Alene Reta, Samia Akbar Run Away With 25th Army Ten-Miler

Samia Akbar sets the women's course record at the Army Ten-Miler, finishing in 55 minutes 25 seconds.
Samia Akbar sets the women's course record at the Army Ten-Miler, finishing in 55 minutes 25 seconds. (By Susan Biddle For The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Jim Hage
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, October 5, 2009

That a record field assembled for the 25th anniversary of the Army Ten-Miler at the Pentagon on Sunday morning was just the start. By the finish, Alene Reta, from Ethiopia, won the men's race in 46 minutes 59 seconds and Samia Akbar, from Herndon, took the women's race in 55:25, both course records.

Reta, who lives and trains in New York, led from his first steps -- "setting a ridiculous pace," said former course-record holder Dan Browne, who followed in Reta's wake and ultimately finished third. "I mean, we went through halfway in 23:16. I said to myself that this guy has got to slow down at some point. But he really never did."

Reta actually did slow, but only slightly, and by seven miles had opened a substantial lead. "I go by myself and try for my target" pace, Reta said. "I want to run my [personal record] the whole way -- I'm looking for my best."

Browne, who faltered slightly in the final three miles, surrendered second place near Mile 9 to Tesfay Lemma from the Bronx, who ran 47:20. Like his countryman Reta, Lemma also bettered Browne's 2004 course record of 47:32. Browne, who cited lingering fatigue from his 24th-place effort in the Berlin World Championship marathon in August, ran 47:49; he said he will decide in the next couple of days whether he'll compete in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1.

Last year's Army runner-up, Steve Hallinan, was the top local, finishing seventh in 49:34; last year's Marine Corps Marathon winner, Andrew Dumm, took 11th in 50:38.

Akbar dominated the women's race, finishing 1:14 ahead of runner-up Katie Read of Arlington, and handily topping Susan Malloy's 1995 course record of 56:20. "I was definitely thinking of the course record," Akbar said. "I knew 5:37 [pace per mile] was course-record pace, and I tried to dip under 5:35 early on. . . . I'm just really excited to win here, at home -- it's what I needed right now after two so-so years." Akbar finished 18th at last year's Olympic trials marathon in Boston.

Akbar finished first her last time at Army in 2005 -- "the year of the confusion," she termed it -- when the course was rerouted mid-race because of a security scare and the results were not scored.

Sergey Kaledin and Elena Kaledina, husband and wife, won their respective masters divisions for runners over 40. Sergey Kaledin took 22nd overall in 52:34 and his wife was ninth among women in 1:00:35. American University assistant track coach Edmund Burke was second among the masters men in 52:50, and Danielle Russell, 45, from Ashburn, was 14th overall and the second masters woman in 1:01:59. Four-time race winner and two-time masters champ Alisa Harvey, from Manassas, was 18th overall and fourth master in 1:02:37.

The Brazilian army won the international team competition for a third straight year, beating the U.S. Army team led by Browne. Jose Ferreira, the 2006 Army winner, finished fifth, with teammates in sixth, 10th, and defending champion Reginaldo Campos in 13th.

Like Browne, Ferreira was impressed with Reta's effort. "He started so fast, I didn't think [Reta] would make it," Ferreira said through an interpreter. "But we just stayed on our pace -- that was our strategy."

A record registration of 30,000 runners filled in six days in April, and some 23,000 finished the race, making it the country's largest 10-mile race, a distinction regained after the 2008 Broad Street Run in Philadelphia edged Army's total of 18,960 finishers last year.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company