SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Army News Service, Jan. 23, 2007) - While many Soldiers set their sights on the Army Ten Miler, Sgt. Maj. Ruben "Ben" Cavazos keeps his on the 100-mile Hawaiian Ultra Running Team Endurance Run.
The 8th Human Resources Sustainment Command Soldier completed the annual run Jan. 12-13 in 31 hours and 53 minutes.
The course includes a 20-mile loop that covers a series of trails starting at the Hawaii Nature Center, through Tantalus, Manoa, Nuuanu and back. The runners must complete five loops on the course, which is considered - by Cavazos and others who have run the course - one of the hardest in the world because of the terrain, humidity and other factors.
"I'll probably hit a wall at about 30 to 40 miles, but I already know what to expect," Cavazos said one day before the race. "The terrain is rough with very little flat areas to run. Many areas are uphill or down."
Cavazos began training for his sixth consecutive year in the race last August. Every other day he ran from 4 to 7 a.m. On alternating days, he ran from 6 p.m. to midnight. On average, he said he ran 15 to 20 hours per week.
The 40-year-old credits Army training for his physical and mental strength.
"If I deployed today, there wouldn't be a bad guy out there who could beat me," said Cavazos, whose unit is expected to deploy this summer.
"When I was out there in pain I could keep on moving, because I am trained to do so," he said. "I tell my Soldiers that pain is temporary and glory is forever."
The annual run is also a family affair. Cavazos' wife, Bev, and sons B.J. and Peter join him for various segments.
"We're the pit crew," said Bev, who traditionally runs the last 20-mile loop with her husband.
She keeps Cavazos' eyes on the prize and motivates him to keep going, he said. Similarly, B.J. runs the third loop with his father, which is usually from 6 p.m. to midnight on the first day. Peter, age 5, cheers his dad on from the sidelines.
While Cavazos is convinced that the love and support of friends and family keeps him on track during the course, people who know Cavazos also credit his energy, discipline and mental strength.
Maj. Jay Edwards of the 556th Personnel Services Battalion ran with Cavazos on the fourth loop, between 1:30 and 7:30 a.m.
"It was all him Cavazos out there. His energy drives the rest of us to be our best," Edwards said.