Local Army 10-Miler team takes shape
May 19, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Prepping for the Army 10-Miler in October is no easy task, but several Fort Rucker Soldiers are preparing to do just that.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, those Soldiers interested in gaining a spot on Fort Rucker's 10-Miler team along with some of last year's team, lined up behind the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility and took to the roads to test their individual standings.
The pressure for this year's team is on, after finishing first out of 119 teams last year, said 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Herzog, Fort Rucker 10-Miler team coach.
"We've got the bull's-eye on our backs this year," he said. "As the captain, I plan to be the last man in."
Herzog said he is excited to be stepping into the coaching role after being a team member last year.
"We're going to get that team cohesion together," he said. "That's my goal this year. Last year, we became like a second family. That's what we're looking for this year, too."
In the end, it was 2nd Lt. Jacen Lanclos, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, who posted the fastest time of the day, 1:06:19.
He said it was great to be able to compete with this year's crop of team hopefuls since he missed out on last year's.
"I got here too late to be part of the team last year," he said. "The only reason I ran today was so I could get on the team. I still want to get my time down and I think I can before October gets here."
Lanclos, a Louisiana native, said the toughest part of the course was dealing with all the hills Fort Rucker has. It's not like his home state, which is largely flat, he said.
"There was about a mile-long hill around Mile 8," he said. "The heat was something I'm used to, but the hills were a real challenge."
Lanclos wasn't running alone, though, as his friend and fellow flight student, 2nd Lt. Mike Spears, also ran to qualify for the team. Spears managed to get the second-fastest time with 1:07:47.
"I'm excited to be part of the team this year," Spears said. "We were running together for a while, but Jacen broke away from me at that one-mile long hill."
Lanclos and Spears have been friends since the two attended West Point Military Academy and have been running together ever since.
"Jacen and I ran together for a long time at West Point, so us being on the team together really works out perfectly," Spears said.
Lt. Col. Damon Pfaltzgraff, Combat Readiness/Safety Center accident investigator, finished the relay with the third-best time of 1:08:46 and said he is looking forward to working with the team.
"The two guys who finished first are really fast, so I think our team is going to be really great," he said. "I want to get my time down a bit during the summer. I've just got to put a good routine together and it should be attainable."
Pfaltzgraff said he has never been part of a 10-Miler team, and knows that he's got a few things to work on between now and October.
"I think I'll be really focusing on my pace, making sure I don't come off the line too fast," he said. "I made that mistake in my first couple of marathons and got too caught up in the excitement of being in a mass group of people like that. By the time I got to Mile 10 or 15, I was hurting."
There are seven spots to fill on the team, Herzog said. More than 20 people showed signed up for the team after the run-off, but that number will be trimmed down as the months go by.
Herzog said only those candidates who show dedication to the team will have a chance of staying on the roster.
"They have to be able to keep up with their mileage and be able to work as a team," he said. "This is a team sport, it's not just about the individual."
Those who wish to be part of the team have until July 1 to sign up, Herzog added. Those who didn't get to participate in the run-off or may have just arrived on the installation still have a chance to compete.
For more information on the Fort Rucker 10-Miler team, call 255-2179.