By Nathan DeenJuly 25, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 24, 2013) -- Eighteen runners came out to Sand Hill Friday with their sights set on getting to Washington, D.C., to run in the Army Ten-Miler.
There are eight slots to fill on the team that will represent Fort Benning at the annual 10-miler, which is Oct. 20. The race has about 30,000 slots and was named by Runners World as one of the six best 10-milers to run in the U.S.
Friday's qualifier, which began and finished at Santiago Fitness Center, was the first of three hosted by Sports, Fitness & Aquatics. Race coordinator Lori Smith said it was a good turnout for the first qualifier, which usually sees the fewest participants.
Aaron Totten-Lancaster, with the 75th Ranger Regiment, said he has done the Sand Hill qualifier since 2003 and has made the trip to D.C. four times. Though Totten-Lancaster said he hasn't been able to run much lately because of mission requirements, he finished at just over 57 minutes Friday.
"I'm happy with my time. It's definitely a qualification time. I might just let that stand," Totten-Lancaster said when asked if he would do one of the two remaining qualifiers.
Coming in just behind him was Gerard Sclafani, also of the 75th Ranger Regiment, who finished at 58 minutes.
Sclafani said he had done a marathon before, but running a 10-miler was a little different.
"You need more strength," Sclafani said. "You have to be more patient. Everyone wants to sprint out, but the real race begins five or six miles in."
Sclafani said it had been awhile since he had raced competitively.
"I haven't raced in over a year, so I was really surprised," he said. "I didn't think I was going to break 60."
Totten-Lancaster said having Sclafani on his heels motivated him to finish the last two miles strong.
"It was nice to have some company out there," he said. "It's hard to run alone the whole time. As soon as I was close to the finish line, I turned it on a little more."
Both runners said they were unsure whether they'd be able to run in the Army Ten Miler in D.C. because of mission requirements.
Smith said that's always a little frustrating, but hopes some more runners with qualifying times will turnout in the next two qualifiers, which are Aug. 3 and Aug. 16 at 6:30 a.m. at Santiago Fitness Center.
"Your 75th Ranger guys are typically your elite athletes," Smith said. "We still have two more qualifiers to find some good runners, and there were a couple of other good runners who came out today."
Smith said a qualifying time for males is usually around 65 minutes and 75 minutes for females. Runners can run any amount of the qualifiers as they wish to improve their times.