Belvoir runners unite behind Army Ten-Miler
October 8, 2009
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- As in years past, Fort Belvoir had a solid cadre of runners who participated in Sunday's Army Ten-Miler. The group included a mix of athletes who had run the Ten-Miler in the past with the Belvoir team and others who had not.
The result, however, was the same for all - hard work and team unity.
For Capt. David Dietz, assistant operations officer with 12th Aviation Battalion, running the race was nothing new - this year marked his third outing.
However, he was a new face on the Belvoir team.
"Actually, I got lucky," he said. "There was an open slot on the team, and I engaged [Headquarters Battalion commander Lt.] Col. [Kevin] McKenna to see if I could get on it. I was looking to do the race. It books up so quickly, and you have to beg, borrow and steal to get a spot."
Team captain Lt. Ruth Kelly, INSCOM's executive officer, said she knew all too well about the importance of registering early. "I learned after the first one I did to get ahead of the registration date," she said with a laugh. "I'm sort of waiting for it each year."
Kelly entered her fifth Ten-Miler this year after missing last year's race. Though she'd previously run with DeWitt Army Community Hospital's team, she was a first-timer on the post squad.
As leader of the group, she developed a training plan and schedule to keep everyone on target.
Kelly said she also relied on past team members for advice. "Several people also ran last year with Belvoir's team," she said. "They helped me out and told me about their experiences, so it gave me an idea of how to handle everything."
USASOC Comptroller Lt. Col. Rich Santiago returned for his second year on the Belvoir team. "I felt very good running with the Belvoir team again, as I enjoy representing the installation as well as spending time with individuals that are serious about maintaining a great physical condition," he wrote in an e-mail.
Rookie status or not, Santiago was grateful to have Kelly at the helm. "My experience with the Belvoir Ten-Miler team was great," he wrote. "Lt. Kelly did an excellent job of keeping the team informed."
Kelly said the team's objectives were twofold. "I think most of us had our own personal goal, but overall, we wanted to run the race as fast as we could," she said. "We worked well together. It was a good chance to have fun, and a good experience for everyone."
Dietz said he felt the Ten-Miler was a great event in general. "You see individuals from overseas, local runners, Army people, and civilians, all in support of the military," he said. "It's great to participate and be a part of the continuous legacy of the race."
Capt. Andrea So, company commander for Headquarters, Special Activities Company of Headquarters Battalion, agreed. "For me, the Army Ten-Miler means two things," she wrote in an e-mail. "First it is a great way to pursue both an individual and collective goal of running ten miles. Like anything else, it's easier to reach the finish line when you have the support of your team and thousands of other runners.
"Second, it's a way for me to appreciate my own health and well-being, and to reflect on the sacrifices of my fellow service members." So wrote.
Kelly added the importance of participating with Wounded Warriors. "It was an honor to compete, and the fact that there are several Soldiers who were wounded and still compete, it was a great honor to run alongside them and be a witness to their strength."