Sara Anderson (r) of NCI meets one of the cheerers on the course as she runs the Army 10-Miler.
Competing in a 10-mile race is challenging enough. But an even more difficult undertaking may be convincing others to join you.
That was precisely the task that two NIH veterinarians
accomplished when they recruited a cadre of Public Health Service runners, including
a number of NIH’ers, for the popular Army 10-Miler held Oct. 24 in Washington, D.C.
Above, Dr. Shelley Hoogstraten-Miller (l) of NHGRI and Dr. Evan Shukan (third from l) of NINDS help bear the PHS flag. Below, team members assemble for a photo at the Pentagon before the race.
Both marathon runners themselves, Dr. Evan Shukan of NINDS and Dr. Shelley Hoogstraten-Miller of NHGRI organized 9 PHS teams totaling
some 50 runners for the race. About 30,000 runners in all took part in the 26th annual event. About two-thirds of participants are either government
employees or in the military.
“When Shelley and I participated in last year’s event, along with only two others from PHS, we said we would work for a bigger turnout,” said Shukan. “But after we started contacting people, it blossomed into this year’s huge group of 50 runners and 50 volunteers. We just never imagined when we started everything it would end up so big.”
Many good stories came out of the event, he added. While most participants were regular runners, some were former runners who had to re-train to be ready for the challenge. Others
were relative newcomers to the activity. One FDA employee who ran is a former world champion weight and power lifter, holding 18 world titles.
“It was apparent that she had little experience running, yet clearly she was a great athlete,” said Shukan, a runner for some 20 years. “It was great to see just how hard she trained for a sport she was not accustomed to.”
One achievement was that Shukan and Hoogstraten-
Miller put a positive face on PHS, helping
to “put the health” in Public Health Service. The latter participated in the event alongside Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak.
“In fact,” Hoogstraten-Miller said, “we were busy passing the PHS flag [which was attached to a pole] between us for the duration of the race.” The public relations effort left her with a sore collarbone, she admitted.
The race begins near the Pentagon, passes by the Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Capitol and loops around northwest D.C. to conclude back near the Pentagon.
The event also raised funds, and a large quantity
of lightly used running shoes, for the organization Soles4Souls. Contributions help recipients in 145 countries.
The two NIH organizers said the occasion was “a great opportunity to show other government
and military people what we [PHS/NIH] are really all about.”