The rules provide that only one award can be won per team or individual.

"One of the best races we had was in 1997, when Army 1st Lt. Dan Brown set an Army Ten- Miler record with a time of 47 minutes, 44 seconds, which was also the best time for an American that year," said Vandak.

Last year's overall men's winner, Army 1st Lt. Ryan Kirkpatrick (48:35), will be returning to defend his title against this year's field, Vandak promised. Last year's overall women's winner, Casey Smith (58:21), has yet to register.

The race has a big impact for runners and spectators alike, Vandak stated. "This event is built upon a tradition of excellence and every year we get the honor of experiencing the spirit of sport, America and the Army," he added. "It's going to be an outstanding race all around."

The event needs more than 500 volunteers to help with packet distribution on the Friday and Saturday before the race and with Sunday race day operations, to include running water points. Volunteers may also register on the Army Ten-Miler Web site. However, organizations with 10 or more volunteers should call the Army Ten-Miler office, 202-685-3361.

(Based on a release by Pfc. Justin Nieto, assigned to the Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office.)

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