The Army 10 Miler: History, Training Tips & Past Winners

The Army 10 Miler is held every October in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The race is sponsored by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and is the second largest ten-mile race in the U.S. The Philadelphia Broad Street Run is the largest 10-mile race in the USA.

The race started in 1985 by fitness officials connected with the Army Headquarters staff in the Pentagon. In the early years, it was led by staff assigned to the Pentagon with the logistic support of the Military District of Washington. Subsequently, the program was reassigned to the Military District, where it is headed by a year-round, full-time professional staff.

The route for the course is very scenic and highlights many of the great and wonderful sights that are in DC. Starting near the Pentagon (on RTE 27 to be exact) it proceeds North over the beautiful Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial, along Constitution and Virginia Avenues, continues South on Rock Creek Parkway passing underneath the Kennedy Center.

The route continues along passing other highlights such as the WWII Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Air and Space Museum, National Mall, and along Pennsylvania Avenue. After passing the U.S. Capital Building, the route proceeds West at Independence Avenue and finishes up along I-395 and ending back at the Pentagon.

Not a runner? No problem! There are plenty of activities going on during the event such as a youth run, activity fair, even a pre-race dinner! Even if you don’t plan on “running” in the race, it’s a great time of year to visit Washington, DC.

History of the Army 10 Miler

The fitness personnel of the Army Headquarters Staff at the Pentagon created the Army 10 Miler in 1985. At first, logistics support of the Washington Military District oversaw all aspects of this race, but as the race grew in stature, the need for a full time staff was evident. The Military District hired a full time staff.

From 1985 until 2000, the Army 10 Miler was run every year. In 2001, the terrorists attacked New York and the Pentagon, so the race was cancelled. The years following have found highly “beefed up” security measures. In 2005, Washington DC police noticed a suspicious package along the race route, so the race was detoured. Because of the detour, the 2005 Army 10 Miler was not scored, and it was determined runners actually ran over 11 miles.

The 2007 Army 10 miler was held in very hot conditions. One runner, Michael Banner, collapsed and died. He was near the finish line.

In 2009 and 2010, because so many service members who normally ran in the Army 10 Miler were stationed in the Middle East, shadow runs were held. In 2009, a shadow run was held in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and in 2010, shadow runs were held at six locations in Afghanistan, five locations in Iraq, and also in Djibouti, Africa.

the army 10 miler


The Army 10 Miler will accept runners from both military and civilian people. Divisions consist of:

  • Open Men

  • Open Women

  • Commanders Cup Men: Male service members from same group, duty station, division, etc….

  • Commanders Cup Women: Female service members from same group, duty station, division, etc….

  • Commanders Cup Mixed: Mixed gender service members from same group, duty station, division, etc….

  • Sergeants Major: All E9s

  • All Comers: Any entrants of any age or gender

  • International Army: Foreign service members

  • Corporate: Corporate or company employees

  • Active Duty Masters: Service members 40+ years of age.

  • Open Masters: Any that are 40+ years of age.

  • National Guard: Guard members

  • Reserve: Reserve members

  • Government employees: City, County, State or Federal employees

  • ROTC or Military Academy

  • First Responders

As you can see, there are many different teams.

Past Winners

These are the top male and female finishers of each year:

  1. 1985 Kevin McGarry, 50:05 Marianne Dickerson, 58:45

  2. 1986 Steve O’Connell, 50:26 Marianne Dickerson, 57:33

  3. 1987 Darrell General, 49:44 Pam Briscoe, 59:10

  4. 1988 Darrell General, 50:11 Marianne Dickerson, 56:46

  5. 1989 Michael Regan, 50:11 Laura Dewald, 58:20

  6. 1990 Jim Hage, 49:31 Olga Markova, 58:15

  7. 1991 Unnamed 48:49 Shelley Burns, 1:00:21

  8. 1992 David Clark, 50:49 Laurel Park, 58:24

  9. 1993 Jim Hage, 50:37 Callie Calhoun, 59:29

  10. 1994 Peter Weilerman, 48:33 Bonnie Barnard-Lopez, 56:59

  11. 1995 Ronnie Harris, 48:59 Susan Molloy, 56:20

  12. 1996 Michael Bernstein, 47:59 Chris Udovich, 58:35

  13. 1997 Dan Browne, 47:44 Chris Udovich, 56:58

  14. 1998 Dan Browne, 48:52 Alisa Harvey, 58:56

  15. 1999 Chris Graff, 48:21 Alisa Harvey, 57:47

  16. 2000 Sammy Ngatia, 48:50 Naoko Ishibe, 56:40

  17. 2001 Canceled

  18. 2002 Ryan Kirpatrick, 48:35 Casey Smith, 58:21

  19. 2003 John Henwood, 48:49 Alisa Harvey, 59:29

  20. 2004 Dan Browne, 47:32 Casey Smith, 57:32

  21. 2005 No scoring due to race detour

  22. 2006 Jared Nyamboki, 48:24 Alisa Harvey, 59:00

  23. 2007 Jose Ferreira, 49:21 Firaya Zhdanova, 58:31

  24. 2008 Reginaldo Campos, Jr, 48:59 Veena Reddy, 58:08

  25. 2009 Alena Reta, 46:59 Samia Akbar, 55:25

  26. 2010 Alene Reta, 47:10 Aziza Abate, 55:54

  27. 2011 Tesfaye Sendeku, 47:51 Tezata Dengera, 56:35

  28. 2012 Tesfaye Sendeku, 47:48 Kerri Gallagher, 56:09

  29. 2013 Solonei Silva, 48:04 Kerri Gallagher, 54:56

  30. 2014 Solonei Silva, 48:28 Kerri Gallagher, 54:50

  31. 2015 Paul Chelimo, 48:19 Tina Muir, 55:20

Army 10 Miler Training Tips

Here are a few good tips to help you train and prepare for the Army Ten Miler.

Follow a Plan

Ideally, you want to develop a training plan three to four months prior to the event. There are many different training programs. Find one that makes sense to you and aligns with your goals, time available and skills. Once you pick a plan, have the self-discipline to follow it each day.

Find an Accountability Partner

When it comes to train, it behooves you to have an accountability partner. Team up with someone else who will run the Army Ten Miler and train together, especially if you have similar running abilities. This will keep you motivated and give you someone to talk with you as you train for the event.

Pick the Right Sneakers

When it comes to sneakers, spend the extra money and purchase the best quality running shoes you can afford. Your feet are worth it!

Mix it Up

A successful 10 Mile race includes training runs in addition to cross-training. Yoga, strength training and biking are great forms of cross-training. Many runners will also opt to swim. You can also add walks to your training plan. ~ Holly Hammersmith Blog

quote about running

High Intensity

For your high-intensity days, on the weeks opposite your tempo run, do interval running. It’s simple: Run fast, at a near sprint, for one to four minutes, then recover at a light jog for an equal amount of time.

All told, you’ll want to start with a combined total of 12 minutes of high-intensity running — four three-minute bursts, for example — for a total 22 minutes of running; plus a few minutes of warmup and cool-down. From there, as you progress, work your way up to about twice that, Collins says.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up to keep things interesting. For example, fartleks — Swedish for “speed play” — use everything from mailboxes and telephone poles to music playlists and even dog walkers to trigger speed-ups and slow-downs. ~ Military Times

Beat the Boredom

If you find yourself getting bored on the short runs, and are worried about how you’ll cope as you add miles, try running with friends, but only if you’re all comfortable holding that same pace. Beyond that, you can experiment with different routes. Run with music or a podcast, do some mental maths, compose a poem – your brain might just need a while to remember how to daydream. Once it does, time will pass much more quickly. ~ Runners World

Decrease the Length of Your Long Runs

Decrease the length of your long runs by three miles every three weeks; this allows your body to rest slightly while still allowing you to get in a good run. Resume your normal long run schedule the following week. As an example, on your third week your long run would normally be six or seven miles long depending on the distance you started with on your first week; instead, you should revert it to either three or four miles. On the following week, continue with the six or seven miles you would have normally taken the previous week. ~ Healthy Living AZ Central

How to Improve Your Run Time

If you want to run much faster for the 10 mile distance then you have ever run before one of the best strategies I can give is to increase the pace at which you conduct your long run. Far too many runners think doing 20-22 mile runs at a minute to 3 minutes slower than their goal 10 mile, half-marathon or marathon goal pace is going to make them faster.

Yes, workouts like this will make any runner stronger and more fit but on an anaerobic level the athlete will not have trained well enough to maintain pace in the race. Remember, the goal is to slow less then the runners around you.

If you learn to increase the amount of time you are spending at a higher percentage of your max heart rate you are going to see significant improvements in your 10 miler results. ~ Run Dream Achieve

Educate Yourself

My last Army 10 Miler Training Tip is to educate yourself. Study the routes and road closures. Read a few books on 10 mile races. Talk with past participants and learn everything you can from them. Visit the site ahead of time if possible. Here are a few books from Amazon I recommend.


In conclusion, this is everything I know about the Army 10 Miler. If you have participated in this race in the past as a participant or volunteer, I would love to hear from you. What was the experience like? What tips can you recommend to our viewership? Feel free to leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Thanks.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “The Army 10 Miler: History, Training Tips & Past Winners”

  1. What an awesome tradition! Soldiers who are deployed can participate by running in a Shadow Run, which is cool as well. It is also very popular–registration for this year’s run is sold out. Visitors can also attend the free Expo, which has everything from great deals on running gear to helicopters and live performances. The Army Ten Miler also has a shoe drive, hosted by the AMVETS, where they collect “gently used” running shoes. I’d like to go some time, maybe even run in it.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    Hi Justin,
    I haven’t made it to DC yet to run in the Army Ten Miler (I should have done it when I was at BOLC at Fort Lee in 2011, but I think we had a conflict that weekend…)
    I am very fortunate though, to have participated in the shadow run at Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2009. I set that race as my goal a few months beforehand so I could get over my belief that I was not a runner. It was my ‘deployment goal’. I ran the race in just under 90 minutes, which for me was a huge deal, and I found out that I could run more than I thought. I ended up running a lot more races after that and even did my first half marathon in just under 2 hours. While running the race in Iraq was not as scenic as the real thing, we all felt like we were a part of the festivities, so to speak. I went straight onto my 12 hour shift afterward and am surprised I was able to function all day!
    I’ve always wanted to do the Marine Corps Marathon too. It seems like they get a lot of great participation in that race.

    1. Candace,

      Thanks for the post! Don’t feel too bad, I haven’t done the ten-miler as I also do not see myself as a “runner”. Actually my PT run has yet to break the 14:00s. There are so many good runs out there that I should, like you, set a goal and try to participate in. I always end up just doing the long 20+ miler ruck marches instead. I think it is because I feel better rucking than running. You have inspired me to look into a small running event this year in DC and participate. Thanks!

      1. Candace Ginestar

        Hi Justin,
        I ran 4 miles last night. Time to get back to where I was! Can’t live in the past and we all do stuff on deployment (like run a half marathon on a treadmill…seriously)…but I know I did it before, I can do it now, and so can you! I’ve always struggled with running. Give me some time weight lifting and I get strong really fast. But running takes me so much longer, and I have to work really hard to stay on top of my game. We should each pick a race to do this year and train for it! And no rucking! That’s how I copped out of doing the Portland Marathon a few years ago. I wasn’t ready to run it, so I decided to ruck it.
        A half marathon is totally doable and fun to run. I don’t know that I would enjoy running a full marathon.

        1. Candace Ginestar

          Chuck, these days, I don’t think I enjoy anything. But hopefully when I get overseas I can get back into crossfit and running. I feel my best when doing either of those, even if it hurts.

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