By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsMay 9, 2019
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 9, 2019) -- More than 50 Soldiers from across the 10th Mountain Division (LI) toed the starting line outside Magrath Sports Complex on May 8 to run an Army Ten-Miler 10K qualifier.
First Lt. Japheth Ngojoy, with C Company, 10th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, finished first among the male runners with a time of 32:41.
Ngojoy has run the Army Ten-Miler six times since 2012, missing out only once when he ran the marathon at the 2014 Military World Games. He ran on teams at Fort Sam Houston and Fort Bliss in Texas, and a U.S. Army Recruiting Command team from Alaska.
"It's an honor to be here in the Army where they give you opportunities to do something like this, and it is a privilege for me to make the team," he said.
Finishing behind Ngojoy were 1st Lt. Benjamin Hoffman, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st BCT, with a time of 34:31; and Spc. Brendan McCauley, from B Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, with a time of 34:42.
Second Lt. Alyia Sones, with 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, placed first among the female runners with a time of 42:59.
Sones said that this was her first attempt at qualifying for the Army Ten-Miler, and her first time participating in a 10K race.
"This is about short-term goals for me," she said. "The Army Ten-Miler is something I can do this year. As far as my own fitness level, training with like-minded people who are also working toward the same goal helps me become better. I'm a competitive person, but I don't compete often, so I'm pretty proud to have finished this."
Eighteen runners will be selected to represent Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division in three teams of six (men's, women's, mixed) at the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 13, in Washington, D.C.
The coaches for this year's team are Maj. Orlando Martinez, 1st Brigade Combat Team S-1, and Capt. Hannah He, 10th Mountain Division Artillery trial counsel. Martinez is a lifelong runner who previously ran high school and college track. He said that he wants to build a training schedule that will improve runners' stamina and strength by incorporating distance running, speed work and hill training.
Martinez is also a firm believer that there is power in team training. Although running is largely an individual sport, he said that a team of strong individuals can make each other better runners.
"When two or more runners meet to run as a team, magic happens," Martinez said. "The human body has the capacity to improve lung capacity and leg strength, and runners can do that on their own. However, when training as a team, run times begin to drop and challenging workouts become a game because of the runners' unbreakable spirits."
Al Janssen, Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of sports, said that there was a larger turnout at this qualifier than in previous years but he was happy that so many were able to find the time to participate.
"The 10th Mountain Division is busy - if the Soldiers aren't training then they're deploying," he said. "That's why we have two qualifiers now, so those who couldn't make this one or aren't here can have the chance to get on this team."
Soldiers have another chance to try out or improve their previous time at a second qualifier scheduled at 7 a.m. Aug. 7 outside Magrath Sports Complex. Those who are selected to the team receive free entry to the race, plus travel and lodging is paid for through Fort Drum FMWR.
"The real incentive, to me, is the chance to represent the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum at this premier Army race," Janssen said. "I've run it many times, and it's probably one of the best races in the world."