- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Brazilians are coming.

Stoked by their dominating performances at last year’s Army Ten-Miler, the Brazilian Army Running Team returns Oct. 5 for this year’s race.

Last year, soldiers Jose Ferreira, Reginaldo de Oliveira Campos Jr. and Josueldo Nascimento, 3rd Sgt. Marcelo Vecchi and Cpl. Weder Ferreira finished first, second, third, fourth and sixth at the United States’ biggest 10-mile footrace.

The Brazilians grabbed the top team prize, handily outrunning the Atlanta-based Foot Solutions team, led by Tamrat Ayalew’s fifth-place effort. A couple of weeks later, the Ethiopian ran away with the Marine Corps Marathon.

According to Edilia Vieira da Rosa from the Brazilian Military Attache Office in Rockville, all five Brazilians have committed to run the Army Ten-Miler again this year.

Once again, the race sold out in a hurry. All 26,000 spots were reserved by April 21. And as always, the race benefits Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers and their families. The network helps with many things from child development, day care and after-school programs to deployment assistance, official travel lodging, relocation aid, career services, financial management, family counseling and social/support networks for single soldiers, families, retirees and civilians.

And as has been the case since after the Sept. 11 attacks, video and audio devices (CD or DVD players, mobile phones, and MP3 players, etc.) are prohibited on the race course. These items will be taken away at the metal detectors near the starting line.

According to Army Ten-Miler staff: “ATM supports USATF Rule 144.3(b) and USATF’s position on prohibiting these video/audio devices in race competition because of the safety issues they present.”

Also barred from the course are strollers, roller blades, skateboards, animals, backpacks and anyone without a bib. The race does allow heart rate monitors, water bottles, GPS watches, medical kits and gel packets, although water belts and fanny packs could be searched.

Army Ten-Miler weekend has some interesting events, starting with the press conference Friday at the Expo at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Crystal City. This is your chance to talk live with the shadow runners in Iraq and Afghanistan via Tandberg Video Conference.

Local celebrities will conduct free seminars: “Successful Event Planning Through Project Management Clinic” by race director Jim Vandak; “Running Gear Clinic” by Chris Farley, owner of Pacers Running Stores; and two “Runner Clinic” sessions by accomplished runner Alisa Harvey and two-time Olympian Meredith Rainey Valmon.

Gebrselassie runs again - History’s greatest distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie, ran the 10,000 - not the marathon - at the Beijing Olympics (citing pollution). Sunday, he will chase after his third Berlin Marathon title for a huge paycheck and maybe a world record. No wonder the 35-year-old Gebrselassie calls Berlin his lucky city: He set the world record there last year.

Gebrselassie placed sixth in the Olympic 10,000 last month in 27:06.68, a ways off his personal best 26:22.75 from 1998, which still stands as the second-best time ever. He did win 10,000-meter Olympic gold in 1996 and 2000.

Gebrselassie’s inaugural Berlin run in 2006 ended in 2:05.56, but it was his 2:04:26 last year at Berlin which shattered Paul Tergat’s world mark of 2:04.55, also set in Berlin, in 2003.

Geb told the Associated Press last week: “I cannot predict any time this year but as I told you, I know I can run two hours, three minutes.”

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