WASHINGTON — Six of Fort Benning’s fastest Soldiers joined a crowd of 30,000 runners Sunday in Washington for the annual Army Ten-miler. The race took competitors past some of the nation’s historical landmarks. It began and ended at the Pentagon and was divided into two waves, 20 minutes apart, to accommodate enough running space for the largest race in its 26-year history.
The Fort Benning team consisted of six active duty Soldiers, competing in the Active Duty Men’s category. The competitors were team captain David Reyes, 4th Ranger Training Battalion; Michael Gambrell, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment; James Mahunn, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment; Travis Bradley, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment and Andy Ferrara and Ryan Clay, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment. Last year the team placed sixth in the category and had high hopes for a spot in the top five, Reyes said.
As spectators lined the streets, runners formed near the Pentagon Memorial. Following three cannon blasts, the race was on. The route took runners past Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Monument, through the National Mall and across the George Mason Memorial Bridge to the finish line.
Ferrara, 22, was the team’s first runner to cross the finish line at 55 minutes, 32 seconds as the 57th competitor overall.
“I was psyched to be able to run in the race, but I was more excited to pass my brother who is running on the Campbell team,” Ferrara said. Damon Ferrara, the elder brother, came in with a time of 56:37. The next Fort Benning teammate to cross the finish line was Clay, who finished with a time of 57:26.
Forty teams competed in the men’s active-duty category. The Fort Benning men’s team took home ninth place with a cumulative time of 4:03:00. The winning team, Hawaii, took first place at 3:41:14.
The run was not only a competitive race, but also a family affair. Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General MG Michael Ferriter hit the streets with his wife, Margie, and his two daughters, Meghan and Mary. Meghan crossed the line at 1:39:56 with her parents crossing a second later. Mary ended the race at 1:21:16, beating her father, mother and sister. CSM James Hardy, MCoE command sergeant major, ran his 10 miles in 1:18:57.
MG Ferriter said he looked at the run not only as a family tradition, but as a time to catch up with old friends.
“On these runs you get to see literally over a thousand friends,” he said. “You run up and see one, they’ll come by and you have a quick revisit, than you keep going. For me, it was a 95-minute visit with about a thousand of my friends.”
The Army Ten-miler is the largest 10-mile race in the United States. The race was filled within 30 hours of online registration.
All the proceeds support Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of Soldiers and their families.
The Army Ten-miler kicks off the annual Association of the United States Army Meeting and Exposition. The yearly conference held in Washington, brings thousands of Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors together for presentations, forums, and professional development.
For more info on the 2010 Army Ten-miler and complete results, visit www.armytenmiler.com.