ARLINGTON, Va. - More than 30,000 runners from around the world gathered shortly after dawn Oct. 24 at the Pentagon to run in the 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler.

The Team Hawaii men's running team took the Commander's Cup for the second year in a row.

Composed of Soldiers from units under U.S. Army, Pacific, headquartered at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, the team had a combined time of 3 hours, 41 minutes, 14 seconds. Team Hawaii was one of 40 teams competing for the cup.

"I'm happy that we won two years back-to-back. We put a lot of work in throughout the year, so it's good when it all pays off at the end," said Team Hawaii runner and team captain Paul Lancaster, of Defense Information Systems Agency Pacific Command. "We worked hard for six months, six days a week, so anything less than first place would feel like a loss."

Team Hawaii, organized by U.S. Army, Garrison-Hawaii and sponsored by Family, Morale and Recreation, is composed of an eight-Soldier men's running team and an eight-Soldier women's team. For the next year, the men's team will enjoy bragging rights to the Army's premier running event, which is also the third largest running event in the world. The women's team took fourth place for the active-duty women (Commander's Cup) category.

"As with every command, timing is also factor of our success, since we have Soldiers transferring in and out of the command every year," said Team Hawaii runner Marty Muchow, the Current Operations and Intelligence Chief for G33, USARPAC.

Muchow also said the sacrifice and support of their families contributed to the team's success.

"Like anything you do in life, practicing for a race takes time, it takes away from your family time, and yet you still need a support group, to stay fit and do your best," he said.

Team Hawaii was one of more than 600 teams competing in 26 categories from around the world. Several other teams hailed from Hawaii, including Team Signal, made up of Signal Soldiers from units in Hawaii. The 25th Infantry Division running team, Tropic Lightning, took 11th place in the active-duty Men (Commander's Cup) category.

"Some of our team mates, including our fastest runner, just returned from Iraq two months ago, so preparing for the race was especially challenging for them," said Tropic Lightning Team runner Zachary Taron of the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. "The unique opportunity to participate in this event is definitely worth the challenge."

The Army Ten-Miler is produced by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. It promotes the Army, builds spirit de corps, supports fitness goals and enhances community relations. Proceeds from the annual event go to the Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities.

"The race has more than doubled in size since I last ran in the Army Ten-Miler 10 years ago," said Team Signal runner Jan Norris, the Operations Officer for the 516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command. Team Signal is a six-Soldier team made up of Signal Soldiers and officers from USARPAC G6, the 516th Signal Brigade and the 30th Signal Battalion. Team Signal placed 12th out of 46 teams in the military open mixed team category.

"When you have people traveling to support missions all over the map, then coming back together to train and training hard, just staying healthy becomes the biggest challenge in training for the race," said Team Hawaii runner Shawn Dodge, a military intelligence officer with the 9th Mission Support Command. "It's incredible to have four people you know you can count on, to stay healthy and show up 6,000 miles from home and race well."

The racecourse of the 10-mile road race begins and ends at the Pentagon and runs through the nation's capitol.

The running team for U.S. Army Japan placed fifth overall for mixed men and women active-duty teams. Team member Ronald Wills was the fastest runner for USARJ, at 58: 42. A challenge the USARJ team faced was recruiting team members from USARPAC's smallest major subordinate command, with about 4,000 Soldiers, compared to the larger commands of nearly 30,000 Soldiers.

"I've never seen Soldiers come together from such far distances, Okinawa and Japan, and work so well together," said team coach Jane KupKowski, fitness coordinator for Camp Zama, Japan, FMWR and USARJ Army Ten-Miler team coach. "It was an emotional day for us because they worked so hard and improved so much. We took off seven minutes from our time last year, and each Soldier contributed equally to the overall standing of the team. The integrity of each team member was the biggest factor at the end of the day. One Soldier even took eight minutes off his time trial, which you just don't see every day."

Ten Soldiers represented U.S. Army Alaska. Five Arctic Warriors competed in the active-duty men's division, while the other five raced as an active-duty mixed team. Eight Soldiers from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and two from Fort Richardson, Alaska, formed the teams. The USARAK men's team took 11th place in the active-duty men (Commander's Cup) category while the mixed team runners came in 9th place overall.

Also from Hawaii were four teams from the U.S. Army Reserve's 9th Mission Support Command. One 9th Mission Support Command team placed 2nd in the Army Reserve, all-male team category. Team names were Pacific Pride 'Ekahi, Pacific Pride 'Elua, Pacific Pride 'Ekolu and Pacific Pride 'Eha. The 9th MSC spans throughout the Pacific to include Guam, Alaska, American Samoa, Saipan, Korea and Japan.

"I encourage other female Soldiers to challenge themselves and participate in events like the Ten-Miler, the feeling afterward is really rewarding," said Crystal Iwasaki, of the 4960th Multifunctional Training Brigade. Iwasaki met her husband, Walter Iwasaki of the 411th Engineer Battalion, at the 2008 Army Ten-Miler. Now they compete together on the 9th MSC's mixed team.

"The Ten-Miler is a melting pot for folks across the Army, so it's a chance to see people we have worked with before, and find out what great things they are doing around the world," Dodge said. "It feels amazing to be able to run strong and represent our units; and since we have both enlisted Soldiers and officers from different commands across Hawaii, we represent many different branches within the Army, both in the active component and the Army Reserve."

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