FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 10, 2018) -- The road to this year's Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C., began outside Magrath Sports Complex on May 9 at Fort Drum, New York, for 43 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI).

First Lt. Sean Nestor, from 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and 1st Lt. Ashlee Johnson, from 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2BCT, recorded the fastest times at the 10K qualifier to put them on top for the active-duty men's and women's teams.

Nestor, with a 34:14 time, said it wasn't his fastest 10K, but he did what was needed to qualify.

"It was a good workout and I was happy with it," he said. "This will be my third year competing with the Fort Drum team."

Nestor said that it is an honor for Soldiers to represent their installation and unit at the Army Ten-miler, where competitors from all branches of the service, military academies and ROTC programs will put their best teams forward.

"You always want to do your best for the team, and try to put together the best runners to get across that line," Nestor said.

Nestor said that finishing in the top six doesn't guarantee a spot in the team if faster runners show up for the second qualifier in August.

"It's really in your best interest to show up to both time trials and run some road races in between," he advised a fellow runner.

Johnson, finishing in 43:59, is a returning member from the 2017 women's team.

"That was my first time running the Army Ten-Miler. I got to meet a great group of girls and it was fun being part of a team again," she said. "I love running and I love running with such a supportive team."

Johnson ran on her high school cross country team and then one year in college. She said that she renewed her competitive spirit in the Army.

"I found endurance activities really appealing," she said.

Logging in miles during the winter months can be challenging, but Johnson said that she found alternative cardio exercise at Magrath Sports Complex.

"When the weather is really bad, you have to put in the miles on the treadmill, but also make yourself go outside and run when you can," she said. "I took up swimming recently, which has been a big help. It's been a while since I've done that and it's fun to see myself improving."

First Lt. Matthew Slocum, from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, participated at his second Best Ranger Competition in April, and this is his first attempt to qualify for an Army Ten-Miler team.

"I just love competing," he said. "I want to keep pushing myself and, hopefully, represent 2-87 and the 10th Mountain Division the best I can."

He placed 9th overall at the time trial with a 38:58.

"For my pace, it was a pretty good time," Slocum said. "I had to push it, for sure, to stay close to some of those faster guys. I would love to have the opportunity to run the Army Ten-Miler."

In addition to the men's and women's teams, an active-duty mixed team will also represent Fort Drum at the race in October. Teams will be finalized shortly after the second qualifier scheduled for August 8.

To learn more about the Army Ten-Miler, visit www.armytenmiler.com.