HEIDELBERG, Germany - A reminder for those aiming to compete on this year's U.S. Army Europe Ten-Miler team: the top finishers from the 2008 qualifying race are still in theater and are training for the 2009 run that will be held June 27 in Grafenwoehr.

Joel Steward, who took first place last year in the men's division with a course record 56.25, said: "I do hope to compete ... I hope to be in good enough shape to finish strong."

The top 12 active-duty Soldiers (six each in the men and women's divisions) will be nominated to represent U.S. Army Europe during the Oct. 4, Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C.

To be considered, male competitors must finish under 68 minutes, while female runners must finish at 86 minutes or better.

Additionally, they will need commander's approval to be placed on orders, said Jim Mattingly, Installation Management Command-Europe sports and fitness director.

The men's team that represented Europe last year placed third, with the women's squad placing ninth in their division.

While only Soldiers can compete for the U.S. Army Europe team, everyone holding a U.S. Department of Defense identification card, and who are at least 18, may participate in the June 27 race. Last year's Europe 10-Miler attracted 117 participants.

"The hub of activities will be the new fitness center at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr," said Mattingly. "The final stretch will be a one-mile lap near the fitness center, where spectators and fans will be able to cheer the runners on to the finish line."

Free troop billets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact the USAG Grafenwoehr Recreation Division at DSN 475-9024.

If you prefer to reserve lodging at Grafenwoehr's Tower Inn, call DSN 475-1700 or civilian (49) 09641-83-1700.

Camping at Outdoor Recreation Vilseck is available by calling DSN 476-2866 or civilian (49) 09662-83-2866.

Participants can register online through the USAG Grafenwoehr's Web site, www.grafenwoehr.army.mil, or by calling DSN 475-9024 or civilian (49) 09641-83-9024.