Army Race Bars Defense Sponsorships

Article excerpt

Defense contractors no longer will be allowed to finance the Army Ten-Miler, nor will a powerful defense lobbying group be allowed to share in the race's profits, according to sweeping changes in the Army's organization and management of the nation's largest 10-mile road race.

The changes, announced late last week by Secretary of the Army Togo D. West Jr., resulted from an independent panel investigation into the race, which is expecting a record 9,000 entrants Sunday. The panel was established after The Washington Times reported in April that the race violated Army and Department of Defense policies and also risked losing its USA Track & Field sanction and insurance because of safety concerns on the course.

The panel was made up of representatives of the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, the Army Audit Agency, the Army Inspector General, and the Army General Counsel.

The course, which begins at the Pentagon, has been modified at the start and finish, and it has received its USATF sanction. Race officials also are adding fencing to help guide runners, improving communication on the course, and trucking in water for runners so they won't have to rely on the city's much scrutinized and often questioned water supply.

The Army decided to eliminate its practice of soliciting commercial sponsorship money from defense contractors such as Raytheon, Boeing Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter Textron in return for advertising space on the race's T-shirts, applications, bib numbers and start/finish banners.

Race officials had known since a 1993 Army Auditor General audit of the 1992 race that such defense contractors were not permitted to sponsor a Morale, Welfare and Recreation event, which the Army considers the Army Ten-Miler. Defense contractors paid their sponsorship fees to their lobbying arm, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), which in return wrote a check to the Army for the race. …