I am proud of them all.
I directed my running club’s twelve-week Ten-Mile Group (TMG) Training Program this year. The goal race was the Army 10-Mile Race, which is or was North America’s largest ten-mile road race. This year the number of registrants was capped at 26,000.
You could read all about the TMG training on the program’s blog. It’s pretty dry reading because I did all of the posting except for once when Not Born to Run posted (Jeanne was a coach in the program).
The program was started a few years back by Kristin, an accomplished woman who was recognized for her efforts by the club as its volunteer of the year two years ago. An honor well deserved.
(Kristin, waving, leads a group of runners from the 10K Group in the spring of 2007 along the C&O Canal Towpath near Fletcher's Boathouse.) My participation in the program in the summer of 2005, which was my first foray into group running, turned my running around and thoroughly revived it after it had gone stale. As a result, my marathon time went from 4:16 to 3:53 and my 5K time, which had gotten into the 25s, went back down into the 22s for awhile.
Anywho, while I was off crawling over the mean streets of Chicago in record heat on the Infamous Sunday of October 7, 2007, my charges were running the streets of the District during the Army 10-Miler in equally hot temperatures. It was deja vu all over again. They ran out of water. Runners were seen filling their bottles from the water basin by the Capitol while pigeons splashed a few feet away. Other runners begged water from spectators or bought it from stores along the route. (Always always carry a twenty during ANY race.) There was one fatality. Except that at Army, they seem to be acknowledging some mistakes and vowing to fix them, unlike at Chicago.
This year’s TMG Program started on July 14th in front of the Lincoln Memorial with a run of three miles. The next week’s run of three miles went around the Tidal Basin by the Jefferson Memorial, and unbeknownst to anyone, a photographer memorialized it for the periodical Cooking Light, which published it in a full-page spread in its October issue (on newsstands now). Next time you're in Borders, check it out on page 75. (Yes, that’s me, the one with the hat.)
(Have you seen this magazine?) As an aside, you might wonder how I, a man, ever knew that anything was in Cooking Light. I might have lived the rest of my life in ignorance of my fame if not for the keen eyes of two program members. You see, of the 59 paid TMG participants, 51 are women. Thanks Jennifer and Hallie! BTW, if you need an extra copy of this issue, I have a few to spare.
I digress. Subsequent program meeting points included Fletcher’s Boathouse, Ronald Reagan Airport and Haines Point. We ran over bridges, by the White House, past war memorials and around the Capitol. We eventually built up to eleven miles. The coaches, Jeannie, Kristin, Linda, Matt and NBTR, all did a terrific job.
I think Matt must have been an Army Ranger because in the best tradition of Leave No Runner Behind, he would come in with (most of) the fast group and then regularly slip away to find the rest of his group. Kristin often ran to the meeting point and home again to build up her mileage base for Chicago. You know, the race that was cancelled while she and practically everyone else were out on the course! Linda smoked the Army course with the best woman's time in the program (second best overall). NBTR showed us all what she thought of our slow mileage buildup by running a half-marathon midway through the program. Jeannie amazed us all by actually having her group stretch before and after every single run. I tried to lead her group once when she was away and I was told by its members that they were going to run her route and not my route. I like loyalty.
Twenty-nine athletes from the program completed Army despite the harsh conditions and the lack of water. Their times were terrific, ranging from 1:17:06 (Scott) to over two hours. It was a tremendous achievement just to finish. Kudos to them, and to Army, which unlike Chicago, admitted mistakes, actually apologized and vowed to get better.