By Steve Nearman
Arlington, VA
October 09, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Tesfaye Sendeku left little drama today at the nation’s largest 10-mile footrace, the Army Ten-Miler. Just two miles into the race along Constitution Avenue, he already was 19 seconds ahead of the field. By the midpoint near the Washington Monument, he was 38 ticks out front.

That was a wild contrast to the women’s race behind him. It turned into a battle of three international teammates with one local American closely trailing and hoping to spoil a sweep. Such were the storylines of the 27th running of the Army Ten-Miler. Staged out of the Pentagon North parking lot for the first time in at least a decade, some 23,300 starters and 21,890 finishers of the 30,000 entries enjoyed superb weather conditions – temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s, calm breezes and low humidity.

The first people to benefit from the conditions were the Golden Knights, who to a man landed on the bulls-eye near the start line as they parachuted down from high in the sky. Then off went the early starters, consisting of dozens and dozens of hand-cyclists, some visually-impaired runners, and scores of
Wounded Warriors.

It was the Wounded Warriors that moved Sendeku on this morning. While he was using the race as a long tempo run in preparation for the Under Armour Baltimore Marathon just six days away, he had other motivations for passing up a paycheck elsewhere to run Army for free.

“I didn’t care about time, I just wanted to win,” said Sendeku, who forgot to start his watch before finishing in 47:51. “I came to support the Army and the Wounded Warriors program. [Army Ten-Miler] has no prize money. It is more than the prize money. I’m very glad to run for the Wounded Warriors.” His team ran this year to honor David Wynne Francis, an Army veteran who passed away last month.

Two 28-year-olds with the Army’s World Class Athlete Program training at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, CO – Robert Cheseret, brother of U.S. record holder Bernard Lagat, and Augustus Maiyo, a Kenyan-turned-American – pursued Sendeku for most of the race and had to sort it out for second with a kick in the last 50 meters. They finished second and third, respectively, with the same time of 48:21.

The Brazilian Army team again performed admirably, placing Frank De Almeida (4th in 48:46) , Clodoaldo  Da Silva (5th in 48:56), 2008 Army champ Reginaldo Campos Jr. (7th in 49:11) and Cicero Da Rocha (8th in 49:21) in the top 10.

But the drama was in the women’s race. Teammates Tezata Dengera, Serkalem Abrha-Biset (left), and Shiferaw Tiringo-Getachew, who train together in Washington, exchanged the lead in a tight pack from early on with Amanda Rice of North Bethesda closely clinging on in fourth. They passed through five miles in 28:18 and 10K in 35:14, and it was not until shortly before nine miles on the 14th Street Bridge that Rice, a U.S. Navy lieutenant at Bethesda Naval Hospital, fell off for good and eventually ended up fourth in 57:17.

The 30-year-old Dengera, a Turkish citizen born in Ethiopia, waited until the last half mile to unleash her kick, triumphing in 56:35. Abrha-Biset, still recovering from a marathon in Montreal two weeks ago, could not respond, following five seconds later and Tiringo-Getachew was right behind her.

“I’m still tired from the marathon I ran two weeks ago in Montreal,” the 24-year-old Abrha-Biset said, clocking 56:40.

“And I knew that,” Dengera countered with a smile. “I ran the first half of the race pretty comfortable. It was according to the plan I made during training.”

Tiringo-Getachew said she was happy with third in 56:44.

For 2004 Olympian Dan Browne of Chula Vista, CA, victor here in 1997, 1998, and 2004, he was hampered by a nagging right hip injury and never challenged, struggling in at 44th place in 54:27.

Peggy Yetman of Leesburg, VA, repeated as top female master in 1:00:01 and Edmund Burke of Burtonsville, MD, took male masters honors in 52:57.

“I dropped off a little at the end,” said Yetman, a 42-year-old mother of two in training for Ironman Cozumel in November to add to three Ironman Kona podium finishes. “I went out conservatively so I wouldn’t blow up.”

Top Men
1.   Tesfaye Sendeku, ETHIOPIA/CA, 47:51
2.   Robert Cheseret, Colorado Springs, CO, 48:21
3.   Augustus Maiyo, Colorado Springs, CO, 48:21
4.   Frankc De Almeida, BRAZIL, 48:46
5.   Clodoaldo Da Silva, BRAZIL, 48:56
6.   Tariku Bokan, ETHIOPIA/MD, 49:08
7.   Reginaldo Campos Jr., BRAZIL, 49:11
8.   Cicero Da Rocha, BRAZIL, 49:21
9.   John Mickowski, Colorado Springs, CO, 49:37
10.  Charles Ware III, Wheeling, IL, 49:46

Top Masters
1.    Edmund Burke, Burtonsville, MD, 52:57
2.    Mike Scannell, Gland Blanc, MI, 53:39
3.    Liam Collins, Cortlandt Manor, NY, 54:13

Top Women
1.   Tezata Dengera, TURKEY/Washington, DC, 56:35
2.   Serkalem Abrha-Biset, ETHIOPIA /Washington, DC, 56:40
3.   Shiferaw Tiringo-Getachew, ETHIOPIA/Washington, DC, 56:44
4.   Amanda Rice, N. Bethesda, MD, 57:17
5.   Erin Koch, Chevy Chase, MD, 57:48
6.   Emily Shertzer, Jonestown, PA, 58:00
7.   Kelly Calway, Manitou Springs, CO, 58:04
8.   Emily Potter, Southern Pines, NC, 58:23
9.   Caitlin Chrisman, Charlotte, NC, 58:34
10.  Meagan Neldo, Charlotte, NC, 58:56

Top Masters
1.      Peggy Yetman, Leesburg, VA, 1:00:01
2.      Alisa Harvey, Manassas, VA, 1:01:56
3.      Bethann Telford, Fairfax, VA, 1:04:45


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