ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 22, 2010) - Sunday's 26th running of the Army Ten-Miler is expected to feature one of the fastest fields since 1998 when Maj. Dan Browne battled a slew of contenders to win the chase in 48 minutes, 52 seconds.
"Since 1990, that was probably the most exciting year where it wasn't completely a runaway race," said George Banker, operations manager of the Army Ten-Miler. "They were battling it out. Every time you saw Dan Browne on the course, there were at least three or four Reebok Enclave runners all around him.
"This year, I'm not about to put any money on the table because I don't want to lose."
The event record has since been lowered to 46:59 by Ethiopian Alene Reta, who ran away with the 2009 chase.
"My plan was to break the course record, and I did," said Reta, a 28-year-old who lives in Manhattan, N.Y. "After three miles, nobody was coming, and I went to my pace and kept it."
Reta finished 33 seconds faster than the mark established in 2004 by three-time race champion Browne, who finished third last year with a time of 47:49 while competing for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
Brown will toe the line Sunday determined to reclaim his record.
Army Ten-Miler officials were still unsure Friday if Reta would be running in Sunday's race.
"Going after that record from last year - 46:59 - that very well could be in jeopardy," Banker said. "Alene may be returning. He's sort of still sitting on the fence. Even if he does show up, I think he will definitely have his work cut out for him."
There are, however, a host of others who should challenge Brown, including WCAP teammate Robert Chesert, 27, the Kenyan brother of American record-holder Bernard Lagat.
Pvt. Joseph Chirlee, 30, of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, should also figure into the mix. He won the 2009 Surf City USA Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, Calif., with a time of 1hour, 4 minutes, 31 seconds and finished 14th in the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon in 2:20:18.
Reginaldo Campos Jr., 23, who won the 2008 Army Ten-Miler in 48:59, and Jose Ferreira, 35, winner of the 2007 event in 49:21, are expected to return with a host of contenders from the Brazilian Army, which dominated the past three Army Ten-Milers.
Ethiopians Tasfaye Girma --runner-up in the 2009 Army Ten-Miler -- Birhanu Alemu-Feysa, Tesfaye Sendeku and Fikadu Lemma should also contend with the lead pack.
Other U.S. Army WCAP runners include Nate Pennington, who finished 12th in the 2004 Army Ten-Miler; John Mickowski, winner of the 2010 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship; marathoner Troy Harrison, Kenneth Foster and Darin Shearer.
Samia Akbar won the women's division of the 2009 Army Ten-Miler with a time of 55:25 - 55 seconds quicker than the previous event mark set in 1995 by Susan Molloy of Charlottesville, Va.
Ethiopians Meseret Kotu, Aziza Abate, Serkalem Abrha-Biset and Muliye Gurmu should be challenged by Elyse Braner of Washington and U.S. Army WCAP runners Kelly Calway and Capt. Emily Potter, the 2009 Army Female Athlete of the Year who won the 2010 Charlottesville 10-Miler. Potter finished fifth in both the 2008 and 2009 Army Ten-Milers.
"The women's side is sort of wide open," Banker said. "I don't see on the surface where there will be a complete runaway."
And you can never count out Alisa Harvey, 45, of Manassas, Va., a four-time winner of the Army Ten-Miler.
"You give her any daylight, and she'll take it," Banker said. "One thing about her, she doesn't respect any ages out there, especially in this race."
The oldest standing Army Ten-Miler event record is Sammy Ngatia's male masters mark of 48:50 set in 2000 when he outdueled WCAP's Teddy Mitchell to win the open division.