Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq - Task Force Marne servicemembers and civilians have spent the last three months running - rather training for the Task Force Marne 10-Miler, to be held Oct. 10, 2010. Approximately 60 people are pre-registered and close to 300 people are expected to run the race on Contingency Operating Base Speicher.
The 10-miler, which shadows the Army 10-Miler to be held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, is the last of three. The preceding 5 km "Why Not Run" and 10 km "Top of Iraq" run were set up as training events to help prepare the Soldiers that are planning to run the TF Marne 10-Miler.
Lieutenant Colonel Maria Biank and Sgt. Major Charles Friend are the TF Marne G-6 leadership team and are using the runs to set the example for Soldiers and show that there is always time for physical fitness.
The series of runs was designed to give Soldiers intermediate goals to build up to the 10-Miler.
"A lot of Soldiers have said that they want to run [the 10-miler,] said 1st Lt. Emily Baldo, a clinical staff nurse in the 21st Combat Support Hospital emergency room, and officer in charge of all three runs. "The shorter runs give them smaller goals to meet on their way to the 10-miler. They also give the Soldiers something to look forward to."
For Sgt. Maj. Friend, running is a passion, and the upcoming 10-miler is something he looks forward to.
"I first started running long distance in 1996. I tried out for the 35th Signal Brigade Army 10-Miler team. I made the team and have been running ever since," said Sgt. Maj. Friend, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich. "Every year, I try to do the 10-mile run, no matter where I am at. This will be the third time I have run the 10-Miler in Iraq.
"There isn't real a difference running here, in a deployed environment. You just have to make sure you have more breaks and rest stops and stay hydrated," added Sgt. Maj. Friend.
Lieutenant Colonel Biank is using a 12-week training program to get ready for the 10-miler.
"I am very much a novice when it comes to training for longer runs and races, said Lt. Col. Biank. "I use a 12-week training model. It starts off with two- and three-mile runs and increases one week at a time. It gradually increases the distance so that you don't hurt yourself by going out and running 10 miles when your body isn't used to it.
"I run about 4 days a week. I usually do one long run, seven, eight or nine miles, each week because of where I am at in the training model. The other run days are just a bit shorter. I also do two days of cross training. I use the treadmill, the exercise bike, or a similar exercise to get away from the [impact], and use different muscles," she added.
This is also not Lt. Col. Biank's first 10-miler. She is an Army 10-Miler Veteran.
"I have run two Army 10-Milers," Lt. Col. Biank, a Williamsburg, Va., native said. "It's just a fabulous race; a lot of people, a lot of great energy there. It is a great route through Washington, D.C., seeing all of the monuments and the sites."
Since there are no monuments at COB Speicher, and the landscape is rather barren, Soldiers will be setting up "spirit stands" to help keep morale high.
Major General Tony Cucolo, the TF Marne commanding general, wanted water points at every mile marker along the route, explained 1st Lt. Baldo. After 10 miles the route would get boring, so they came up with the idea of spirit stands, she said.
"Units that are located near the mile markers were tasked to run the spirit stands," said 1st Lt. Baldo. "They can decorate the stand as extravagantly as they wish. There will be awards for the most spirited stand with the most people out to cheer on the runners."
Soldiers wanting more information about or to register for the TF Marne 10-Miler should contact Capt. Peter Attilio via email at by Oct. 9.

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