The Army turns 237 this year, and while most people celebrate birthdays with cake and a party, the 05-30-12-10milers.jpgArmy has another tradition, at least at Fort Bragg. On June 8, join Fort Bragg FMWR for the 16th Annual Army Birthday 10-miler and celebrate with our nation’s finest.

Steve Johnson is one of the event organizers. He’s been a part of this event since its inception.

“I’ve been doing this since 1996,” said Johnson. “The commander at the time wanted to have Fort Bragg represented at the Army 10-miler with a team, so we were tasked to find the best runners. Having a 10-miler that would serve as a qualifier is what we came up with.”

It worked then, and it still works. Each October, Fort Bragg sends a men’s team, women’s team and master’s team (over 40 age group). This year the installation is also sending a sergeant’s major team to run the Army 10-miler in D.C.“

Last year, we sent three teams and all three won,” said Johnson. “The women’s team has been really dominant at the Army 10-miler for the last 16 years.

”While it is a qualifier for the Army 10-miler, the race is also an event to honor soldiers and to celebrate the Army’s birthday. Johnson said that for the last three years, about 2,000 runners have showed up and crowds like that require a little support from the installation.

The route needs to be secure, which means there are about 150 soldiers guarding parking lots and side streets. The runners require adequate medical coverage, which takes six ambulances and about 40 medical personnel. The many fluid stations and seven aid stations require another 120 people.

Johnson considers the event a success when it is all said and done and everyone has a good time.

“I think that when participants have an enjoyable experience, that is gratifying for the people who worked to support the event,” he said.

The public is invited and runners can enter through June 7 up until 5 p.m. There is no registration on race day.

Runners report to Sedgewick Stadium at 6 a.m. Pre-race instructions follow at 6:20 a.m. The course starts at Sedgewick Stadium on Long Street, meanders through Keerans, Taylor and Spooner Streets, crosses Long Street onto Ardennes Street and Campbello Street on to Gruber Road. There is a turn around at Gruber Road and Zabitosky Road and runners follow the route back to Sedgewick Stadium. It is a challenging race, which is appropriate for the Army’s birthday celebration.

Through May 30, runners can register online at www.fortbraggmwr.com, or by completing the registration form and delivering it to Leisure Travel Services, which is located in the mini-mall near Reilly Road and Honeycutt Street. May 31 and June 1 and June 4-7, registration is at Funk Physical Fitness Center, on Gruber Road near Long Street.

Along with the 10-miler, the Seventh Annual Army Birthday 4-Mile Walk is scheduled for the same date and time as the run. In fact, the registration process is the same for both events. Walkers will not receive a timing tag, since the walk is non-competitive.

Find out more at www.fortbraggmwr.com.

Photo: The Army Birthday 10-miler is a Fort Bragg tradition.

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