CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ-EAST, Iraq - Spc. Patricia Mathis, 506th Quartermaster Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, pushes her body past its limits to run in marathons and to compete in physically challenging events like the recent "Sustainer Challenger" at Joint Base Balad, March 18 to 19.

Mathis, a native of Philadelphia, Penn., was selected to represent her unit in the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) "Sustainer Challenge" after winning the Marez-East Valentine's Day 10-kilometer fun run here in the women's bracket, Feb. 14.

"It was easy for me to select Specialist Mathis," said 1st Sgt. Joseph T. Walden, first sergeant of the 506th Quartermaster Co. "I knew she would out-perform the other participants."

Walden said Mathis is a natural Soldier.

"Mathis has always demonstrated exceptional versatility as a Soldier," Walden said. "She has a natural talent. She is always focused on her mission and completes every task with little or no guidance, and loves doing physical events like running and competing."

The "Sustainer Challenge" team consisted of one female and four male Soldiers. Mathis trained daily with the team to compete in the following events: a six mile road march, changing a humvee tire, M16 and M9 qualification ranges, disassembling and assembling an M2 .50-caliber machine gun and an M249 squad automatic weapon, 500-meter litter carry, Army physical fitness test (APFT) and Army combatives.

"Do not be terrified and do not be discouraged," said Mathis. "Just have faith in yourself and you can accomplish anything you put your mind into."

Mathis, who is on her first deployment, said physical fitness is important.

"I would like to be able to pick up my battle buddies off the battlefield, and I would want them to do the same for me," Mathis said.

Mathis, who admits to not being a star athlete in other sports, said she plans to compete in all the upcoming marathons during her deployment.

"I love to run," Mathis said. "I figured if I can't play any other sport, I could run. That is my sport."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16