ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, Jan. 31, 2007) - Staff Sgt. Barry Brill, an endurance runner and bicyclist, has been selected as the Army's 2006 Male Athlete of the Year by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.

Brill, 35, averaged 70 to 80 miles per week on training runs last year while serving as a military policeman in Ansbach, Germany. As a member of the U.S. Army-Europe team, he finished 120th among 16,676 competitors with a time of 59 minutes, 44 seconds in the 22nd running of the Army Ten-Miler at the Pentagon on Oct. 8.

Two weeks later, Brill was 68th among 20,934 finishers in the 31st running of the Marine Corps Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 52 minutes, 54 seconds - the fastest of his 10 marathons.

"The Marine Corps Marathon is so famous because Al Gore and Oprah Winfrey ran it, but the spectators realize that it originally was designed for the Armed Forces competition, the race within the race," Brill said. "So if you're wearing one of the Armed Forces' jerseys, the people go crazy. They've got banners on the side of the road saying: 'Go Army!' and 'Go Navy!' It's just crazy the amount of people who are cheering you on and pushing you forward."

Brill then returned to Germany and finished third in the U.S. Air Force Europe Regional Cross Country Championships with a 37:03 clocking for 10 kilometers. In December, he finished fifth among 650 runners in the Ciebengebirgs Marathon, a 26.2-mile cross-country run, with a time of 2:58:55.

Brill posted top-40 finishes at the ING Brussels Marathon in Belgium (34th of 882 runners), the Regensburg Marathon (36th of 1,074) in Germany and the Tirol Speed Marathon (19th of 550) in Innsbruck, Austria. He also fared well in four half marathons, including third-place performances in Ansbach, Wassertrudigen and the Tour de Hesselberg Half Marathon.

Brill is the lone American ever to finish as high as third place in the Ansbach City Half Marathon, the town's premier running event. He also volunteered to coach first-time road racers in a 20-week training program to prepare for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, scheduled for May 13. Soldiers struggling with physical fitness and weight-control issues often seek Brill for advice.

"I went a little overboard and did quite a bit in 2006," he said. "I tried to do a lot of cross-training on the bike because you can't run yourself in the ground every day. It just beats your body apart, so it's a good mix to get on the bike two or three times a week."

Although he's a member of running organization Lauftreff Ansback Nord and biking club RSG Ansbach, Brill proudly displays his U.S. Army affiliation at every event. His goal is to favorably represent the local military community and the Army in races throughout Europe.

"I make it a point when I register to sign up for the Army as a whole," Brill explained. "My long-term goal is to get accepted into the World Class Athlete Program."

In the meantime, Brill has been selected to compete for the All-Army team in the 2007 Armed Forces Cross Country Championships, scheduled for Feb. 10 in Boulder, Colo.

Assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, Brill serves as a physical security inspector and force protection specialist for the Provost Marshal Office. As the garrison's noncommissioned officer in charge of physical security, he oversees the garrison installation access control program and a 270-employee contract security guard force that ensures the safety of more than 8,500 residents.

(Tim Hipps writes for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.)

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