We Experience the Army Ten Miler Together

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Blog written by: Nicholle Gousie

I left Fort Bragg in the summer of 2006 and transitioned from the Army’s Active to Reserve Component. Until that time, running was something I was forced to do and not something that I enjoyed. When I left the Army however, I felt something missing from my day-to-day life. The Army was my family and now it was distant.

In 2007, my Army buddy, Cheryl, who also recently left the Army, convinced me to join her for the Army Ten Miler race. It was an easy decision to meet-up and reconnect, and I knew I wouldn’t be running the ten miles alone.

 

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This would be the first time I ran by choice; and it started what became an annual habit. Why? Here’s a snapshot of how I experienced the Army Ten Miler weekend.

The Expo – Reconnecting. All of I sudden I saw people whom I hadn’t seen in years…my boss from Egypt, my classmate from college, my colleague from Bragg, or my battle buddy from Captain’s Career Course. It was no longer just a race, it was now a reunion.

The Start – Corral Time. There’s an energy that happens as you line up in the corral, a nervousness that often results in dancing (at least I’m dancing), and an eagerness for that cannon start. You begin and you find you are not alone. You are with a crowd of people, you are pushing yourself, you are breathing, you are laughing, you are pointing at that funny outfit, you are running, you are smiling.

The Course – Ten Miles. One mile in, you are headed towards Lincoln. People are cheering at all sections of the bridge, the corner, the grass and they have signs, really funny signs, whistles, cowbells, or just annoying horns. You continue, make more turns, pass the Watergate Hotel, the Kennedy Center, and are now headed towards the Washington Monument. You’ve already hit four miles (or 2x Army PT Tests for those counting) and it doesn’t matter because now you are hitting the crowd on Independence, not once but twice! There’s a band, there’s cheerleaders, there’s runner high-fives and it’s time for the bridge – the forever bridge but you see a sign, eight miles (4x PT Tests) and you know you are almost there.

The Finish – Pentagon Coin. Larger crowds now encompass you from both sides and you dig deep for that final push to the finish line. More high fives, fist bumps, big breaths, water, and then the most glorious reward – the finisher coin. Mission complete.

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I have never run the Army Ten Miler alone. Every year I have been surrounded by friends that either convinced me to start or I dragged them along. It was never for us to do a race but rather have an experience together. Community. Camaraderie.

This year marked the first year I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I knew that my training wasn’t strong and I was fighting an injury. Luckily, I had four amazing friends and fellow Eagles take up the charge to be at my side. They never left me behind and we completed those ten miles together. No, we experienced the Army Ten Miler together.

So I will be there next year, and the year after, and the year after that. To date, I’ve completed eleven Army Ten Milers and I Will Never Quit.

Comments on We Experience the Army Ten Miler Together

  • Jason Winters

    Looking forward to doing this once again in the morning