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Posted: October 5, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Reta, Akbar Set Course Records at Army Ten-Miler

>Race record of more than 21,000 finishers in country's second largest 10 mile

By Steve Nearman, Running USA wire

ARLINGTON, Va. - (October 4, 2009) - American distance star Samia Akbar had some unfinished business to close at Sunday's Army Ten-Miler at the Pentagon.

Cheated out of the event record during the 2005 race by a bomb scare which turned the nation's second largest 10 mile footrace into an 11.2-mile fun run, Akbar promised that day four years ago to one day come back and nail it.

As fortune would have it, her fall racing season was not quite aligning for a marathon attempt so she ran a half-marathon in her birthplace of Philadelphia last month and set her sights on Army near Herndon, Va. home.

With perfect racing conditions and great conviction, the 27-year-old American University graduate shattered the 14-year-old event record by a huge 55 seconds in 55:25.

"It's four years in the making," said Akbar, coached by Alan Webb's former coach Scott Raczko. "It's a really special race. It's the Army, the military, people come from around the world. Last time I ran here it was a bomb scare and nobody's time counted. I was thinking today that my time was a big cheer for all those whose times didn't count in 2005."

By the time Akbar completed, another event record had been set in the 24th running of the Army's pride and joy.

Alene Reta, an Ethiopian training in Manhattan, chopped 33 seconds off the men's event record, turning back the very man who set that mark in 2004, Dan Browne. In the process, Reta knocked some 18 seconds off his personal best for the distance with his 46 minute, 59 second performance.

"I heard he was coming," the 6-foot-2, 140-pound Reta said of Browne, champion here in 1997, 1998 and 2004. "You never know who will be first or second. My plan was I want to win. Everybody comes to the race thinking they want to win."

Browne, the intense competitor that he is, certainly came to win. Instead, Reta forced Browne to his limits, blasting the first mile in 4:35, three miles near the Watergate Hotel at 14:00 and 23:14 for five near the Washington Monument.

The mid-split put Reta some 32 seconds ahead of the record and left Browne gasping for air after coming down from altitude training.

"Every day is different and you never know who you are going to complete against," said Browne, a 2004 double Olympian who is stationed near San Diego as he re-entered the Army's World Class Athlete Program. "I was pushed harder than I've ever been pushed here. I just put it all out there."

From the beginning out of the Pentagon, it was immediately a three-man race with Reta (age 27), Browne (35) and Tesfaye Girma (27), a fellow Ethiopian living in New York City and a frequent competitor to Reta.

After five miles, while Reta was slowly pulling away from Browne, Girma was losing ground in third. By eight miles along the National Mall on Constitution Avenue, Reta was ahead by 25 seconds and Browne was struggling in second with Girma far behind.

Then Girma surged and caught Browne in the next half mile, on the long, lonely 14th Street Bridge. Girma attempted to reel in Reta but the gap was too big. He still did finish under Browne's record in 47:20, with Browne third in 47:49.

Akbar didn't lead from the start, going out conservatively while early leader Muluye Gurmu, a 25-year-old Ethiopian training in nearby Silver Spring, Md., shot out in 5:10 for the first mile and 16:28 for three.

A mile later, Akbar moved into the lead and relaxed through a five-mile split of 27:44. Up 26 seconds on Susan Molloy's 1995 record, Akbar never looked back, and had she, Akbar would not have seen any other women anyways.

Katie Read of Arlington was second in 56:39, Gurmu third in 57:20, Beijing Olympic marathoner Gabriela Trana of Costa Rica dropped a spot from last year to fourth in 58:56 and Emily Potter of the World Class Athlete Program stationed at Fort Lee, Va. was fifth in 59:47.

The husband-wife team of Sergey and Elena Kaledin swept the Masters divisions (40 and older). The Russians from Tacoma, Wash. clocked 52:34 and 1:00:35, respectively. She was ninth among women.

Some 21,654 athletes started and a race record 21,232 finished among the 30,000-plus registered.

24th Army Ten-Miler
Washington, DC, Sunday, October 4, 2009

MEN
1) Alene Reta (ETH / NY), 46:59*
2) Tesfaye Girma (ETH / NY), 47:20 
3) Dan Browne, (USA / CA), 47:49
4) Fikadu Lemma, (ETH / MD), 49:16 
5) Jose Ferreira (BRA), 49:20 
*event record (previous record, 47:32, Dan Browne (USA), 2004)

WOMEN
1) Samia Akbar (USA / VA), 55:25*
2) Katie Read (USA / VA), 56:39
3) Muluye Gurmu (ETH / MD), 57:20
4) Gabriela Trana (CRC), 58:56
5) Emily Potter (USA / VA), 59:47
*event record (previous record, 56:20, Susan Molloy (USA), 1995)

Complete results at: www.armytenmiler.com.


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