Sendeku-Alemyehu Repeats as Army Ten-Miler Champion
Kerri Gallagher out sprints defending champion Aziza Aliyu-Abate in women's race
Posted Monday, 22 October, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the 2011 Army Ten-Miler, Army Specialist Augustus Maiyo let Tesfaye Sendeku-Alemyehu race off into the morning sun after just two miles, allowing the Ethiopian a solo tour of the Army Ten-Miler and a decisive 30-second victory.
Maiyo, a Kenyan native who gained U.S. citizenship in 2010, did not want that scenario to repeat itself on Sunday, a beautiful day for running the nation's capital. Instead, when Sendeku-Alemyehu, sporting Bib #1, launched off the starting line at the Pentagon, Maiyo was in hot pursuit, step for step. Approximately 21,912 runners participated in the 28th edition of the Army Ten-Miler, including thousands of U.S. military personnel.
But Sendeku-Alemyehu again prevailed, outkicking the 29-year-old member of the Army’s elite World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) in the final half mile for his second straight victory. Sendeku’s time of 47 minutes, 48 second was three seconds faster than last year. Maiyo clocked 47:54, 27 seconds faster than last year. Frankc Caldeira, a Brazilian Army athlete who was fourth last year, moved up a spot to third in 48:11.
“I tried to separate early but he was very strong,” 28-year Sendeku said of Maiyo.
The women’s race came down to the wire as well, and it was Kerri Gallagher of Washington, DC earning the victory with a huge personal best over her effort here last year. She led for the last six miles of the race and out sprinted defending champion Aziza Aliyu-Abate of Ethiopia in the final moments by one second in 56:09.
That chopped more than 3 ½ minutes off her result from last year. Tezata Dengersa, a Turkish citizen from Ethiopia who won here two years ago, crossed the finish line in third place, some 17 seconds behind the leader and nine seconds quicker than last year.
“I felt [Aziza] right at the very end,” said Gallagher, 23. “At Mile 9, a guy came by and said there was a woman behind me and that helped.”
It was the second consecutive Sunday that Gallagher pulled out a tight one, beating Aziza a week ago at the Rock n' Roll New York 10K by five seconds in winning that race as well, placing sixth overall.
With the triumph at the 28th running of the world’s third-largest 10-miler today, Gallagher is on a roll. A mediocre track competitor at Fordham through graduation last year, she took a job as a financial planner at Morgan Stanley in Manhattan last year and quit just a few months later to make a run at this year’s U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
Gallagher moved to Washington in late August last year and took up with two-time Olympian and American University coach Matt Centrowitz and his New Balance Pacers Racing Team.
The move to Centrowitz already is paying dividends. With confidence coming out of her New York win last Sunday, Gallagher cruised through the first four miles from the Pentagon over the Memorial Bridge past the Lincoln Memorial into downtown Washington. The course then runs past the famous Watergate apartments and under the Kennedy Center, before passing the Lincoln Memorial again at four miles. Kelly Calway, an Army Captain on the US All-Army Sports team and runner-up to Dengersa in 2010, was forcing the pace with Aziza, Dengersa and Gallagher in tow.
For her part, the 31-year-old Dengersa said her speed was down after competing in the Under Armour Baltimore Marathon eight days prior to Army. “[Gallagher] picked it up around four miles and I could not run faster,” said Dengersa, slated to run the Philadelphia Marathon in mid-November.
Shortly after four miles, Gallagher took control and flowed with ease through five miles in 27:59, with only Aziza hanging on some 10 meters back. Every so often, a spectator would yell “Go Kerri!”
“My left calf was very tight the whole way,” said Aliyu-Abate, who was competing in her fourth race in 14 days. She was runner-up in a half-marathon in Virginia two weeks ago, then ran the Rock n' Roll New York 10K and a half-marathon in Central Park last weekend, all in a lead-up to the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 4.
“I thought I would beat [Gallagher] at the end,” said Aliyu-Abate, who clocked 55:55 at Army in 2010 and sports a personal best 54:11 at the 2009 Cherry Blossom race in Washington. “But training for the New York City Marathon, I didn’t have the speed today. Last week, we were together at the finish. Today, was even closer.”
Neck and neck through the Pentagon Parking lot, up and down the ramp and onto the last straightaway, Gallagher could not shake Aliyu-Abate. Just a couple of hundred meters remaining and the finish structure in view, Aliyu-Abate grit her teeth and went into full sprint mode. She came up short.
So did Maiyo, although he did try. From the opening blast, Sendeku-Alemyehu shot out, with just Maiyo following through a 4:34 first mile and a 9:14 at the two-mile mark. They hit four in 18:49 and it became a two-man race, with a six-pack behind them consisting of four U.S. Army members and behind them four Brazilians.
The perfect weather conditions made for a mild, sunny, crisp and clear morning, and the Potomac River was flat and calm. “Last year, he took off and I couldn’t catch him,” said Maiyo, who like famed Army Ten-Miler multi-champ Dan Browne hails from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he is training for the 2016 Olympic Games (he was 10th in the 3,000m steeplechase finals at this year’s Trials). “This year, I went out hard with him. I wanted to stay with him as long as I could. I pushed the pace but I couldn’t drop him. I could have tucked in behind him but I didn’t want to run slower.”
So Sendeku-Alemyehu tucked in behind Maiyo, down Independence Avenue and back before heading over the 14th Street Bridge to the finish at the Pentagon. The Ethiopian stuck to Maiyo like glue past the Mile 9 maker, down the ramp into the Pentagon Parking Lot. Maiyo appeared to be struggling when Sendeku-Alemyehu accelerated on the last hill, a ramp over the highway. He quickly put five meters on Maiyo, then 15, then 50 with 300 meters left. Sendeku-Alemyehu then checked his watch, glanced over his right shoulder and sprinted to the finish line. He would glance over his shoulder once more with 50 meters to go and the victory was sealed – with a 4:41 final mile.
It was far from his 46:53 personal best posted at Cherry Blossom last year but competitive with his winning time here last year. Add to that Sendeku ran the Baltimore Marathon following the Army Ten-Miler last year and just eight days BEFORE Army this year. “My hamstring was still sore from Baltimore,” said Sendeku, who trains in Antioch, CA.
Philippe Rolly of McLean, Va., and Alisa Harvey of Manassas, Va., claimed the masters titles. Rolly, a 40-year-old French native turned American, has worked himself back into shape since January and ended in 53:01. The 47-year-old Harvey, overall champion here in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2006, cruised a 63:13 in her 11th Army finish.
28th Army Ten-Miler
Washington, DC, Sunday, October 21, 2012
1) Tesfaye Sendeku-Alemyehu, ETH, 47:48
2) Augustus Maiyo, USA/CO, 47:54
3) Frankc Caldeira, BRA, 48:11
4) Kyle Heath, USA/CO, 48:44
5) Robert Cheseret, USA/CO, 49:07
6) Chris Kwiatkowski, USA/MD, 49:10
7) Kenneth Foster, USA/CO, 49:11
8) Clodoaldo Silva, BRA, 49:21
9) Jormem Nascimento, BRA, 49:32
10) Joseph Chirlee, USA/CO, 49:35
1) Philippe Rolly, USA/VA, 53:01
1) Kerri Gallagher, USA/DC, 56:09
2) Aziza Aliyu-Abate, ETH, 56:10
3) Tezata Dengersa, TUR, 56:26
4) Kelly Calway, USA/CO, 56:39
5) Erin Koch, USA/MD, 57:12
6) Meagan Nedlo, USA/MA, 57:21
7) Chelsea Prahl, USA/MI, 57:25
8) Angie Zeidan, USA/VA, 57:41
9) Gina Slaby, USA/AZ, 58:05
10) Gabriela Trana, COSTA RICA, 58:25
1) Alisa Harvey, USA/VA, 1:03:13
Complete race results and more at: www.armytenmiler.com