What makes one event stand out over another? Have you been to a race and left with a memorable moment? The magic comes from the first person you encounter, the volunteer.

The volunteer sets the stage for you and how you will evaluate the experience. The volunteer will help you navigate a large packet pick-up area. How many times have asked, “Where do I get my number? The volunteer comes to the rescue. Can you imagine on a sweltering day, and you come up to a water table and no one is there. How many times have you come up and there are more hands holding cups and you can not make your mind up from whom take the cup? The volunteer makes your life seamless and all you must do is run.

Do you run the race carrying the race map? If the volunteer were not on the corner the 5K could be a 10K because you took a wrong turn. How many times do you hear, “Thanks for being out here?”

The volunteer brings the magic with their dedication and the desire to have influence. When it is raining the runners will show up, but the volunteers have an option. The dedicated volunteer will be out getting wet with the runners. Take the same hot race and think about no volunteers and you must provide for yourself.

The volunteers are proud of what they do and how they do it. Each volunteer brings their personality to the race which can have the runners smiling in the middle of their pain as they compete against the clock. The first and the last runner benefit from the dedicated volunteer.

The volunteers do not receive a monetary reward but a personal feeling of satisfaction they are making that difference and bringing their own magic. There is no way to measure the warm feel the volunteer a feel at the conclusion of a race.

Every community race needs another set of hands and a smile. The volunteers are on the lookout for the safety of the runners and spectators. A runner does not slow down to let a pedestrian to cross between the runners. The volunteer will ask the pedestrian to wait before they cross.

As local road races find their footing in the post-pandemic world, along with attracting racers, they also need to be well-staffed with volunteers to handle all of those things that make a race worth running. That goes for low-key gatherings on a park trail and only gets more crucial as the scale of the race grows. The recent Parks Half Marathon alone came together with the help of more than 300 members of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club pitching in to help on race day and several days before.

The Army Ten-Miler, coming back for its 38th running after two years off, is no different than any of the community races the small and large who value the volunteers and need their support. The Army Ten-Miler wants to tap into the magic to share with the runners.

There are many reasons why a person volunteers for the Army Ten-Miler, many of which are personal. There is a connection to the military, the sport of running, and just hanging out with friends and co-workers. Volunteering is a commitment to making a difference and creating memorable moments for our participants. Volunteering is not a one-time sacrifice of time but a mutual benefit. Army Ten-Miler volunteers have fun, while adding excitement, work fast to make decisions, and are focused on the factors that achieve success.

The volunteers (soldiers and civilians) present the personality of the race. The volunteers are the first to meet the runners. The challenge is how to make the runners feel relaxed.

George Banker has served as operations manager for the Army Ten-Miler since 2003. To register visit http://www.armyten.miler.com and follow the prompts. There are limited volunteer positions for groups of ten on race day. You can send an email to George Banker at [email protected].

Gen. Dennis J. Reimer runs the 2019 Army Ten-Miler. Photo: Marathon Photos

After running his 16th Army Ten-Miler, Gen. Dennis J. Reimer, the former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, reflected on the role that physical fitness plays in today’s military, his career in the Army and his life as a runner.

This year, at age 80, he ran the course in 2:07:07. During his tenure as chief of staff from 1995-1999, he ran the course, in 1998, in 1:10:45, finishing 1,207 out of 7,933 men.

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Mel  MCM 2002Mel Williams, a Norfolk runner who finished the first 38 Marine Corps Marathons, died May 19 at 78, as a result of bone cancer. He was inducted into the MCM Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was one of two of the four remaining Ground Pounders who ended their MCM-finishing streaks in 2014. Williams made it to mile 15.

He taught physiology at Old Dominion University, where he founded the Human Performance Laboratory and Wellness Institute.

He did not run competitively while in high school or college, but his daily running routine was part of the training while on active duty in the U.S. Army. Williams served from June 1955 to June 1958 with the 11th Airborne Division, as a paratrooper medic.

The active running started in 1972 with the formation of a local running club, The Tidewater Striders out of the Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Va.

Williams led the group of six who have completed 38 of the Marine Corps Marathons through 2013. When it came to performance, he managed over the years to dominate each of his age groups since turning 40. Of his MCM finishes, he finished 21 under three hours and 33 under four hours. A back injury affected the time in 1995 which resulted in a time of 3:10:50, and a hamstring injury in 1996 resulted in a time of 3:31:26, his slowest time ever to that date. His best performance came in 1982, with a 2:34:49 finish, good for third master.

Williams ran the first Marine Corps Marathon, his third marathon,  two weeks after running the New York City Marathon. He spent the night before the race partying until 2 a.m., followed by a four-hour nap and a trip to D.C. from Columbia, Md. He ran 2:51:41  for 86th place.

In 1996, Williams set his slowest finishing time (3:31:26) to date because of a prior hamstring injury.

“I ran with a hamstring injury that I had been nursing since early September; I did not know if I would be able to complete it or not, and actually had to stop several times to stretch it out as it became somewhat painful,” he said. “However, the pain began to fade and I finished at a comfortable eight minute pace.”

Williams accepted taking rest days to ward off injuries. He preferred running in the mid morning, but pushed his workouts earlier in the summer.

“My perspective on racing is simply to finish the race, particularly marathons,” he said. “If I set an objective, such as a particular time, but do not make it, normally it does not bother me unless I made some mistake that contributed to my not making the objective.”

The final run at the Marine Corps Marathon was on October 17, 2013 in a time of 6:18:57. The back was causing the problems which resulted in running and walking for the race.

Williams was instrumental in the formation of the Tidewater Striders Running Club in the Hampton Roads area.

He published his first book, Drugs and Athletic Performance in 1974.


By George Banker
May 30, 2012
For the Washington Running Report

Karen celebrates winning her age group at the 1999 Annapolis 10 Miler.

To those who knew Karen Erb (April 11, 1951 – May 25, 2012) knew of her passion for running while being competitive it was always hidden behind the smile that she wore while she ran. It was through the heat and humidity at the Annapolis 10-Mile Run that she even smiled when climbing the bridge after the four mile mark. I had the rare opportunity on many occasions to be the one to capture her moments along the course.  I know that each time she tried to slip by but I made sure that I got my shot. To this day there is one picture that I only shared with her because she made a face which she thought that I could not get and I did. I did promise her that as long as I never got upset I would not send it to the newspaper. I can state that the picture remains in my files.

There were many Saturday morning runs with the National Capital Track Club (GNATS) from the Washington Sailing Marina off the George Washington Memorial Parkway that many miles were logged over the years. There are many runners from the Club who will remember Karen and no one can ever gauge the impact which she had on our lives. The smile she wore was contagious.

Too many were jealous because when you watched her run it was without any effort and she could not be caught. Look at her times over the years as she was very consistent and as each foot was planted it was well thought out.

I never had the time to share with Karen that each holiday season in December we sent holiday cards to each other’s family through the years and I still have the cards in my files. It is just one of those silly things which I do but now they will mean even more as they will serve as a reminder of Karen.

There are many races which Karen will not have the opportunity to run but we all have shared the road with Karen. We can still take to the roads and carry her in our hearts and thoughts.

The love of her family, Jay, Melissa, and Stephanie was that moving force.

The passion to run never fades away but Karen is just running in another place because it keeps the heart happy.

Remember that moment that Karen made you smile and cherish that for the years to come.

Karen really enjoyed the 10 mile races.


Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run

1989 15th 35-39 1:12:48
1993 9th 40-44 1:08:27
1994 10th 40-44 1:11:51
1995 25th 40-44 1:16:51
1996 7th 40-44 1:10:07
1998 2nd 45-49 1:08:01
1999 2nd 45-49 1:09:49
2000 4th 45-49 1:08:29
2002 2nd 50-54 1:13:44
2003 5th 50-54 1:14:28
2004 33rd 50-54 1:30:13
2005 10th 50-54 1:18:06
2008 6th 55-59 1:18:36


Annapolis 10 Mile Run

1993 5th 40-44 1:12:15
1994 5th 40-44 1:11:07
1995 9th 40-44 1:14:57
1999 1st 45-49 1:15:45
2002 1st 50-54 1:16:31
2003 2nd 50-54 1:16:03
2004 5th 50-54 1:20:13
2005 1st 50-54 1:14:06
2007 1st 55-59 1:16:10
2008 1st 55-59 1:17:33
2009   2:27:10


Army Ten-Miler

1992 3rd Master 1:08:43
1993 3rd Master 1:06:42
1994 3rd 40-44 1:07:52
1995 3rd Master 1:08:43
2002 3rd 50-54 1:13:45
2003 3rd 50-54 1:15:44
2004 5th 50-54 1:21:16
2005   N/A
2006 3rd 55-59 1:16:15
2007 1st 55-59 1:16:46
2008 3rd 55-59 1:25:16
2009   1:52:53
2011 3rd 60-64 1:32:53

By George Banker
Alexandria, VA
January 19, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Pacers Running Stores is proud to announce the 27th running of the George Washington Parkway Classic and 13th running of the accompany 5K on Sunday, April 10, 2011. The George Washington Parkway Classic, presented by Pacers Running Stores, boasts a USATF certified course along the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway. The 10-mile event starts at Mount Vernon Estates and the 5K starting at Belle Haven Park. The two events will end along Union Street at Oronoco Bay Park in historic Old Town, Alexandria. The event beneficiary is the Alexandria Boys and Girls Club, and Back on My Feet DC.

The race is rich in history and the period 1985-2001 the event was a 15K and since 2002 the event has been one of the area’s top 10-milers. The course affords each runner to challenge their fitness level over the point-to-point course with a couple of gently rolling hill with the last three-quarters of a mile flat straight away along Union Street. The majority of the tree lined course follows along the banks of the Potomac River. This is the event for every racing calendar.

This year’s event is expected to sell out in mid-February. Registration fees are $65 and $55 for 10 mile (open and active duty military, respectively) and $45 for the 5K.

All runners are advised to pick up their packets on one of the following days. There will no Bibs at either the start for the 10-miler or the 5K. A copy of a photo ID is acceptable to pick up a packet for another runner.

Saturday, April 2:         10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.    Pacers All Store Locations

Sunday, April 3:            12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.    Pacers All Store Locations

Friday, April 8: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.    Pacers of Alexandria (1301 King Street)

Saturday, April 9:         10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.    Pacers of Alexandria (1301 King Street)

Awards and Prize Descriptions

Pacers Runners Stores is committed to the development of American distance running and has instituted American prize money to the top five male and female in the 10-mile event:


Overall Prize Money top three male and female (10-mile only)


Time Bonus (American only in 10-miler)

Male Sub 49:30 $200               Female Sub 58:00 $200

Course Record Bonus Male Female $500

2007   Demesse Tefera            47:30   Ethiopia

2007   Tatiana Chulakh            55:39   Russia


2006   Albert Okemwa            50:39   Kenya

2005   Martha Merz                1:01:29 Alexandria, VA

Masters Prize Money Male and Female


Duplicate prizes OK (except for age group and masters)

10-Mile Age Group Awards

Medals to top three male/female

10 year age groups through 40; 5 year age groups through 80+ (No duplicate awards)

5K Awards

Merchandise to the top three males and females

10 year age groups through 40; 5 year age groups through 80+ (No duplicate awards)

Course Records

2000    Philippe Rolly                           14:48   France

2002    Heather Hanscom                     17:23   Alexandria


2000    John Tuttle                                14:49   Douglasville, GA

2002    Maria Spinnler              18:19   Hagerstown, MD

Elite Athlete Coordinator Marc Davis – [email protected] (Deadline April 1, 2011)

2010 Winners



William Mikolajczak                 17:15   Ashley Griffith   19:12


Derek Johnson                         19:10   Lisa Guide                    23:17




Steve Hallinan                           49:28   Samia Akbar                56:02


Bob Ferry                                1:02:25 Suzanna Himes 1:05:37



49th Washington’s Birthday Marathon Will Have to Wait for 2011

By George Banker Arlington, VA January 21, 2010 For the Washington Running Report

We regret to announce that the 2010 George Washington Birthday Marathon has been  canceled.  The Race Directors are in the process of working out a refund  strategy and will communicate soon with all registered entrants.  Entrants may  contact the Race Directors at [email protected]

Shortly afterwards, Hamley is seen finishing the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in an age group win 35:17. In 2010, that race will be June 12th.

“This was my first time running this course. My decision to do it was a combination of the fact that in the last year or so I have switched my focus to running marathons and I live in Hyattsville, MD, which is almost next door, so I think of it as home turf. It’s really an interesting setting for a marathon, with Greenbelt’s unique history and vibe, the Agriculture research complex, and the momentarily disconnecting firing ranges that are audible from the course. It’s intriguing to be part of this smaller marathon that’s been around for so long. I hope it continues,” stated 2008 winner Christopher Hamley (2:42:15).

On Sunday, February 14, 2010 (Canceled) the DC Road Runner’s Club will host the 49th Washington’s Birthday Marathon (WBM) and the 22nd three-person relay. The race is located in Greenbelt, Maryland on the grounds of US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agriculture Research  Center. This is the race your mother warned you about. The event does not offer the crowds of the Marine Corps Marathon or New York but you will find the hospitality and the small crowd flavor where runners are taken care of. You can be prepared for 18 hills and three loops with the excitement of a hill at mile 25. The race is a prime trainer for the Boston Marathon.

The USATF certified course has the three lops which run counter clockwise with a distance of 9.7 miles, 7.3 miles and the last 9.2 miles. The both events start at 10:30 a.m. and the common exchange point for the relay is the USDA  Visitor Center. There are course marshals at key intersections and fluid replenishment stations along the course. The strategy is to take advantage of the flat sections of the course and use moderation to negotiate the hills. The first loop is the confidence builder. The runners who respect the hills always finish strong. The course is ideal for training as it will point out your weak points and your ability to change your movements between flat and hill running.

The registration fees are $35 for the marathon and $48 for the three-person relay teams (Postmark February 4, 2010).  Race day registration is $40 (marathon) and $60 (team). On-line registration located at www.dcroadrunners.org.

Packet pick up and late registration will be at the Greenbelt Holiday Inn, Saturday, February 27, 2010, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Race day pick up will be 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Greenbelt Youth Center (90 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD 20770). The start line is a five minute walk.

The host hotel is the Greenbelt Holiday Inn, 7200 Hanover Drive,  Greenbelt, MD 20770 (301-982-7000). Rates are guaranteed through February 2, 2010 and request the marathon rate.

To break the event records for the marathon will require a strong desire and determination:

Hamley adds, “For me, the three loop course is very psychologically helpful, it divides the race into distinct manageable sizes, helps with pacing and being cautious about the hills. I had driven and run the course once before, but still didn’t have a sense of how hard it would be in a race. I had run a ½ marathon two weeks  before and then made sure to be really well rested, fed and hydrated…so the hills just  didn’t seem too bad and I was surprised (and quite happy!) to still feel strong going up  them in the terrible 20’s. I didn’t take that for granted. I was hoping to finish somewhere between 2:40 and 2:45, and that’s what happened. For a bit of wind, the weather was almost perfect. I like the course and its hills too.”

“I am so honored to be first master woman. It was my first time running the race. I didn’t know it had 18 hills. I do run in the mountains when I go back to Japan, where we have many serious hills. It is not because I was awarded, but I would strongly recommend this race to anyone if they don’t mind the unpredictable weather. It was really challenging course and super well organized. I truly enjoyed the course and the people. If I will run the race again, I will train for hills more, so that I feel more comfortable dealing with it,” stated Yoshiko Jo of Swarthmore, PA, 2008 master winner with a time of 3:37:30 (13th fastest winning time).

“This is my first DNF. I selected this race because I needed a training run and thought it would be good. I didn’t know the difficulty of the course. That hill at the end is just not even funny! What’s up with that? Oh, it was brutal to even walk up it and I train on hills in Frederick. I did learn a lot from the race as I need to pace myself better. I also learned that the last .2 miles of any marathon, whether I run the whole thing or not, is going to be the longest .2 of my life LOL,” stated Jennifer Sheriff of Ijamsville, MD.

There are five division for the three-person relay, open men and women, master men and women, and coed.

Marathon runners are permitted to run on a relay team but they must run the first leg. A relay runner can only run one leg. The relay offers a good workout and the distances are 9.7 miles, 7.3 miles, and 9.2 miles.

Volunteers are an integral part of the race and on race day they are needed to serve as course marshals and to assist at the water stops. If you are not able to run your support is appreciated or passes the information along to others. The point of contact is Pat Brown or 703-576-5765.

Full race details and registration located www.dcroadrunners.org.


Author George Banker will be there for his 77th carreer marathon. In the brightroom.com photo below, he is seen taking an even longer trip through the woods at the JFK 50 Mile. This 2006 photo is the start of four straight years.


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