By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsNovember 26, 2019
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Nov. 26, 2019) - Eight members representing U.S. Army Japan, including four male and two female Soldiers, competed in the active-duty mixed team category at the Army Ten-Miler held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 13.
The team placed 18th out of 48 teams in their division-an improvement by two spots compared to their finish last year, the team's captain said.
"It is always a great feeling to show improvement from one year to the next," said Capt. Dustin Thomas, assigned to Medical Department Activity-Japan, Camp Zama. "For being a small installation and finishing in the top half of teams shows how committed and disciplined the team members were to training for the race."
The team members, selected from 10-mile qualifying races held last June, included Thomas and Spc. Joseph Rudolph, both assigned to MEDDAC-J, Camp Zama; Pfc. Maximo Ramirez, assigned to the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Sagami General Depot; Capt. Michael Rothenberger, assigned to U.S. Amy Aviation Battalion Japan, Camp Zama; 1st Lt. Marshall Montgomery and Sgt. Tony Jackson, both assigned to the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, Camp Zama; Capt. Gloria Freck, assigned to the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Camp Zama; and Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cornelius, assigned to the 247th Military Police Battalion, Torii Station, Okinawa.
The Ten-Miler teams were each judged on the four fastest finish times within their respective group of runners, and at least one of the times had to come from a female member of the team. Thomas was the fastest of his team, finishing with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 34 seconds.
Leading up to the race, Thomas devised a six-week training plan for the team. Thomas, who has a background in physical education and exercise science, set a goal to have his team finish in the top 20 in their division.
Having team members stationed at different installations in Japan, including on Okinawa, posed certain coordination challenges, Thomas said, but it also made the training fun and fulfilling because everyone was working together for a common goal.
Ramirez, who finished the race with his team's second fastest time of 1:3:24, said his team captain was really good at communicating with the team about the training schedule and travel information.
"I felt good about the team," said Ramirez. "It has been a good experience for me, and I would like to continue (the training)."
Thomas said his biggest takeaway from competing in the event was his assurance that "U.S. Army Japan is a team in everything we do," whether conducting a military mission or running a long-distance road race.
"All the Soldiers, in all the units throughout Japan, are willing to go the extra mile to win," said Thomas.