LANDSTUHL, Germany - Army Capt. Shannon Kirchmer, an optometrist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC), has a lifelong passion for running. On Oct. 9, she helped her team place second at the 38th Annual Army 10-miler (ATM) in Washington, D.C. Individually, Kirchmer placed 78th out of nearly 5,000 women with a time of 69 minutes and 12 seconds.
The ATM is the second-largest 10-mile race in the United States, hosting over 35,000 runners and 900 teams from around the world. Participants include military, civilians, wheelchair athletes and wounded warrior athletes who race by national monuments through Washington, D.C., and into Arlington, Virginia.
“This was my first time running the Army 10-miler and it was exciting to be there with all the different installation teams and be in our nation’s capital,” said Kirchmer.
Kirchmer, a native of XXXX, North Carolina, was part of the United States Army Europe and Africa / Installation Management Command Directorate-Europe (USAEUR-AF/IMCOM Europe) team, comprised of active-duty service members from Vicenza, Italy, Grafenwohr, Germany and the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
“Building up to qualify for the Europe team in June was a good base to start my marathon training for the fall and then work to improve my 10-mile time, which I did by over 3 minutes,” Kirchmer said. “This year I put my name in the lottery for the Berlin Marathon and got in, so I started training for that over the summer and ran it on Sept. 25, 2022, in 3:32:50,
Kirchmer, native of North Carolina, has been running since middle school. She ran her first marathon during her second year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, and her first Boston Marathon a few years later.
Kirchmer says she enjoys running because you can do it anywhere, any time.
“I started running because there was a club after school, and it was just fun to me! It’s also a great stress reliever now and a fun way to explore new places when traveling. I enjoy the personal challenge training for faster times and different distances,” said Kirchmer.
Kirchmer’s love for physical activity doesn’t stop on the track, since arriving at LRMC, her first duty station, in 2020, she has earned the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) and the Air Assault Badge, both physically challenging accomplishments for any Soldier.
An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Optometry, Kirchmer believes those wanting to run should “be consistent in workouts and you will be racing 10 miles before you know it!”