Brazilians Dominate Army Ten-Miler

The Army Ten-Miler gets started at the Pentagon amid unusually warm weather. Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova, 46, set a masters record in winning the women's race.
The Army Ten-Miler gets started at the Pentagon amid unusually warm weather. Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova, 46, set a masters record in winning the women's race. (Photos By Joel Richardson For The Washington Post)
By Jim Hage
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 8, 2007

In the unseasonable heat and humidity of the 23rd Army Ten-Miler in Washington yesterday, the Brazilian army felt right at home, sweeping the first four places to claim top individual and military team honors.

Jose Ferreira, 31, sprinted past teammate Reginaldo Campos Jr. in the final 100 meters to win in 49 minutes 21 seconds.

Campos, 20, a Brazilian military champion, ran off Ferreira's shoulder the entire way, and hoped to steal the race when he took the lead in the final straightaway at the Pentagon. But his plan ended one second short of perfection.

"At four kilometers, ten kilometers, I beat him," Campos said through an interpreter. "But I'm not totally trained yet for longer distances like ten miles."

Ferreira said he was concerned, but not with his young teammate. "I was confident about winning," he said, "except that I was worried about the Kenyans."

Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova, 46, a former Russian national team competitor and running for the Atlanta-based Foot Solutions team, led the women's race from start to finish and won in 58:31. Sultanova-Zhdanova is the oldest winner ever at Army and broke Alisa Harvey's 2006 masters record of 59:00.

Susannah Kvasnicka, 35, from Great Falls, who won the Marine Corps Marathon in 2005, finished second yesterday in 59:11. "I tried to be conservative early on, so I never saw" Sultanova-Zhdanova, Kvasnicka said. "I felt under control, but the humidity caught up to me the last three miles, and it got pretty miserable."

Defending champion and four-time race winner Harvey, 42, from Manassas, finished fifth in 1:00:34. "By four miles, I knew I couldn't go with the leaders," Harvey said, "so I just tried to stay within myself and not suffer too much."

Mike Scannell, 45, from Fenton, Mich., won a spirited men's masters race, finishing 24th overall in 54:31. The next five places, all within 14 seconds, were masters runners.

Foot Solutions, which took four of the top five men's places last year, was almost totally eclipsed this year by the yellow-clad Brazilians. The team managed to take four places in the top 10, with only fifth-place Ethiopian Tamrat Ayalew, who ran with the leaders until the eight-mile mark, breaking up the Brazilian juggernaut.

"We were invited two years ago," Brazilian team coordinator Maj. Jose Pinheiro said. "So we're very happy to finally be here and do well." Their strong showing surprised race officials, who registered the squad as an international team and issued them non-elite bib numbers.

Of the six team members, only Ferreira, who finished third twice at the Miami Marathon, had been to the United States before. After arriving on Thursday, the group drove on Friday to the outlet malls in Hagerstown, Md., where they all purchased the running shoes they wore in the race. "Everyone had a good time up there," Pinheiro said. "But today, I think we'll do whatever they want."

Running Notes: Edmond Chapa, 28, from Alexandria, was the top local men's finisher, 11th in 51:57. . . . District Mayor Adrian Fenty, 37, ran 1:08:51 and finished 512th overall. . . . Three-time masters champion Martha Merz, 45, from Annandale, finished 16th overall and sixth among women 40 and over in 1:03:19. . . .

At the Chicago Marathon, where equally difficult weather conditions slowed times dramatically, none of the Washington area competitors met the Olympic trials qualifying standard.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company