The Army 10-Miler takes place in Washington, D.C. every year — or it usually does.
This year, the race was forced to become a virtual event. Teams from all over competed closer to home, running the race on their own turf.
This includes a team from Fort Riley and a team from Kansas State University, both of which ran the 10-Miler on post Sunday morning, with help from MWR.
Fort Riley’s leadership was present to show support for the runners, including Commanding General of Fort Riley Maj. Gen. Douglas A. Sims and Garrison Commander Col. Will McKannay.
"I've run this event for the last couple of years in DC. It’s amazing to be about to do it out here,” Sims said. "You don’t normally get this opportunity, and it really is an opportunity, to run the Army 10-Miler in Kansas. This is a perfect Kansas morning, and to watch our team kind of have a home field advantage this time is a really big deal. It’s fantastic.”
McKannay said even though the race was being held virtually, it was still an opportunity for local participants.
"I think it’s great that we’re running this event here even though it is virtual, but it’s an opportunity for our Army team and our partners from Kansas State University, and soldiers and families from Fort Riley, and the surrounding communities to be able to run a closed course,” he said.
Executive Director of the Society of the 1st Infantry Division Phyllis Fitzgerald attended the event as one of the sponsors. She enjoyed engaging with soldiers and civilians alike during the event.
“Besides setting up a table to share about the Society of the 1st Infantry Division, I got to engage with the soldiers that were there,” she said.
Fitzgerald has experienced the race as a runner, before. Back in 1991, when she and her husband were both active duty soldiers, she took part in the run in D.C., the seventh Army 10-Miler in history. They had recently returned from fighting in Operation Desert Storm.
She made the team and went to D.C. for the big race.
“When we were deployed, we started talking about the big run and when we returned back to the states, we started training,” Fitzgerald said. "I feel like we ran probably 50, 60, 70, 80 miles a week just to start training for it and to build the endurance and everything. So, it takes a lot. We were all pretty much in good shape and everything, but to run 10 miles straight like that, you’ve got to have that endurance, so we spent a lot of time preparing for the run."
Sunday morning, though, she stuck with being a spectator.
“As far as the event that happened here, it was a fantastic event,” Fitzgerald said. “Lots of people came out to run and there was quite a few of us there to cheer them on.”
Military Affairs Council Director Craig Bender ran the race with a Junction City team last year, but only spectated this year.
“I was impressed,” he said. “I think we had probably close to 70 people out there.”
The MAC sponsored the run this year. Bender said it was an honor to help put the race on this year.
“(The race) allowed us to show additional community support that we wouldn’t normally be able to show,” he said. “We do try and send a Fort Riley team each year, when you’d have 10 to 15 people run the Army 10-Miler and this way you’ve got 60 to 70 people running from the community. So I just think it’s an opportunity to show more support for the Army, for the military."