Fort Bragg runners take top honors in 10 miler
Philip Sakala, 27, closes in to the finish line for the Army Ten-Miler race with a time of 55:40. Sakala and the Fort Bragg men's team finished third out of 40 teams in the Active-Duty Men's Commander's Cup division Oct. 21. The Fort Bragg women's team finished first and the men's master team finished third.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Three Fort Bragg teams placed in their categories at the Sunday's 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler with the women's team taking first place. The men's team and the men's master team both took third place in their categories.

Three Fort Bragg teams placed with the high scores, which were the sums of a team's top four runners. The women's team score was 4:21:27, the men's team was 3:46:01 and the men's masters was 4:19:83, according to the official scorer.

The women's team received two trophies for their win. The larger one was presented twice, once after the race by Maj. Gen. Karl Horst, the commanding general of the National Capital Region and the region's Command Sgt. Maj. Michael W. Williams. That trophy, which will remain in Washington with the names of the team members engraved on a plate, was presented again Monday, at the Washington conference of the Association of the United States Army, a founding sponsor of the race. The team also received a trophy to bring back to Fort Bragg, which will be displayed at the Garrison Command headquarters.

The 30,000-competitor strong field began and finished at the Pentagon, and took runners across the Potomac River and past landmarks such at the National Mall, the Capitol, the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington memorials.

Specialist Samantha Greenlee, 2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery, said she was pleased to break the 70-minute mark, which beat her time at the June 11 Fort Bragg Army Birthday 10-Miler.
"We had to start further back at the wave and for the first three miles we were zig-zaging everyone. Everyone thinks they're fast and they want to run in the left lane - and they are not," Greenlee said.

"At Mile 5, I was like: 'halfway there' and at Mile 7 was like: 'only three miles left'."
The runners times were monitored by charged metallic strips, which were read by antennae set up along the race route, said a race technician, who preferred not to be named in the paper.

The technician said the antennae were set up at the start, finish, the five-mile mark and at the "cheater's split" or 6.5-mile mark. The cheater's split is the point in the race course where it is no longer possible for runners to take a non-course short cut.

Men's master team member, Col. Lenny G. Kness, the commander of the 528th Sustainment Brigade, said this is his second year running on the team and his fourth year competing.
"I am always focused on the runner ahead of me. I very rarely see the sights on the race," he said.

After he makes to the eight-mile mark, Kness said he is confident he will complete the course, but the last miles are also the most difficult.

"There is a rise on the last two miles, especially the ramp on the last mile that comes up, over and down into the Pentagon," he said. "It will play with you a bit."

Another runner, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg commanding general, said he was taken with the vastness of the race experience, including the thousands of spectators, and the dozens of hospitality tents and exhibits. "This is more than a run, this is a happening."

"It really is inspirational when you see the wounded warriors - guys with prosthetics run or guys missing an arm, that's what's inspirational. It's especially cool that everybody who passed one of those guys gave them a high-five or a fist bump," said Helmick.

Sgt. Maj. Tonya Griffin, 82nd Airborne Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, said this was her second time running the race after a break of many years.

"I did fine. I finished, so that is the most important thing to do is finish," she said. "The weather here in D.C. was great and running over the Memorial Bridge was awesome."

The Braxton Bragg Chapter of the Association of the United States Army helped sponsor the Fort Bragg hospitality tent, which was set up both for the post's runners and for the visiting spectators, said retired Lt. Col. George Quigley, the chapter president.

In addition to refreshments provided by the Fort Bragg culinary team, the "Hooah Tent" featured performances by the 82nd Airborne Division's rock band, "Static Line," members of the Golden Knights autographing posters, videos of military airborne operations and a paratrooper manikin hovering 80 feet overhead harnessed to a helium-filled balloon T-10 parachute.

Joining the winning ways of the post's runners, the booth won the first prize for best "Hooah Tent."

Page last updated Fri October 29th, 2010 at 14:24