Runners compete in the annual Annapolis Ten Mile Run.
Heading into the final mile of the 42nd running of the Annapolis Ten Mile Run, at the top of the Naval Academy Bridge, Arlington, Virginia's Desta Beriso Morkama and Gaithersburg's Chris Sloane jockeyed for the lead.
The race was tight, but Morkama was able to pull away and finish in 53 minutes and 34.24 seconds. Sloane finished less than five seconds behind him. No other runner came within 59 seconds of either.
Julia Roma-Duval won the female championship with a time of 60 minutes and 30.33 seconds.
"The course is a little hard, but I was very excited for the race," said Morkama, who was running the race for the first time.
This summer has turned into something of a rivalry for Morkama and Sloane. They both ran in the Crystal City Twilighter 5K race in Arlington last month, where Sloane edged Morkama by a single second for first place.
"I feel we are very evenly matched and it makes it exciting to watch," said Sloane, who was running for the second time. "Desta and I have a mutual respect for each other. We both push ourselves towards our limits and we both have similar strengths, which makes it hard for us to beat each other. He has a very good finishing kick at the end of every race, so I try to prepare for it best I can when racing him.
"At Crystal City, I was able to get that last gear to catch him. Today, I didn't have another gear at the end, which is just the way it goes sometimes. But I always go into the race with the mindset of running my best, and if in position, go for the win."
Participants couldn't ask for better conditions for a late summer race.
More than 3,000 runners lined up outside Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, temperatures hovering around 70 degrees with partly cloudy skies overhead. The relatively cool weather was a welcome feeling for runners who have to deal with a course that features multiple challenging hills.
"It's a very hard course, but fun," said Chantilly, Virginia's Christine Westcott. "It's very hilly, but for every uphill, there's a downhill. You really have to run it smart."
This year's race started in the west parking lot of the stadium, adjacent to Farragut Road, then turned right, down Rowe Boulevard. Runners continued onto Bladen Street before hanging a right in front of the Maryland State House. From there the course continued onto Church Circle before letting off on historic Main Street.
"It's neat running down Main Street in the morning when no one is there," said Washington, D.C.'s Tom Kelly. "It's kind of quaint."
Runners continued past the City Dock and turned left at Gate 1 of the Naval Academy before heading up King George Street and turning right on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard. After crossing the Naval Academy Bridge, runners veered to the right where Rt. 648 splits from Rt. 450, taking Rt. 648 up to where it meets Rt. 50, before circling back. Runners crossed the bridge once more, then returned back to the stadium.
"It's a challenging course with the hills, especially on the other side of the Severn River," said Kelly, who finished fourth overall. "It's a very pretty course. I've run it since 2013, because my mom has a bed and breakfast in the area. I come visit her and run it."
Kelly, who was referring to the Chez Amis Bed and Breakfast Inn on East Street, highly praised the amenities provided by Annapolis Striders, who facilitate the race.
"It has a community sense to it," said Kelly. "All the water stops, all the people volunteering throughout the course. Once you finish the race, they have the cool towels, the bagels, the popsicles, the bananas. They treat you really well."