More than 35,000 racers – civilians, service members and veterans alike – will weave through the “iconic vistas” of Washington, D.C., as they aim to complete the 2022 Army Ten-Miler.
Held each October in Washington, D.C., the “ATM” is an in-person and virtual fundraiser for the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program. Since the race opened in 1985, more than 440,000 service members, military family members, wounded warriors and civilians have participated, raising more than $8 million for MWR activities.
Check out three military-connected runners who will participate in this year’s race on Oct. 9:
Former Army Maj. Amanda Pendley
Pendley, 37, joined the military just a few months after the Sept. 11, attacks and spent a decade serving both as enlisted and an officer. She ran cross country in college but took time off from serious running to have three children. A few years ago, she picked up running again, and feels like “a lot better of a runner now.”
“I guess I can tolerate a lot more after having kids, which is why I do long distances,” she joked. “I ran a full marathon earlier this year.”
BAE Systems, Pendley’s employer for the past four years, sponsored her entry into this year’s ATM. It will be her first, and she’s aiming for a “nice, comfortable eight-minute pace.”
“I’m so familiar with Army cadences that I can still hear them today when I run,” she said. “It’s a comfort thing.”
Former Army Staff Sgt. Doug Gordon
Gordon, a 68-year-old great-grandfather, is aiming for his 22nd ATM finish this year. The Ohio resident didn’t let knee surgery five years ago keep him from completing the New York City Marathon that same year, so why should he stop now?
“I think as I’ve gotten older, our times are slower, but we just have a great time,” said the former Signal Corps member.
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The “our” for Gordon is himself and his 33-year-old daughter Abigail, his longtime ATM running buddy. The first time she joined Gordon for an ATM, she was just a teenager. Now, Abigail is a married career woman with three children.
“For Abigail to still want to do this with me, it means everything,” he said. “If I could only run one race, it would be this one.”
Gordon used to have an 89-minute ATM time, but now he’s hoping for less than two hours. Either way, he’s simply happy to be racing. A good friend who has inspired Gordon’s jogging journey died last year ― while running.
“We still race; we still go out to do well, but we have a bigger picture of what’s truly important,” Gordon said.
Navy spouse Judi Wright
Wright, a 41-year-old Navy civilian employee married to a retired Navy intelligence specialist, calls herself “not a runner, but trying to be.” She has never completed 10 miles. But when her 37-year-old brother Robert died from bile duct cancer in June, she wanted to do something to improve her physical health and honor him.
After all, Robert had competed in a 5K race while undergoing chemotherapy. So his big sister signed up for the ATM.
“If he can do this, I can do this,” Wright told herself. “There’s no way I can bail out.”
Wright has been running and walking every other day or two days to train. The Couchto10K app has also been helpful. She recently finished seven miles for the first time and called it “a killer.”
“But I did it, and it felt good after,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m a runner as much as a run/walker, but I’m determined to finish this race.”
Imagining herself crossing that Army Ten-Miler finish line surrounded by thousands of military members and military-connected athletes makes Wright a bit nervous. She might cry, she admitted.
“I think it will be an amazing experience,” she said. “I’ve come so far in all my training to be able to be there with all these people.”