Hundreds Compete for Top of the Rock
October 10, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- The Soldiers line up at starting line. It's the beginning of a hot, muggy day at Fort Stewart, but the temperature is far from most runners' minds right now. The fort is quiet except for a few birds and moving cars, then someone yells, "Go!"
The runners take off down Bundy Avenue, some giving a tenacious glance toward the memorial trees on Warrior's Walk, which stands adjacent to their start point, maybe a silent 'thank you' to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice that they could run today. Others run with their eyes straightforward, dead set on the finish line.
The Top of the Rock Run is a 5k/10k run that is held by Fort Stewart MWR almost every year.
"First Brigade did well this morning," said Command Sgt. Major Edd Watson, 1st Brigade Combat Team Command Sergeant Major, "The 1/41 Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen took 2nd place in his age group, 2/7 Infantry Command Sergeant Major Shawn Cook took 1st place in his age group, and two females from 1/3 BTB took 2nd place in their age groups."
But it wasn't just a good morning for 1 BCT.
"We had about 200 runners today, and of course there's always competing things going on during the weekend," said Col. Todd Buchs, Garrison Commander for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field. "Families are trying to do things together and Soldiers are out enjoying the coastal Georgia events and activities, so it was a great turn out."
However, it wasn't the best turn out in recent history, said Randall Walker, Intramural Sports Director for MWR, "Last year we didn't get to run it because everybody was deployed, but two years ago we had a lot of company support, so we had a large turnout of Soldiers, especially units for team competitions, and there was about 600 that showed up two years ago because of that, about 300-400 were Soldiers in team competitions.
With some of the Soldiers still deployed, we still have 4th Brigade out, so we had a pretty good turn out with 200. I was really impressed. We also had a good turn out from the Families. We try to do the Top of the Rock Run once a year; the only thing that stops us is deployments."
"It took a lot of hard work," continued Walker. "Getting everything together and getting input from everybody else in MWR doing their bit to make it work and it showed." The end of the Top of the Rock Run does not signify a break for Walker though. "MWR has a lot of events coming up, including the Sesame Street USO tour this Friday and Saturday; the 25th of October we have the Great American Yard Sale coming up, and that's a great chance for Soldiers and Families to sell some of their items that they're tired of or tired of seeing. There will be a lot of people out there both selling and buying. Right now we're focusing on Marne Week for next month, and I know there's a fun run that's going to be a part of that, and most likely a Division Run, so we may have to wait awhile to hold one ourselves. We're looking at the June time frame for our next run."
"This run was just another great event for the installation," said Buchs. "We tried to get our Soldiers, Families, and everyone together for a fun event, and this was just that. We had some serious competitors out here today, and then we had Families come out and run together, so it was just an awesome day. We even had some units come out and run together, so it just made for a perfect day. We always try to put these events together for our Families, and as you know, we do this throughout the year and it's just another great event where we can pull people together. It's more than just a competition, it's a social thing to do as a community, and that's why we are so strong as a community."
Women's 5k Overall
1st Amber Neely, 26, 22:01
2nd Michelle Lartigue, 39, 22:38
3rd Tara Ochoa, 39, 22:44
Men's 5k Overall
1st Andrew Lopez, 16, 18:15
2nd Stephen Aiton, 40, 20:28
3rd Michael Kowczey, 38, 20:31
Women's 10k Overall
1st Miranda Cason, 27, 48:47
2nd Monica Lopez, 46, 50:00
3rd Caniece Thomas, 27, 50:14
1st Riguberto Cisneros, 25, 38:06
2nd Felipe Vega, 39, 38:13
3rd William Webster, 22, 38:27
1st C Troop 3/7 Calvary: Felipe Vega, William Webster, Brad Giandomenico, Benjamin Concepcion, Ryan Folan, Jorge Soto, Brad Guernsey, Joseph Faulkner, Paul Fry, and Jeremy Simon, 7:23:39
2nd C Troop 3/7 Calvary: Lamar Glover, Robert Huffman, David Laumeyer, Zach Lawson, Preston Gregory, Jason Mathis, Bishnu Rambharose, Benjamin Philbrok, Derek Ryals, Clay White, 8:03:40
3rd Youth Challenge Academy Team: Cornelius Manning, Joshua Berryman, Jorge Rodriguez, Justin Gates, Deon Lewis, Darel Dunlap, Demetrius Newman, Sebastian James, Dylan Williams, Ricky Morand, 9:16:16