FORT BRAGG, N.C. — As the team gathered around, they put their hands together signifying camaraderie and teamwork. They smiled at one another and raised their hands cheering, ready to take on the U.S. Army’s annual Ten-Miler.
The Fort Bragg all-women’s running team will be participating in the 38th Annual Army Ten-Mile (ATM) race, Sunday, Oct. 9 in Washington D.C. This is not the first time the team has participated in the ATM. Over the last three years, they have taken first and second place amongst other teams. This made some of the newer members nervous being part of the team, still wanting to maintain that legacy of winning.
“For me personally it is exciting, but a little intimidating because I’m a first timer,” said U.S. Army Cpt. Alaina R. Mariano, a security officer with HHBN XVIII Airborne Corps. “We have a really solid group that have done this for many years. I like our chances and it's going to be great.”
The race is an open event to the public under the Army Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR), that attracts over 35,000 runners from all over the world with participants being military, civilians, wheelchair and wounded warrior athletes. The race activities will include a two-day expo with over 100 exhibitors, promoting physical fitness and building morale amongst the participants and guests.
“The ten-miler is a really big event that anyone can participate in,” said Mariano. “I think it’s a goal that a lot of people can strive for and it’s really encouraging to see other units out here. It’s definitely an achievable goal and a great opportunity.”
This year's team is formed with different units from all over Fort Bragg, with the team members being selected with fastest base mileage time. Those that are selected then have a six-day training schedule that is focused on not just running, but creating an overall fit soldier.
“We had a training schedule where we ran four days a week,” said Cpt. Leyla Kosakowski, a chief force health protection officer with the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade. “Then we had an alternate day where we'd do swimming or some other kind of recovery. We would also have a cross training day, which was like circuit training”
Fort Bragg is not only home of the Airborne and Special Forces, but is also known for a tradition of running and winning. The post hosts multiple races throughout the year with the next race being the Fort Bragg ten mile Nov. 5, 2022. Following the Army’s annual Ten-Miler, the team members hope to see more Soldiers join Fort Bragg’s running teams for next year.
“So my advice to other service members is, do what you enjoy,” said Kosakowski. “If you enjoy running, it's really just one step at a time. To those who join the running team, put your mind to it, believe in yourself and you could definitely do ten miles.”