Soldiers Collide in Combat Cross Country
November 10, 2010
- "And I knew if I let up just a little bit that I wouldn't have done my comrades in arms in Afghanistan the proper respect."
- "The tough challenge was as mental as it was physically exhausting."
HOHENFELS, Germany - Struggling through five kilometers of grueling terrain, Soldiers from across Germany competed in the Annual U.S. Forces Europe Combat Cross Country Championship at U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Oct. 7.
Designed to encourage unit cohesion, that spirit is exactly what drove Capt. Christopher Haag of the 7th troop, 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment, Rear Detachment out of Vilseck, to finish with the fastest time.
"I could still see some guys behind me at parts of the course," Haag said, "and I knew if I let up just a little bit that I wouldn't have done my comrades in arms in Afghanistan - and most importantly the seven casualties from our unit - the proper respect with a 110 percent performance."
Hohenfels has hosted the competition for the past four years.
"We have the toughest course," said FMWR Sports Manager Bill Craven. "The terrain we can offer here is better, more rugged."
Communities represented at this year's event included Stuttgart with the 1/10th Special Forces Group, while the 7/2 SCR Rear Detachment came from Grafenwoehr. Hohenfels fielded four teams, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Platoons from Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and the Hohenfels Health Clinic.
Spc. Jennifer Holycross from the Hohenfels Health Clinic won recognition as the only female competitor.
"And she did not finish last," Craven said.
Competitors appreciated the demanding route, with Haag citing the "tough challenge that was as mental as it was physically exhausting."
But they also acknowledged the effort of the event coordinators.
Haag said he and his teammates appreciated the hard work and dedication MWR put in by setting up "a high class event on such a challenging course in Hohenfels."
"It's the rough terrain that put Hohenfels on the map," said Craven who has set up runs along this course for more than 10 years.
"Watching soldiers compete in this type of environment is inspiring," said Chris Cornelison, Sports and Fitness chief of Hohenfels MWR.
Craven added, "It's rewarding to know that they're applying these things to the things they do every day while deployed."
Winners in the various categories received trophies and medals while all competitors received a T-shirt. But there were other rewards as well.
"I feel that I gave a full effort and represented my unit and the Soldiers downrange in Afghanistan with the pride and respect they deserve," said Haag