Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Army 10 Miler Spectator Report

Sunday was a beautiful day - clear skies, cool weather and oh yea, the Army 10 Miler.  Though I wasn't running it myself, I knew a lot of people that were, including one special person.  So we were up and out there nice and early so I could drop Rebecca off and still manage to find a decent parking spot in the vicinity of the Pentagon, where the race starts and finishes.

After dropping Rebecca off and wishing her well, I got parked and set out on my own little running adventure for the day, where I'd eventually be meeting up with a friend in DC to watch some of the race.  So with that, I took off from Crystal City along the Mount Vernon Trail

DC awaits 20,000+ runners
It was still before sunrise, but I managed to snap a shot of the view of the Pentagon from a few miles away on the trail as I made my way north on the trail.

Pentagon as seen from the trail - Big white building in the middle

Pretty soon, I found my way along the Potomac for what I consider the most iconic part of the trail, with endless views of DC.  About 2 miles into the run, the sun was just starting to come up over the town.  And soon, I approached the Memorial Bridge, where runners would be crossing after only 1.5 miles into the race.  The view to the east of DC is a great one.

After climbing a short hill to get from the trail to the bridge in order to cross it, I noticed that the famous Army paratroopers were slowly making their way down to their landing spots right at the startling line of the race.  This is always my favorite pre-race event that goes on at the Army 10 Miler.  Not the greatest photo, but if you click to zoom, you can see 2 of them just over the top of the tree by the car with its lights on.

Then, I quickly turned around and headed over the bridge just as the sun was rising up.

Since I still had a bunch of time to kill, I decided to extend my run a bit and headed out onto Hains Point, which is one of the key parts of the Marine Corps Marathon, only a few more weeks away.  While halfway out, I could still hear the music coming from the Pentagon and caught a small glimpse of it from where I was.

Pentagon - right in the middle between the trees and where I had been running only a few miles before
 A quick lap around the remainder of the park and I made my way back around the Tidal Basin just in time to catch up with the leaders of the race as they were about to come through.  I was surprised to see that the leader already had a solid 20s lead 5 miles into the race, so I took 2 clips: one as he came through and one of the chase packs. 

After they passed, I made my way a mile further up the course to stand with a friend and spot Rebecca and others who were out on the course.  As is expected for a race of this size, spotting people can become difficult.  And since I told Rebecca exactly where we'd be, she was able to spot us!  I guess when you figured that there were 20,000+ runners and probably a lot less spectators, it might be easier for the runners to spot spectators than vice versa.  Unfortunately, I couldn't grab a picture of her though, so I took a field shot to give perspective on the crowding of the course, as it is pretty much a steady stream of people the whole time.

Despite our best attempts to cheer for runners along the 14th St Bridge for the last few miles of the race, we were ordered back by the police and forced to metro to the Pentagon and the finish area.  But not before, I got to see the leader come through Mile 7.5 with an even bigger lead.

If you zoom in, you can see how far back the next runner is
 So we got to Pentagon and found the steady stream of runners still making there way through the course.  This year was the first year with a new course, so the finish area was pushed a bit further than years in the past and added what I consider an unfortunate hill for the last half mile or so, before the downhill finish. 

Nothing like the sight of thousands of runners climbing a hill in the last mile of a race!
 Lastly, we found Rebecca and learned that she rocked the course and set a personal best time on the course by more than 10 minutes!  Does she look proud of her awesome race or what?

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning, huh?

1 comment:

The Lazy Triathlete said...

Awesome. Some times it is better to be an athletic supporter than an athlete!!!

Congrats to Rebecca on the new PR.


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