Imagine an entire division plus a brigade running through the streets of the nation's capitol. That is the equivalent of the size of the assembled runners who competed at the 27th Annual Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C. last weekend. For Brittany, Miles and I, it all kicked off with any easy ten hour drive through some of the most scenic parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virgina. Arriving a day early to set up for the weekend's festivities, we finished with plenty of time to explore the city and were able to do a walking tour of some of the most recognizable landmarks in the nation's capitol. We walked alongside the Tidal Basin on our way by the Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, Washington Monument, and the White House to name a few.
Early the next morning, we left the couch we were surfing in nearby Arlington to give ourselves plenty of time to make the ten mile trip. The ATM Health & Fitness Expo took place at the DC Armory next to RFK Stadium, a notoriously difficult place to get to, but traffic was amazingly light and we breezed onto 395 and then 295. Then I remembered why I dislike driving in big cities. You have to wind your way through the Capitol Hill streets and it's slow-going, with stop lights and stop sign everywhere. We arrived on time and began to set up. This was our first time working an expo and we were surprised at how it was on a completely larger scale than any race day event we'd worked before.
Outside the Armory, there were military displays, musical acts, furry mascots entertaining the children, police security, members of The Old Guard playing the piccolo, drums, and flute, and a US Special Forces dirigible flying over the scene. Inside, our Driving the Sport program was one of over 85 health/fitness and military organizations exhibitors showcasing their products. Also going on inside were speakers and clinics that included combatives and MMA demonsrations and conditioning workships. I personally enjoyed watching passerbys being plucked from the audience to jump on stage and take part of the P90X2 demonstration.
The Army Ten-Miler, which is billed as America's largest 10-mile race, drew some 30,000 runners from across the globe. The weather was perfect, the course historic and the crowds extremely supportive. And while we did hear a few grumblings from runners about the course being harder than it looks, I imagine the energy and camraderie from 30,000 runners was hard to beat. The Army Ten-Miler was as advertised in terms of size, organization and inspiration!