2008 DC graduate returns from 10-mile race in Washington DC
By Kristen Miller
WASHINGTON, DC Running in his first Army Ten-Miler in Washington DC Oct. 9 was an amazing experience for Zachery Hendrickson, a 2008 Dassel-Cokato graduate and ROTC cadet.
Hendrickson is a senior at Bethany Lutheran College and is in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) through Mankato State University (MSU).
He is currently working on a degree in broad-field social studies with an education minor, and following completion, Hendrickson will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. This will be an eight-year total commitment for him.
Hendrickson’s inspiration to join the military came partly from his grandfather having served in the Army during World War II.
It was also a sense of duty and service to the country for Hendrickson.
“There’s a lot of ways to serve the country, but I thought this was the best way I could serve it,” Hendrickson said.
Each year, MSU’s ROTC program sends a team of six to run in the annual Army Ten-Miler, a 10-mile race promoting the Army, building morale, supporting fitness goals, and enhancing community relations.
The race starts at the Pentagon, and passes through DC landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building.
One of his buddies in ROTC who was planning to race sustained an injury and Hendrickson was asked if he wanted to participate. “And, of course, I wanted to run it,” he said.
Since he started college, running has become more of a hobby for Hendrickson and he has been able to expand it through ROTC. He has also participated in some long-distance races, including half-marathons and the 5K 9/11 run hosted by the Cokato Fire Department.
He started training for the Ten-Miler in August with the personal goal of completing it in under 67 minutes. He finished in 69 minutes.
Though he would’ve liked to have had a lower time, he was happy to be “sub-70.”
With 21,914 finishing the race (30,000 were registered), Hendrickson was 951 overall, and his ROTC team placed fourth out of 60.
“It was a very good team to be on,” he commented.
“It was an amazing experience running with fellow soldiers and people that support the Army,” Hendrickson said.
Running in Washington DC also had “a historical aura about it.”
He ran next to Olympians and “wounded warriors” who lost their limbs and were running with prosthetics.
Whenever runners passed a wounded veteran, they were sure to say “thank you,” Hendrickson noted. “It was an honor running with someone like that.”