- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2006

Alisa Harvey earned her elite reputation by thwarting all competition on the track at 800 and 1,500 meters. Now she has left her mark on the Army Ten-Miler.

When the 41-year-old Manassas resident seized the lead yesterday before the seven-mile mark in downtown Washington, she was about to make race history — scoring an unprecedented fourth victory and becoming the oldest female to win America’s largest 10-mile race.

“I went a little early,” said Harvey, the top woman here in 1998, 1999 and 2003 as well. “I was a little nervous about the woman [Emily Brzozowski] who was with me. I wanted to test her, but I committed. I was really tired at the end.”

Harvey stopped the clock at 59 minutes flat, some 29 seconds faster than in 2003, when she entered the race with a badly injured foot. She also knocked 49 seconds off the masters record set by Martha Merz in 2002. Brzozowski trailed by 26 seconds.

Jared Nyamboki, meanwhile, saw to it that the men’s event was determined in the first five kilometers. His target was the event record of 47:32 set by decorated Army runner Dan Browne in 2004. With no help from the pack, the 30-year-old Kenyan broke the tape in 48:24, the fifth-fastest winning time in the 20 times the race has been run.

Last year’s Army Ten-Miler was re-routed in midrace when a suspicious packet on the 14th Street Bridge was discovered, turning the event into an 11.2-mile fun run. Heightened security at the starting and finishing areas and along the course yesterday was apparent.

But the event returned to its 10-mile distance for the 15,134 official finishers. About 24,000 runners applied and 16,676 started under near-perfect cool conditions.

Harvey, for one, was certainly glad it was only 10 miles. The distance is a step up for a middle-distance runner, yet by midrace she still was in the mix with four twentysomethings.

One of them was Mickey Kelly, 28, of the Army’s elite World Class Athlete Program. The Fort Carson, Colo., soldier paced the women through four miles before teammate Brzozowski jetted into the lead after a water stop. Harvey was content to tuck in behind her as they covered five miles in 29:27.

Kelly was fading at Capitol Hill and eventually finished fifth in 1:00:44. But the 27-year-old Brzozowski moved strongly, not knowing it was Harvey right on her shoulder.

“Naturally, I am a long-distance runner,” said Brzozowski, whose husband Mark was deployed to Iraq just a week and a half ago and ran in a “shadow” 10-miler held there over the weekend. “But then I started doing the [modern] pentathlon in March.”

Harvey drew alongside Brzozowski at Third Street and Independence Avenue, then quickly gapped her.

“I knew who [Alisa] was,” Brzozowski said. “I just thought, I’ll try my hardest to stay with her for the Army team, but I knew she could outkick me.”

Harvey’s two-second margin at seven miles stretched to 18 ticks a mile later.

By seven miles in the men’s event, Nyamboki was an entire city block ahead of Ethiopia’s Belay Kassa and Kenya’s Richard Ondimu, his training partners in Georgia through the Foot Solutions team, and they were another city block ahead of the Army’s Sandu Rebenciuc, who also is training for the pentathlon and was injured falling off a horse four days before the race.

Nyamboki, who splits his training in Georgia and Kisi, Kenya, and earns a living with prize money from road races, said he ran the cash-free Army Ten Miler in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon in three weeks, when he hopes to run 2:15.

“I wanted to be in D.C. and I wanted to run against the Army guys,” said Nyamboki, who said he ran a 2:14 at the 2004 Lena Marathon in Kenya. “Maybe I will join the military here.”

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