Prepare to qualify: Soldiers race for a spot on the Army Ten-Miler team
July 2, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- When it comes to running, everyone has a strategy. For Staff Sgt. James Brooks, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, music is key.
"Rap, rock-n-roll, it doesn't matter," he said "Something that'll keep me going to the end."
Brooks was one of 167 runners who braved the rare Bavarian humidity here, June 30, to compete in the U.S. Forces Europe Army Ten-Miler qualifying race, many vying for one of the 12 coveted spots on the U.S. Army Europe Ten-Miler team.
The top six qualifying Army active duty male and female runners will head to Washington, D.C., to race in the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 21, which starts and finishes at the Pentagon.
Participants will get a blurred glimpse of the city, passing such national landmarks as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument -- a stark contrast to the firing ranges on the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
Brooks, however, readily admitted his goal during the local race was not to place, nor advance to the next round.
"Finishing the race is my only expectation," he said as he stretched prior to the start.
But for runners like Sgt. Catalina Sandoval, 57th Signal Company, USAG Grafenwoehr, a chance to run for the Army Europe team in D.C. was something she trained for while deployed to Afghanistan, well before the competition.
"I just got home last week," said Sandoval, who crossed the finish line as the first female qualifier with a time of 69 minutes, 5 seconds. "I love running and this is a great opportunity to be a part of a great team."
The pace was steady as the starter's pistol sounded. Sneakers grazed the pavement and Sgt. Joseph Campbell, C Co., 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, out of Kaiserslautern, held an impressive lead. Halfway through the race, he was more than 40 seconds ahead of the next runner.
As he ran past mile 7, however, a footwear issue slowed him down.
"I had to stop to adjust," said Campbell, who came in sixth overall with a time of 64 minutes, 50 seconds. "I didn't do as well as I had hoped."
While Campbell tended to his blistered feet, 20-year-old Nathaniel Burrell eked past and crept across the finish line in first place at 59 minutes, 51 seconds. Burrell was the only competitor to complete the 10 miles in under an hour.
"I'm fairly surprised," said Burrell of his time. "But I'm happy."
Less than a minute later, Kirk Madgic from Vinceza reached the finish line, followed closely by Capt. Joshua Hudson, 212th Combat Support Hospital, Kaiserslautern, as the first active duty male qualifier.
"I tried to stay with the lead as much as possible," said Hudson. "And just took it one mile at a time."
Spc. Benjamin Creed, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, applied a similar strategy, pacing himself and trying to achieve a personal goal of finishing in less than 70 minutes. He placed 12th overall and was the sixth and final qualifier for the male team with 68 minutes, 12 seconds.
He attributed his success in part to rising early that morning to watch "Without Limits," the film chronicling the life of the famous 1970s Olympic hopeful, runner Steve Prefontaine.
"It kept me going," he said, admitting he almost called it quits after mile 7. "I really had to dig deep after that."
Creed said he also thought of his pregnant wife who had supported him as he trained for the race. The opportunities of his immediate future resonated -- a new baby and a free trip to the States.
"I've never been to D.C. before," he said. "I'm looking forward to the trip."
The Army Ten-Miler is produced by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and attracts more than 30,000 military and civilian runners from around the world. All race proceeds benefit the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs that support Soldiers and their families.
2012 U.S. Army Europe Ten-Miler Team
Capt. Joshua Hudson (Kaiserslautern)
Sgt. Joseph Campbell (Kaiserslautern)
Pfc. Keven Bordenave (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
1st Lt. Byron Critchfield (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
Master Sgt. Genege Dayaprema (Vicenza)
Spc. Benjamin Creed (Grafenwoehr)
Sgt. John Baeza (Grafenwoehr)
Spc. Jose Jimenes (Grafenwoehr)
Sgt. Catalina Sandoval (Grafenwoehr)
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Deanna Merriman (U.S. Embassy, Paris)
Capt. Erica Barkei (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
2nd Lt. Jessica Letarte (Grafenwoehr)
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Olga Elliot (Wiesbaden)
2nd Lt. Sara Clarke (Schweinfurt)
2nd Lt. Jennifer Meredith (Baden-Wuerttemberg)
1st Lt. Kathleen Rubbo (Grafenwoehr)