In the past, I had heard a lot about the Army 10-Miler, but didn't envision myself running it. Then last spring, when visiting my friends Vanitha and Asheesh in DC, the race came up in discussion. Asheesh is in the army reserve, so this would be a very meaningful event for him. I jumped at the opportunity to run such a famed race with a good friend.
On race morning, I arrived at the Pentagon to find it had been transformed into a race start village.
|The Pentagon in the background, with rows and rows of portapotties in the foreground.|
Some folks were less fazed by the conditions than others, of course.
It was a long walk from the corrals to the start line. I ended up missing my starting corral since I was in line for the portapotties. I joined the next corral instead. While heading towards the starting line, I realized the magnitude of the 35,000 runners participating in the race. This event is enormous!
A helicopter was circling the skies during the entire race. Near the start line, I was happy to get this snapshot of the helicopter above the American flag.
|The Lincoln Memorial|
|The Washington Monument|
|The Jefferson Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background|
|The Potomac River|
The mile markers each had a different soldier's creed on them. Talk about an incredible way to inspire the runners to keep going!
|"I will never leave a fallen comrade."|
One of the most touching elements of the race was that all of the aid stations were manned by army personnel. Sometimes the aid stations and rows of army soldiers stretched for several blocks. This picture so does not do it justice:
A lot of the army folks were having fun, too. I heard some of them shouting things like,
"FAT FREE WATER!!!"
"I HAVE THE BEST WATER IN TOWN!!!"
"COME AND GET YOUR DIET WATER!!!"
I enjoyed the many bands on the course, all of which were playing patriotic songs:
This was a snapshot from around Mile 8, I think, shortly before we started hitting some enormous headwinds.
The finishing chute was lined with American flags and spectators. Again, the photo doesn't do the scene justice.
I only wish that I could have run with Asheesh. I can't even imagine how meaningful the festivities would have been for him. It would have been awesome to share the experience. Asheesh - I wish you the speediest of recoveries, and let's put this race back on the list for another year!
To all the brave men and women serving our country, I salute you!!!
Linking up with Marcia, Patti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.