Staff Sgt. Gene Lucas Jr. displays his medals just prior to a Nov. 3 half-marathon in Savannah, Ga., outside Army Sustainment Command headquarters. Lucas came in 516th out of 11,131 participants in that event. (Photo by Jon Connor, ASC Public Affairs)

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- An Army Sustainment Command headquarters Soldier hit the pavement in what was supposed to be a family affair as he chalked up another competition in the Savannah Rock'n'Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon.

Staff Sgt. Gene Lucas Jr., 26, ASC chaplain assistant and veteran of nearly eight years, apparently feels the need to run more than what Army physical training requires to maintain his combat fitness.

On Nov. 3, Lucas was supposed to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) beginning at 8 a.m. with his brother and father in Savannah, Ga. His brother is Spc. Josh Lucas, 22, of the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bragg, N.C., and his father is Gene Lucas, a retired Army sergeant first class. The Georgia race was his dad's first half-marathon.

As it turned out, Lucas' brother bailed out two nights before the race, Lucas said.

Nevertheless, Lucas' time was 1:43.35, which earned him the high ranking of 516th out of 11,131 runners. His dad, who is 48, also did well with a time of 2:32.48.

Lucas is a newcomer of sorts to running half-marathons. He received his first medal at Camp Humphreys (Pyeongtaek), South Korea, in October 2011. His time was 1 hour, 38 minutes, 35 seconds. His first run took place while deployed to Iraq in Basra in November 2010.

Then, in September of this year, he ran in Chicago, shaving 15 seconds from his Korean time.
But his best time was to come in Des Moines, Iowa, when he ran 1:36.28 -- an improvement of two minutes.

While it's nice to receive medals for running, Lucas said he has and will continue to run and raise money through for various cancer charities. The money is raised through the entry fee, Lucas said.

To train, Lucas said he runs three times a week. One run is usually a 9-miler, another about 4.5 miles, and the final run of the week is usually about 6.2 miles.

While running, Lucas said he listens to rock and hip-hop music to stay motivated. And, at the 10-mile point, Lucas said he starts wondering where the finish line is.

What's next? Lucas said he hopes to compete in up to six half-marathons in 2013 and may even attend Oktoberfest in Germany for one of them.

Page last updated Tue November 6th, 2012 at 16:24