James Mahurin (402), Lear Riojas (405), David Reyes (404) and Joshua Horsager (403) take off at the Army Ten-Miler Fort Benning team qualifier June 25 at Sand Hill. There are two more opportunities to try out for the Fort Benning team. The final two qualifiers are July 10 and 17 starting at Santiago Fitness Center on Sand Hill. Participants should arrive at 6:30 a.m. to sign in.

The 26th annual Army Ten-Miler is Oct. 24 in Washington and even though the event is sold out, there is still an opportunity to try out for the Fort Benning team. There are two qualifiers scheduled for July 10 and 17 at Santiago Fitness Center on Sand Hill.

Active-duty Soldiers and activated National Guardsmen and Reservists who are stationed at Fort Benning are eligible to compete for a spot on the Fort Benning team.

Lori Smith, Fort Benning team coordinator, said she hopes to field two teams. There will be an active-duty men's team consisting of up to eight runners, and a mixed team of six runners, including men and at least two women.

Smith said ideally, the candidates are men who can run the qualifier in 60 minutes or less and women who run it in 70 minutes or less.

So far, in two qualifiers, only 12 runners have turned out, but Smith said she needs more.

"I was really hoping there would be more runners at the qualifiers," she said. "I am not too worried, though. I am confident we will find runners for the team. It happens every year. Just when I think I won't have enough runners, they show up at the last meet and we are able to field a team."

Smith said no women have tried out for the mixed team yet.

Five runners showed up at the Army Ten-Miler qualifier June 25 at Santiago Fitness Center in hopes that they would get a spot on the Fort Benning team.

Of the five runners who competed June 18, James Mahurin returned for another shot at the Army Ten-Miler. Mahurin ran on the Fort Benning team in 2009 at Washington event.

Mahurin had dAfAjAfA vu when he ran the qualifier, he said.

"I always tell people this is a brutal course," he said. "It's not like D.C. - it's continually rolling hills and it's always hot and humid at the qualifier. There are only two inclines at the Ten-Miler. The Fort Benning course is great to qualify for the team because you really have to work at it. If you can conquer this course, you are ready for D.C."

Mahurin finished the Fort Benning course at one hour, 12 minutes and eight seconds.

"I think my time could have been better," he said. "I improved my time by two minutes from the last qualifier, but I am going to come to one more qualifier and hopefully run faster."

Joshua Horsager, who also ran on the Fort Benning team in 2009, said running the hills got to him.

"These hills will burn up your legs," he said. "On the way back, the last five miles were the most challenging because I was spent from running the first five miles. What kept me going was the thought that the faster I ran, the quicker I was done. My time was slower than what I wanted it to be. I was hoping to break an hour, but with the heat and the hills it wasn't happening."

Horsager came in first place at 1:01:48. Of the 12 runners, he has the fastest time so far.

Because the course is easier in Washington, Smith said runners usually finish it three to five minutes faster than what they finish the Fort Benning course and she takes that into consideration when choosing members. Her final decision will be made the week after the last qualifier.

The final two qualifiers will begin at 7 a.m., but runners need to arrive at 6:30 a.m. to sign in. For more information, send an e-mail to lori.smith6@us.army.mil.

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