Guard members, USO partner to host virtual Army Ten-Miler event
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Chad Menegay, Ohio National Guard
COLUMBUS, Ohio (10/11/20)
About 30 runners completed a virtual Army Ten-Miler Oct. 11, starting and finishing at Dodge Park near the city’s downtown as part of an informal event supported by the USO and initiated by a group of Ohio National Guard members.
Traditionally held each October in the Washington D.C. area, the 36th annual Army Ten-Miler is being conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a designated eight-day window — from Oct. 11-18 — for participants to complete their run, and they can download the ATM Runner Experience App to record their times and compare their results with competing runners around the world.
“A few of us were talking about how we usually go to D.C. and do the Army Ten-Miler,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Lee Scott, the Ohio Army National Guard personnel information systems manager. “Since they went virtual, we said ‘hey, we should get together and do something in town, and it blossomed from five or six of us into 32 registrants. I think people are hungry to do stuff together.”
To satisfy another type of hunger, the USO of Central and Southern Ohio made sure that participants could eat together, providing snacks, bars, bananas and water at the start and finish. They also brought pizza for lunch after the race.
“Always food, that’s what we do as the USO, support events,” said Jackie Spector, a volunteer coordinator for the USO. “Anytime the military is there, that’s where we are.”
A few Ohio National Guard members volunteered to run water points.
Several runners said they ran personal bests and many submitted their times officially to the 2020 Army Ten-Miler Virtual Race via the ATM Runner Experience App.
Two runners of special note were Gracie and Cowboy, a Labrador and red golden retriever, respectively, of the Sarah and Lt. Col. Nicholas Chou family, who started and finished alongside and leashed to Lt. Col. Chou, an Ohio Army National Guard chaplain. At the culmination of the race, the four-footed runners were showered with water, hugs, toys and treats, and they moved to bathe and cool off in the nearby Scioto River.