Runners take to APG-South Streets for ECBC Gas Mask Dash

Event pays tribute to legacy of warfighter protection

CCDC Chemical Biological Center Public Affairs | May 4th, 2018


Runners at the start of ECBC's Gas Mask Dash 5K run and 2-mile walk at CAPA Field on May 3.

More than 200 runners and walkers turned out for the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) Gas Mask Dash five-kilometer race and two-mile walk on Thursday, May 3.

Starting at CAPA Field on a perfect sunny spring day, ECBC employees, friends and family members ranging in age from 10 to over 60 ran or walked a course that meandered through the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Instead of firing a starting gun, ECBC Program Integration Director Paul Tanenbaum, Ph.D., started the race by sounding a vintage 1942 M-1 gas attack alarm. The gas mask theme was a tribute to Edgewood Arsenal’s legacy of gas mask design and production starting in World War I.

The event was open to the public. The top overall finishers received trophies and the top runners in each age group received commemorative medallions. The overall winner, who came in at a time of 18 minutes and 18 seconds for a pace of 6:06 per mile, was Jared DeCoste, an ECBC research chemist. The fastest woman, at 22:47, was Lisa Smagala, chief of ECBC’s Systems Engineering Branch.

For the second year in a row, Abigail Horsmon, daughter of two ECBC research biologists, ran the race. This year she placed second overall among female runners with a time of 22:50, beating her time of last year by more than three minutes.

“I’ve been running for four years, and I train with my mom and dad. This year my dad helped pace me so I did much better,” said Horsmon. “Everyone cheering me on was nice.”

father and daughter run team
Ten-year-old Abigail Horsmon, daughter of two ECBC research biologists, placed second overall among female runners with a time of 22:50.

It was the second year for DeCoste, too. “Last year I came in fourth place, but I’ve been training for a marathon which I ran a month ago, so I came into this race in really good shape,” said DeCoste. “The camaraderie everyone feels coming out here to run together is great, I hope it becomes a yearly thing.”

The Linda Flint, race committee chair, is confident that it will. “We’re already organizing next year’s race,” she said.

A two-mile version of the Gas Mask Dash was an annual ECBC event from the 1960s up until Sept. 11, 2001, when Aberdeen Proving Ground was closed to the public. It was revived last year as part of ECBC’s series of centennial events and proved to be so popular that the organizing committee stayed together and planned this year’s race.

Tanenbaum is glad to have the race back, too. “It’s a wonderful ECBC tradition, a great way to support wellbeing and healthy living, and it’s fun to get out with our colleagues on a beautiful spring day.”

Run winners
Winners in each category pose with ECBC Program Integration Director Paul Tanenbaum, Ph.D., and ECBC Research and Technology Director Frederick Cox, Ph.D., after the ECBC Gas Mask Dash 5K run.

Overall Winners

Jared DeCoste 18:18
Luis Navarro 18:38
Kevin Russell 18:41

Lisa Smagala 22:47
Abigail Horsmon 22:50
Rebecca Brown 23:21

Age Group Winners
Male 19 and under

John Jadovitz 21:53

Male 20-29
Brendan Fries 22:17

Male 30-39
Ryan Dunn 18:47

Male 40-49
Michael Pantalone 20:44

Male 50-59
David McGarvey 20:55

Male 60+
Mike Trott 27:31

Female 19 and under
Savannah Horsmon 32:34

Female 20-29
Megan Cahill 24:00

Female 30-39
Kelly Basi 24:07

Female 40-49
Lorrie Chieffo 23:49

Female 50-59
Gail Viscarra 26:49

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (CCDC Chemical Biological Center) is the Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. The Center has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the armed forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service. The CCDC Chemical Biological Center is located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.