10th Mountain Division Spartans conduct Ten-Miler shadow run in Taliban birthplace
October 13, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan -- As runners gathered in the nation's capital Sunday to compete in the annual Army Ten-Miler race, Soldiers with 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Combined Task Force Spartan), ran a Ten-Miler "shadow-run" a week earlier near the heart of the Taliban at Forward Operating Base Pasab in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Shadow runs were conducted at 13 locations worldwide, many of them in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as locations like Korea and Egypt, according to the Army Ten-Miler website. Spartan Soldiers wanted to ensure their race was known by the participants in Washington, D.C.
Every year, the race attracts thousands of runners from every walk of life. It has been one of the largest 10-mile races in America since 1985.
"We are running our run a week early so we can send clips and highlights of our run to the people at D.C," said Capt. Nathan Sharp, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, and the race's coordinator at FOB Pasab.
The Spartans' shadow race attracted nearly 100 runners. While the high operations tempo of a deployment leaves little time for Soldiers to train or take time from work to participate, Sharp said the turnout was better than expected.
"We had about 100 people, and for a deployed location, 100 is really good," he said.
The official race in Washington, D.C., started and ended at the Pentagon, weaving through the National Mall and near several of the nation's most recognized monuments. The Spartan Ten-Miler, however, started at the brigade tactical operations center, looped around the FOB four times, and then finished near the helicopter landing zone.
The shadow race was divided into three categories of runners -- male and female individual runners, who ran the whole 10 miles, and relay teams of four. The relay teams each ran two and a half miles per person.
The first-place male runner was 1st Lt. Derek Taylor, the civil military operations officer in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. He completed the race in 57 minutes, 55 seconds. The first-place female runner was Maj. Paige Waterman, C Company, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, who finished in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 55 seconds.
"About four or five weeks ago I saw a flyer, and I decided to sign up and give it a try," Taylor said. "I have been running on and off for this deployment. (I finished in) just under 58 minutes."
By upholding the tradition of an Army Ten-Miler, even while in a combat zone, Soldiers not only got to experience a little taste of home during a morning run, but also trained for an accomplishment.
"I like this race; it is a good distance. It is challenging, but it was still fun to be out here," Taylor said. "I think all of the events the Army puts on are great; I think it helps relax the Soldiers a lot."