FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Two members of the Defense Logistics Agency will be at the starting line for the Army Ten-Miler race Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C.
Leslie DuVal, a recreation assistant at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Fitness Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Jerrod Abel, an electronics engineer with DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, will be among the runners making their way through the nation’s Capitol region on race day.
Now in its 38th year, the Army Ten-Miler draws over 35,000 runners and 900 teams from around the world. Participants include service members and civilians, some of them wounded warriors, according to the event website. Race proceeds benefit Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
Abel ran the Army Ten-Miler in 2015 and decided to run it again this year because it was one of his favorite races.
“You always have people around you,” he said. “The dinner the night before also was fun. I got to meet the sergeant major of the Army at the time.”
This is DuVal’s first time running the Army Ten-Miler, but it’s not her first race. She’s run in several events, including the Marine Corps Devil Dog Double race in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and plans to run another 10-miler in October and a Spartan Race, which mixes distance with obstacles and endurance, in November.
She started running thanks to a friend she met at a gym.
“We turned 40 the same year,” DuVal said. “She’s only a month older than me, and she ran a half-marathon before she turned 40. She was so excited about it and told me about it. I thought, ‘Well if you can do it, I can do it.’”
As a fitness trainer, DuVal doesn’t train specifically for marathons because she teaches classes like kickboxing, strength training, cycling and water workouts. When she runs for exercise, it’s usually 6 to 8 miles at a time.
Abel started running track and cross county for Lakewood High School in Hebron, Ohio. He formed a lifelong friendship with his coach.
“He inspired me to run more and test out different areas of running,” Abel said, adding that he also gets inspiration from books, many of which were recommended by his former coach.
Abel’s been in the Army National Guard for 12 years as a wheeled vehicle mechanic and is currently serving as the motor sergeant for a military police company. He made the National Guard All-Guard Marathon Team in 2019. Prior to that, he ran one or two races a year to keep in shape, but said now he’s always ready because he races on a nearly monthly basis as part of the team.
“That’s kept me in the mindset of always staying in good shape and constantly training, not necessarily marathon training all the time, but staying on a training program of some sort,” he said. “I still do one or two marathons a year and try to get more serious with training as those get closer.”
Abel added that he’s training for this year’s New York City Marathon in November.
Running the Army Ten-Miler gives him a chance to come back to the Washington, D.C., area, where he spent several years in the National Guard.
“I’ve always enjoyed that area,” he said. “My wife and I have been talking about going back and visiting, so this is a way for us to get away for a weekend and reminisce.”
DuVal hasn’t run a race in Washington, D.C., before but said she’s planning to focus on the historic scenery during her run.