PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45) hosted the United States Space Force (USSF) inaugural T-Minus 10-Miler, Dec. 10, 2022 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Fla. Participants from across the globe got to celebrate the USSF’s birthday while admiring CCSFS’s rich history from up close and afar.
The 10-miler, which celebrates the USSF's birthday, aims to be on par with events held by sister services: Army Ten-Miler, Marine Corps Marathon, Navy 10 Nautical Miler, Air Force Marathon, and Coast Guard Marathon.
“This event has been in the works for two years, since December of 2020,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Mary Koch, 45th Healthcare Operations Squadron, diagnostics and therapeutics flight commander. “In March 2021, the steering committee, comprised of 16 individual organizations within SLD 45 reached out to the Air Force Marathon office to seek their advice on how to plan and host the 10-Miler.”
After speaking with the Air Force Marathon office, the steering committee decided to organize the event using a crawl, walk, run strategy.
“First, with the crawl approach, we hosted a 5K run on CCSFS to test our capabilities and potential interest for the 10-Miler,” said Koch. “This was the Mission Dress Rehearsal 5K held on Dec. 2, 2021.”
“What we learned from the 5K was that there was massive interest for people to run on Cape Canaveral,” said Koch. “In addition, the steering committee was able to solidify the path we would use for next year.”
After the 5K, the course for the 10-Miler was mapped out to include key historical sites representing the past, present, and future of space launch at Cape Canaveral.
“The course spans the entire history of the installation,” said Koch. “Going from the Apollo 1 Memorial, to some of our launch partner facilities, United Launch Alliance (ULA), SpaceX, and Blue Origin.”
There were parts of the course that needed to be repaired ahead of the event in order to guarantee participant safety.
Repairs included damage to roads caused by the latest hurricane season to the Apollo 1 and Apollo 7 launch sites at Space Launch Complex 34.
“The 45th Civil Engineering Squadron did a superior job repairing the road making it safer for all our participants,” said U.S. Space Force Capt. Joycelyn Fordyce 5th Space Launch Squadron, launch assurance engineer.
“Following the repairs, the next step was to host the T-Minus 10-Miler event and opening it to the general public,” said Fordyce. “This gave us the chance to put the hard work of the steering committee to use and guarantee a successful inaugural event.”
“Overall we faced many obstacles while planning and preparing for the event,” said Koch. “A couple of which were learning how to open the base to participants, transforming an active runway into a parking lot, and then reopening the runway for use the same day.”
The steering committee also made use of the Common Operating Picture for Emergency Response (COPER) program, which enabled Incident Command to respond to and dispatch Fire/EMS positioned at intervals of roughly half a mile to any and all crises along the 10-Milers route.
“Throughout the course, we can use the COPER application to check on any medical station and observe which patients are being seen,” said Fordyce.
Despite the obstacles, participants traveled from all over the globe with 2268 in person runners registered, two wheeled participants, and 595 virtual participants.
The first participant of the inaugural T-Minus 10-Miler crossed the finish line in 54 minutes, 53 seconds, making the 10-Miler a success.
“This year's event would not have been possible without the assistance of more than 500 volunteers, including Airmen, Guardians, members of the local community, and the ongoing support of the Space Force Association.” said Fordyce. “The steering committee and event staff have invested thousands of hours to ensure the inaugural 10-Miler was a success.”
After finishing the inaugural 10-Miler and commemorating the USSF's birthday, SLD 45 is eager to organize the competition again next year.
“Finally, the run phase will consist of continuing to host the 10-miler year after year while adding additional events,” said Koch.
“We are the premier gateway to space and where key historical launches happen,” said Koch. “This is the opportunity for celebration of our heritage, the Space Force as a service, and to look forward to the future as we continue to set the pace for space!
SLD 45 looks forward to hosting you at next year’s USSF T-Minus 10-Miler on Dec. 9, 2023 - Mark your calendars!