FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Members of the Fort Rucker 10-Miler Team begin practice Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays before the sun rises.

The eight-member team prepares to take on the Army 10-Miler race in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, according to coach CW2 Steve Abernathy, 1st Warrant Officer Company training, advising and counseling officer.

Early-morning practices, along with the South Alabama environment, have provided the team members with what Abernathy considers an advantage in the competition.

"We avoid the heat of the day by practicing early in the morning," he said. "We still have the humidity and the hills to deal with, which is actually helping us. Washington, D.C., is relatively flat and the humidity is way less than it is here. It should feel easier when we get there."

Capt. Amanda Ranney, U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine Current Operations officer, has never competed in an event like this before, but said the experience of training has been beneficial.

"Training has been challenging, but rewarding," she said. "It's made me better. I've never been able to run as far or for as long as I can now."

Some members of the team have experienced competitions in the past and are excited about competing again.

"I used to run in high school and I was on the 10-Miler Team last year," Staff Sgt. Matthew Kinney, USASAM Aviation Medicine noncommissioned officer in charge, said. "I've been training since May. I'm looking forward to it and I think we'll do really well."

First Sgt. Jeff Herzog, Noncommissioned Officer Academy Branch first sergeant, said he feels good about the team's chances in the upcoming race.

"I'm feeling more confident and prepared thanks to all the training," he said. "The Fort Rucker team has done well over the past three years and I think we will add to that."

Herzog also competed in the recent Hispanic Heritage Month Gate-to-Gate race Oct. 2, coming in eighth overall and second in his age group.

"The Gate-to-Gate was a 4-mile race, so it felt more like a sprint," he said. "This will be a bit more challenging."

Abernathy echoed Herzog's confidence in the team's ability to do well at the Oct. 24 race.

"We should easily place in the Top 5," he said. "I'm feeling really good about how we've done in practice and I think they're ready for the next step."