By John W. PeelerAugust 7, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 7, 2013) -- A field of 11 runners turned out at Santiago Fitness Center on Sand Hill all vying for a spot on the Fort Benning Army Ten-Miler team.
Race coordinator Lori Smith said she was not disappointed by the turnout and the third qualifier, to be held Aug. 16 at the Santiago center, typically had the most runners of the three qualifiers.
She said she is looking for a team of seven, five men and two women, to compete in
the annual Army event, which is Oct. 20, in Washington, D.C.
Galen King, a second lieutenant currently in the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, turned in the second qualifier's best time, finishing in the low 60s.
King, who said he ran recreationally and throughout high school and college, learned about the opportunity at the Smith Fitness Center and decided to "give it a shot."
Although King said he didn't really train for the event due to military commitments, he said having the event early in the morning really helped, but the course combined with the heat took its toll. And, he said, in addition to unit physical training, he also runs on his own.
King said he found the course on Sand Hill to be challenging, which showed as he crossed the finished line drenched in sweat.
"The course was pretty rolly and not a lot of flat sections," he said. "I think when you're running you need to remember to maintain your momentum. There was a pretty hilly section around mile seven, which was pretty much the kingmaker. It was certainly pretty challenging … it was probably about three quarters of a mile (long)."
With King coming in at just a little over an hour, Smith said most runners, because of the demanding course on Sand Hill, would probably cut anywhere from two to four minutes off their time running the Washington route during the Army Ten-Miler.
For King, the opportunity to qualify for the Army event is an opportunity to represent his unit and the Army.
"I think it's an awesome opportunity not only to represent the Army and run in something the Army has a lot of heritage, tradition and culture in, but also to represent the unit you are with and your identity and culture you are with," he said. "And for me, it's the Infantry and officers."
If King makes the final seven, he said he looks forward to running in the event in Washington, not only because of the run, but the challenges, as well.
"Running fast is always great and training for is certainly a cool challenge," he said. "But, obviously, I think the biggest thing is representing the unit you come from."
With one more opportunity on Aug. 16 to qualify, Smith said she is still looking for runners.
"We're still looking for more runners," she said. "We looking for males who can turn in times in the low 60s and more female runners who can run in the low to mid-70s."
Smith said although she is looking for a mixed team, five male runners and two female runners, but if there aren't enough female runners she will field a team of seven male runners.
She said there is still time to make the team and encourages anyone who wants the opportunity to run in the Army Ten-Miler to turn out for the last qualifier at 6:30 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Santiago Fitness Center on Sand Hill.
Registration is on site. Everyone is invited to participate in the qualifier, but only active-duty Soldiers will be selected for the Fort Benning Ten-Miler team, which will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 20.