CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait, July 5, 2011 -- More than 900 servicemembers and Department of Defense employees started their Fourth of July festivities by participating in the annual Peachtree Road Race 10K here.

The winner of this year’s race was 1st Lt. Nicholas Sterghos, with 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, with a time of 33 minutes, 22 seconds.

“This race was a training run,” said Sterghos. “I’m trying to qualify for the World Class Athlete Program.”

Sterghos’ goal is to make the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He competes in the Olympic Distance Triathlon which consists of a one-mile swim, 25-mile bike race and a 10K run. He has been a triathlete for the past two years and a member of the International Triathlon Union.

“I’m glad Morale, Welfare and Recreation puts on these events,” said Sterghos. “I appreciate all the volunteers and the runners who came out to support the event, and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Although every participating servicemember is not an Olympic athlete, many competed strong and used this race as a training event.

Staff Sgt. Long Tran, with 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command, finished second with a time of 33:42.

“Finishing second behind an Olympic trainee is not a bad thing,” said Tran after finishing the race with his personal best time in a 10K race. “It makes me feel better knowing that I’m able to compete with him.”

Alongside the men were women servicemembers who were competing with the men for first place.

The first woman to cross the finish line was 1st Lt. Michelle Miller, a member of Headquarters Joint Logistics Task Force 6, with a time of 47:21.

“It’s fun to run in this race,” said Miller, who prepared for this race by running on the treadmill. “The race breaks up the monotony and it’s a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July.”

According to Ken Schepers, MWR Center lead, the event took about 45 days to plan. It took coordination between MWR, Directorates of Logistics, the USO, and the Atlanta Track Club. These organizations provided food, beverages and entertainment and free T-shirts to all runners in the race.

Schepers said winners of the race will have their pictures sent back to Atlanta in time for the beginning of the Peachtree Road Race 10K. Video of the race will also be seen in Atlanta for runners and audience to see during the race.

The origin of the Peachtree Road Race is in Atlanta and this year marks its 42nd race. The race features world-class runners, and more than 60,000 people will participate in this year’s race in Atlanta.

Since 2004, satellite races have been held overseas for servicemembers. This year the race will also be held in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2007, an estimate of 3,000 servicemembers participated in the satellite races with five locations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. The event is sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Atlanta Track Club.