By SSG Paula TaylorNovember 10, 2009
Back from a trip to Washington, D.C., one local Soldier is settling into his job here once again after running in the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 4. Sgt. Rene Gonzalez, unit supply specialist, Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army), was selected to compete on behalf of the installation, along with nine other Soldiers. Gonzalez, who joined the Army five years ago, said he has been active most of his life but this was his first Army Ten-Miler. "Around age 13 is when I started being more competitive in sports and in running," said Gonzalez. "I've had some pretty good coaches that push me to the limit. I had coaches that were former drill sergeants and military retirees, so they trained us hard. Every day we gave it 100 percent, and I thank them for that. "As I got older, I got better at running. But running at high elevation wasn't too easy when I first got to Fort Huachuca. The rest of the Huachuca Army Ten-Miler team and I started training Monday through Friday in the morning and on Saturdays by ourselves. Our team captain came up with our training plan every week. It was tough, but we have to train hard to be the best," the Soldier said. The team Gonzalez and his nine teammates was on was chosen and assembled by the installation Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports and fitness section. "We had a series of three time trials, June 24, June 27, and July 18," said Thomas Lumley, sports specialist, FMWR. "They were open to active duty Soldiers assigned to Fort Huachuca only. Soldiers were allowed to run in any or all three of the time trials. After the third time trial, we took the five best women's times and the five best men's times from the three time trials, and they were on the team. "After that we picked a team captain, Capt. David Miller, and they pretty much trained on their own as a team. MWR Sports paid for and got the team registered, bought uniforms for the team, did their [temporary duty] orders, took care of their hotel, and made their flight and rental vehicle reservations," Lumley added. The Ten-Miler brought 30,000 runners to the D.C. area, Gonzalez said. The sell-out crowd lined the streets and cheered as the runners went by, which Gonzalez found very motivational. "It was a great experience running this event from start to finish. Adrenaline was high just by seeing all those runners. Throughout the whole course, people were cheering and motivating us, and live Army bands were playing. It's a wonderful feeling once you pass the finish line, knowing that you were part of a big Army event in D.C.," Gonzalez added. "It's a great experience to be part of a special event that has been going for 25 years. If you are not comfortable that you are a good runner and will not make the team, just come out and give it a try. Train hard to be the best you can be. It does not hurt to try. I'm a good runner, but I know that there are faster people then me; that only make me train even harder." Gonzalez plans on competing in as many races as he is afforded the opportunity to participate in throughout his time in the Army and is already looking forward to next year's race. "You will definitely see me again next year. For now, I'll be looking for runners that would like to be part of the team next year since most of the runners on this year's team will be leaving soon," the Soldier said. Along with Gonzalez, the men representing Fort Huachuca, placed 11th out of 37 active-duty men's teams. Fort men's team runners included: Capt. Timothy Bartlett, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion; Sgt. Adam Gasiewicz, 40th Expeditionary Signal Bn.; Capt. David Miller, 304th MI Bn.; and Capt. Juantonio Rivera, 309th MI Bn. On the Fort Huachuca women's team, finishing seventh out of 18 teams, were: Capt. Amy Becker, 304th MI Bn.; Capt. Amanda Bryan, 304th MI Bn.; Spc Sondra Setterington, 305th MI Bn.; Staff Sgt. Amanda Schneider, 304th MI Bn.; and Capt. Mindi Updegraff, 304th MI Bn. According to the race Web site, the proceeds for the Army Ten-Miler, a run produced by the Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington benefit Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation, a comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of Soldiers and their families. The race starts and finishes at the Pentagon, passing by D.C. landmarks including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Building. The mission of the Army Ten-Miler is for the Military District of Washington to safely conduct the Army's annual 10-mile race to promote the Army, build esprit de corps, support fitness goals, and enhance community relations.