FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A 12-mile walk through the woods with a 35 pound (or more) rucksack on his back was nothing for Capt. Jason Tebedo, during the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sponsored 2011 Fort Bragg Post Intramural Combat Cross Country Meet, Feb. 17, at Smith Lake. Even after Tebedo passed mile nine, where most competitors would be exhausted and breathing hard, he was still all smiles and passed the finish line with a grin from ear-to-ear.

Tededo, an officer for the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion and Iron Man competitor, was the first to qualify for the team that will represent Fort Bragg at Bataan Memorial Death March, in White Springs, N.M., March 27. He finished second in last year's competition but with his overall time this year of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 46 seconds, he left the other competitors in the dust.

"It's an honor to be a part of this event and to represent Fort Bragg," said Tebedo. "Last year the Fort Bragg team broke the record for overall time and we plan to break it again this year."
The top five participants to cross the finish line during the Fort Bragg competition in both men and women's divisions are eligible to continue on to New Mexico to represent the post. Tebedo said he'd like to get the top five together to train using the Soldier Enhancement Program to reach their goals.

Finishing second overall was Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Deshaw, 126th Transportation Company, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, with a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 20 seconds. Deshaw participated and qualified for the march last year and this year he is dedicating his march to Spc. Shawn Muhr, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in January.

Deshaw, also a marathon runner, explained that he built up pace and distance over time while training for the event and for a marathon, which happens to fall two days after the meet.
The first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 26 seconds was 1st Lt. Marjorie Brooks, Womack Army Medical Center, who has been a long-distance runner since she was 12 years old.

"I'm proud that I get to represent Fort Bragg again this year since it's becoming more prominent. We are the home of the airborne and Special Forces and now I'll get the chance to show that nurses can do the hard stuff too ... we can do the Army stuff," smiled Brooks.
Most of the competitors of the Smith Lake march agreed that the sand and the last hill of the route were the hardest parts of the race.

"That end hill was brutal," said Capt. Ann Barlieb, 4th Military Information Support Group. "But the support that the MWR gives is great ... the water points, the course route markings ... everything was planned out well. MWR does a great job with these types of events."

Barlieb finished third for the women's division with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes, and 33 seconds. She said she can't wait to participate in the New Mexico march again, claiming it to be one of the best marathons she's been too, especially the memorial portion of the race.

The Fort Bragg route and the route that the competitors will follow in New Mexico are similar in terrain but the Bataan Death March will be a full marathon distance of 26.2 miles, and according to Deshaw, there's a monster of a hill that competitors will have to climb.

"The biggest thing will be the elevation change," said Deshaw. "But it's definitely an honor to represent Fort Bragg. I've got friends in Hawaii and Korea saying they've got something for us this year ... I bet them they don't. It's all about bragging rights."

Tebedo couldn't agree more, "There's the Army, and then there's Fort Bragg. We are definitely the whole package and I'm very proud to represent Fort Bragg."


Top Five Qualifiers
Jason Tebedo - 97th Civil Affairs Battalion
Ricky Deshaw - 126th Transportation Company, 82nd Sustainment Brigade
Jacob Sweatland - Co. C 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group
Tony Mayne - Co. B 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
Scott Moore - Joint Special Operations Command
Marjorie Brooks - Womack Army Medical Center
April Moore - 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion
Ann Barlieb - 4th Military Information Support
Audrey Hurdel - 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion
Sheri Drake - 92nd Civil Affairs Battalion