PISA, Italy - More than 250 runners from across Europe participated in the annual Camp Darby Run to the Tower road race held here Oct. 17.

Italian runner Daniele Del Nista - with a time of 40:02 minutes - finished first overall and claimed the men's title for the 12-kilometer race, while fellow Italian Gloria Marconi took the women's division with a 42:41 finish.

And while winning the race is certainly an honor, simply participating in the race for two Army civilian employees was a way to do something special for themselves.

Vicki Long, the School Age Services/Youth Services coordinator for nearby U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, walked the race in 2006. She then trained vigorously for it 2007 but was too sick to run. So this year was her first time to actually run the course.

"I turn 40 this year, and I think finishing this run is a good feat," said Long as she checked an iPod chip in her shoe. "This year I'm feeling pretty confident about finishing, and I made sure I had all of my favorite tunes ... to motivate me when I get tired."

Genevieve Torres, who lives in Illesheim, Germany, lived at Camp Darby from 2001-2003. But because her family was growing in size, she never had the chance to take part in the 26-year-old event.

"This year I decided to stop making excuses and train," said Torres. "I have four kids for whom I want to set a good example. They've seen me set goals and accomplish them so I know they will do the same."

Indeed, the focus for both women was simply finishing.

"I'm not worried about time; I'm not out to win a medal," said Long. "This is about just doing it for me."

"It's mom's day," added Torres, explaining, "this is a way I can take care of myself."

Long, who doesn't consider herself a runner, danced ballet and jazz for 10 years before she started running four years ago, when, she said, "I couldn't even run a lap around the base."

Torres, a Family Readiness Support assistant for the 3-159th Aviation Battalion, said she is very involved with a health and fitness program for spouses at USAG Ansbach.

"We have a health and wellness program called Lose to Win for spouses during deployments and some will be running in the Halloween Hustle 5K Fun Run on Storck Barracks," said Torres. "I believe spouses can always make time for themselves and fitness."

"The house doesn't have to be spotless and the kids don't need a five course meal; you have to take care of yourself first in order to be able to take better care of others," she added.

Page last updated Mon October 20th, 2008 at 06:38