On Oct. 10, close to 40 runners gathered at K-16, a small Army community and an Army installation co-located at the Republic of Korea’s Seoul Air Base.
There were some logistical challenges, but, also the will to ensure no runner would be left behind. Planners scheduled a Ten Miler Race at the installation, which is little more than the size of the air field which required the use of the installation track, gated side roads and the main road. It was a collaborative effort to create a safe ten-mile route. Some runners joined from Camp Casey and Yongsan as well as those stationed at K-16. That took other planning.
On Sept. 13, it was announced the Army’s Ten-Miler race would be virtual – It seems serious runners and the unit planners saw an opportunity for a great event. The question was… What are we going to do about it? How am I going to submit my time to the virtual event?
Problem solved: K-16 would host a shadow race.
“I really think it’s important for keeping morale high–especially being overseas,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Linden of Charlie Company, 2-2 Assault Helicopter Battalion of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at K-16. “We’re a long way from the AUSA 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition and the Army Ten Miler at Washington D.C. It’s about people coming together, and feeling like they can still be a part of K-16 or a part of the Ten-Miler race in Washington,” he said.
Many Soldiers stationed in the community are unaccompanied and without their family. He wanted to create a fun event, and provide something to do over the weekend.
He did... His event spanned the entirety of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan-Casey’s community because the garrison provided buses get runners to the race, which allowed runners from all over to participate. Soldiers and family members from all three installations, Yongsan, Camp Casey/Hovey and K-16 joined to run, watch and enjoy the day.
“It was a collaborative effort between the unit [2-2], the garrison and the medics,” said Ta’Vares Hickey, the garrison’s director of safety. “We had to ensure a safe route within the confines of the installation.”
Being in Seoul, off-installation routes were non-starters, Hickey said, because of the city traffic. Additionally, there were other considerations since K-16 is small and co-located with the Republic of Korea’s military installation and airfield.
“I’m on the Ten Mile team at Fort Bliss,” said Sgt. John “J.T.” Saporito of Fort Bliss, Texas who finished first with at 1:02:51. He bested himself by four seconds in previous races. On a nine-month rotation, Saporito said, “Hovey and Casey is full of rolling hills and I feel like this is the flattest I could get to turn in my time.”
With great weather, professional runners, canine runners, baby carriages and a food truck, some say the event was memorable.
“I think this is a great event because it challenges you to run a distance you may not be accustomed to running, and it can be accomplished by anyone,” said Lt. Col. Bridget Dalziel, commander of the 2-2 Assault Helicopter Battalion at K-16. “I like the confidence it brings Soldiers when they do it and complete it. It’s amazing and it’s a great way to bring our community together.”