Kenneth Coddington, 23, of Manassas will begin active duty at Quantico next week. But that's next week. Yesterday, he coasted to a decisive victory at the third annual HQ Army Recreation 10-Mile Run at the Pentagon.

Coddington's time of 50 minutes 57 seconds easily outdistanced Bob Oberti (52:40) of Waldorf, and Terry Rauch (52:45) of Fort Detrick, Md.

Molly McGhee of Alexandria won the women's division in 66:07.

Coddington ran the first mile in 5:10 and was timed in 10:20 for two miles, holding a five-yard edge over Oberti and 10 yards on Rauch, with the field of more than 800 runners following.

Off the Memorial Bridge and onto Ohio Drive at the three-mile point, Coddington pulled away. Over the next mile, Coddington's lead over Oberti increased to nearly 100 yards.

Coddington ran easily along the Potomac River through West and East Potomac Parks, on a perfectly clear and cool morning. At the midway mark, he was unofficially clocked at 25:20, with no other racers in sight.

"They were backing off the pace," said Coddington, who was graduated from Osbourn Park High School in Virginia and Virginia Tech. "I was just maintaining the same pace."

Behind Coddington, the gap between Oberti and Rauch was shortening, and Rauch began running stronger. Passing over the 14th Street Bridge, with a mile left, and down the ramp to Boundary Channel Drive, Rauch started his kick.

By now, however, Coddington had crossed the finish line. Oberti was able to outsprint Rauch for second by 15 yards.

In the women's race, runner-up Janet O'Hara of Fort Belvoir led for nine miles before succumbing to McGhee's fast finish. O'Hara, 22, posted a time of 66:36, 29 seconds behind the 29-year-old McGhee.