USARAF NCO finishes strong at Army 10-Miler
November 16, 2012
VICENZA, Italy - Master Sgt. Ganege Dayaprema first participated in the U.S. Army 10-Miler, third largest 10-miler in the world, in 2008 and then again in 2010 as a Fort Bragg Masters Team member, but due to deployments and official travel he had missed out on other opportunities to return to the race.
After travelling to the time trials in Grafenwoehr, Germany, he qualified for this year's U.S. Army Europe Open Men Team. On Oct. 21, in the 28th U.S. Army 10-miler in Washington, D.C., he finished the race in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 44 seconds, improving his personal record set in the 2008 Army 10-miler.
Dayaprema credits his numerous TDY trips for being able to train in different countries, environments and climates.
"Thanks to my job in the military, I had to go TDY to Mali, Germany and the U.S. several times," said Dayaprema. "Duty and family come before training, so while I'm away I run." While he was deployed to Iraq he completed two marathons, "because I had the time to train as duty hours, rather shifts, were set and no family commitments."
According to Dayaprema, getting to the 10-miler was quite a feat and one he credits solely to Fitness Center employee Christina Salas, who organized a training team and a group from Vicenza to attend the time trials in Grafenwoehr. This year's race in D.C. had 31,000 runners with 22,000 completing the course. The 50-year-old Dayaprema finished 639th overall.
Athleticism is a big thing in the Dayaprema household. Dayaprema is married to a former stand-out basketball player in Sri Lanka. His children are competitive swimmers and when traveling to their swim meets he said, "when they aren't swimming, I run." The children's swim meets this year have taken them to Rota, Spain, the Netherlands, England and Sicily -- and Dayaprema found time to run in each location.
"If I take the children to sports practice, I run while they train," he said. He is finding a little competition in his son, Anuk, who queried about his father's fastest 1-mile time after he returned from the 10-Miler and the 13-year-old had run in the Red Ribbon week one-miler conducted by VMS in an impressive 5 minutes, 17 seconds.
"I think I have my replacement in Family already," Ganege said with a smile.
In the last year, Dayaprema ran in the Verona half-marathon, where he suffered a stress fracture injury to his femur. He said he feels that European master (old) runners are faster than in the U.S. and the training is easier here because there are roads with fewer cars. Dayaprema's next race will be the Joint Special Operations Command 10-k run this Saturday in Fort Bragg, N.C., which had 800 participants last year.
"This race, it's off-road and muddy, will be like a family reunion among the special operations community and includes Navy Seals, and Operational Detachment-Delta operators," he said.
Dayaprema runs about 40-50 miles per week and follows a strict diet to train so he can keep his weight at 135 lbs. His advice for those who are interested in running is to start slow, always run against traffic and to "compete with yourself, never against others."