FORT HOOD, Texas - Once again, the Great Place held its annual Army Ten Miler qualifier run at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area, Aug. 5.
Nearly 20 runners came out for a chance to earn a spot on Fort Hood’s team, who will compete in Washington D.C., Oct. 10, for the Army Ten Miler. This year, the race is being held in person and virtually. Capt. Leslie McCampbell, 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade, who serves as captain of the Fort Hood team, is looking forward to reuniting for the race.
“The running community within the Army, or even nationally, is a very tight knit one. Every year you go back to the Army Ten Miler, you see friends and training partners from the past,” he said. “Meeting up at pre-race dinners lets you catch up and see how one another’s doing, whether it be professionally or in training. I’ve never met a serious runner that I haven’t gotten along with. People that have endorphins running through them all the time are always a joy to be around.”
Spc. Alfred Kitur, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was the first to finish with a time of 58:45. He also finished first in last year’s race.
“I was so excited coming in first,” he said. “I’m looking forward (to) doing better than last year’s time for (the) Ten Miler (in) October.”
The first female to complete the run was Capt. Amy Swiatecki-McCabe, 6th Battalion, 3rd SFAB, with a time of 1:14:30.
“I have participated in multiple Army Ten Milers. Fort Campbell team twice, Fort Sam Houston team twice, Fort Carson team once, Fort Hood team once, twice if you include this year’s,” she said. “The Army Ten Miler is like a great big reunion. You get to see and catch up with a lot of Army friends from other duty stations while walking around to all the different tents after the race. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to represent Fort Hood in the country’s second largest ten-mile race.”
Second place finisher with a time of 1:02:05 was 1st Lt. Samuel Wallace, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“I participated in last year’s Army Ten Miler virtually, racing at the 1st Cavalry Division’s event they hosted,” he said. “I have been training for this year’s Ten Miler primarily to challenge myself. Aerobic fitness is challenging to build over the course of time, and I believe it’s a great indicator of self-discipline and grit. All the hard work and time allocated to training is displayed over the course of 10 miles. It’s a raw test of consistency and volume.”
The qualifying race was definitely a challenge for the runners with the humid weather and tough running route with inclines.
“Starting the race with a hill and humidity equates to slower times. Even with an out and back course, if you start the race with a hill it’s extremely hard to make that time back,” McCampbell explained. “I’m anticipating much faster times in Washington. Pre-race jitters and massive crowds always help cut times too.”
Swiatecki-McCabe and Wallace both found the inclines on the course to be the most challenging.
“The most challenging to me was that darn hill at the very beginning of the course,” Swiatecki-McCabe said. “Even though I was attempting to run up the hill, I honestly think my pace might have slowed so much it was like I was walking. It was that steep. The hill didn’t seem nearly as large or steep on the way back, but I think that’s because I knew the end was near.”
“The most challenging part of the race had to have been the elevation change over the course of the race,” Wallace stated. “When racing on a relatively flat course, the pace you are moving at is more accurate, and allows you to adjust based off of mile splits. When steep, gradual hills are thrown into the mix, you have to essentially throw pace out the window as you climb. Over exertion on those steep hills will add seconds, if not minutes onto your finish time if you are not careful and conserve energy. If you are going to push anywhere, it should be on the decline.”
Swiatecki-McCabe’s favorite part of the qualifier, and also with any race she participates in, was seeing everyone pushing themselves.
“Whether your goal is to complete your first ‘Couch to 5K’ or qualify for a team or conduct a team building exercise or whatever your motivation is. You’re out there doing it because you can and that’s pretty awesome,” she said.
Wallace was happy to see the reward for his hard work and is ready to represent his unit in Washington, D.C.
“You can put in hundreds of miles, all for just a 10-mile race. The feeling of accomplishment paired with the encouraging words and constant support from your unit you represent makes it all worth it in the end,” he said. “I have a great sense of pride in my organization, nothing gives me a feeling of accomplishment like making my troopers, peers and leadership alike proud to serve with me.”