Soldiers compete in 10th 8th Army Bataan Qualifier
February 28, 2010
CASEY GARRISON South Korea - More than 180 Soldiers gathered in Casey Garrison's Carey Fitness Center to compete in the 10th annual 8th U.S. Army Bataan Memorial March Qualifier Feb. 20. The Soldiers could enter in individual competition for men and women or enter in five-man teams. The course covered more than 13 miles winding around both Casey Garrison and Camp Hovey. All competitors are required to wear a 35 pound rucksack on their backs and be in ACUs. Twenty Soldiers will be selected to go to White Sands N.M, to represent the 8th Army in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March held on White Sands Missile Range, N.M. March 21. The top five males and females will be selected along with the top unit team.
In the Men's Division Jeffrey Hayden placed 1 with a time of 1:55:53.
"With the weather and my unit's training schedule I trained when I could," Hayden said. "Sometimes that meant running on the track. I just paced myself the best I could run." Hayden placed high in several running events on Casey before the Bataan, and did it with a healing broken leg.
James Deberry placed 2 with a time of 2:01:05.
"I started a bit too quick, so when I got to the hill near Beaver's Restaurant on Casey, it killed me," Deberry said. "I stayed with Hayden as long as I could but he is a tough one to catch."
Michael Mann placed 3 with a time of 2:06:50. Su Yi placed 4 with a time of 2:06:52. Anderson Peguero placed 5 with a time of 2:07:48.
In the Women's Division Catherine Hamilton placed 1 with a time of 2:28:17.
"I trained with one of the company commander's wives," Hamilton said, "we did the course last weekend and on Apache Range."
Jamie Neumann placed 2 with a time of 2:51:08. Atida Spahillari placed 3 with a time of 3:10:29. Zuleika Rivera placed 4 with a time of 3:11:13. Christina Crittenden placed 5 with a time of 3:18:41.
In the Team Event Team 4 of Gerald Martin, Zach Gidley, Zach Diesman, Carlos Couto and Michael Mann finished 1 with a time of 2:33:38. The team of Aaron Stehlik, Brett Gordon, Brandon Lackey, Dong Hyun Kim and Isaac Aledo finished 2 with a time of 2:37:05.
"We will take the 5 best active duty men, top 5 active duty women, and the best company team and send them to the international event at White Sands N.M. March 21," said Tom Higgins Installation Management Command Korea sports director. "The difference between our qualifier and the event in White Sands is we do only 13.1 miles and they run 26.2 miles. They run through desert sands and up and down mountains, it is a very tough event, but we think at 13.1 miles we can select those who will represent us well. Our men have won the event 5 times and our women have won 6 times, so we are looking at returning to win again this year."
Tour normalization will definitely change the scope of Soldiers able to win such an event as the Bataan Memorial Death March, before this year Soldiers spent only a year in Area I, Higgins explained.
"Two years ago we didn't know Art Mathisen, one of the best tri-athletes in the Army would be here to set the current record," Higgins said. "So there is always a possibility that we will set a record."
Richard Sanchez, sports director from Suwon brought a total of 25 Soldiers to the event.
"We contacted the units and coordinated with their 1st Sergeants to find the Soldiers interested in participating in this event," Sanchez said. "We told them this would be a lot more interesting than wasting their weekend in the Ville. Some of them want to go to Ranger school, so this is good training for them."
Safety is always the main concern with Red Cloud/Casey Garrison sports said Jim Williams, Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports specialist.
"We always do a safety briefing before these kinds of events," Williams said. "We fill out a composite risk management report, which gets signed by the command leadership; we address all safety concerns extant in the event."
Competitors must wear road guard vests and are prohibited from using headphones.
"We have five water points along the way, which has Gatorade, water and bananas. We also have road guards stationed throughout the course, which was supported by 1st Brigade. We have 12 medics, four Front-Line Ambulances, a Physician's Assistant from the 302nd Battalion," Williams said.