Ansbach Ten-miler team trains for qualifiers
May 8, 2014
ANSBACH, Germany (May 8, 2014) -- The sun illuminates the sky earlier and earlier every day. The world is greener. And every morning well before the start of the work day, a group of Soldiers and civilians runs long distances.
The Ansbach Ten-Miler team meets weekdays at 6 a.m. at the Katterbach Physical Fitness Center. They are training to qualify for the Army Ten-Miler, a race that occurs annually in Washington D.C. in October.
The race draws thousands of U.S. service members from around the world. Male qualifiers must run 10 miles in less than 70 minutes, and female qualifiers must run 10 miles in less than 80 minutes. The group at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach trains hard not only to qualify but to make the cut to be sent by U.S. Army Europe to the event. Only the fastest six male Soldiers and fastest six female Soldiers to compete in the qualification race June 28 at USAG Bavaria near Grafenwöhr, Germany, will go to the Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C.
According to Staff Sgt. Justin Jones, one of the leaders of the Ansbach group, the runners who qualify usually run 10 miles in less than 55 minutes.
"We've got some tough competition out ahead of us," said Jones. "That's why we're out here training every morning."
The group still has time to train up for the run, and they take advantage of every day of the workweek -- as well as Saturday -- to train for the event. Mondays they run a light three- to five-mile workout. Tuesdays they sprint. Wednesdays they run for greater distances. Thursdays they run hills. Fridays they taper their exercise down. And Saturdays they run 10 to 12 miles.
First Lt. Christopher Meiser, one of the team's leaders, runs for a variety of reasons.
"I love running," said Meiser. "It's an awesome sport. It's a great community. No matter where you go, you find some runners and you find some common interests. You run miles and miles and you just enjoy yourself."
Two of the members of the group started running because of their family. Pfc. Collin Bickerstaff, while living at home, got into organized running when he got into trouble with his parents.
"My dad got me into running," said Bickerstaff. "He told me I had to do it my senior year because I accidentally hit someone's car. He said he would pay for it if I ran. And so I ran cross-country, and that took me here."
Spc. David Dravenstott made a promise to his grandmother.
"She said when you got old, you'll wish you had run more when you were young," said Dravenstott. "So I guess for me it sort of stuck. That's why I run -- to keep in shape."
Amanda Greer, a spouse with the team, helped the women's team place first and placed second in her age group in 2013. Despite her time, only Soldiers could qualify to go to the Army Ten-Miler. Her reason for running is for the running itself.
"I ran last year with the team," said Greer. "I just enjoy running."
The team also participates in community runs. The group went to Bad Windsheim for a half marathon there and ran in the Ansbach CityLauf May 4 in downtown Ansbach.
"If anybody's interested in running with us, we're open to new runners," said Jones. "A couple of months ago we could take in a beginning runner, and we could have built them up. Right now, it's more intermediate, more advanced runners [we're training]. If someone just wants to get some miles in, they're more than welcome to run with us here at 6 a.m. every day."
The group is open to any military ID cardholders 18 years and older with access to post.
On the Saturday the group meets at 9 a.m. for their endurance run. Jones added that there was no pressure when it came to the group.
"They can come out and run with us," said Jones. "If they get tired, they can turn around and come back. No pressure. It's really fun though."
Jones and Meiser do not believe the team could have happened without support from their command.
"The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Ten-Miler team qualifies for the brigade commander's sports initiative, so we do the Ten-Miler in the summer and also in the fall we do some cross-country events, so that qualifies us for two sports to satisfy his requirements," said Meiser. "So if there are any 12th [Combat Aviation Brigade] Soldiers, this is a great way to get out and take part in the commander's sports initiative."
To learn more about the Army Ten-Miler team, call the Katterbach Physical Fitness Center at 0981-183-2771 or DSN 467-2771 or visit the fitness center at 6 a.m. and meet the team in person.
To find out more about the qualifier at USAG Bavaria, select "U.S. Forces Europe Army Ten Miler (Qualifier)" in the "Related Links" section above.