By Chelsea Place, Pentagram Staff WriterJuly 7, 2011
The sun was out and the temperature was rising as runners warmed up and stretched before taking part in the third Army Ten-Miler qualifying race for the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall team. The team will support 100 persons; so far, about 40 people have qualified.
“Those 100 runners will be formed into 14 to 16 running teams for us,” said Todd Hopkins, recreation specialist and special events coordinator for Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
As a joint run series, the DFMWR has combined the Commanders Cup Race Series with the 2011 Army Ten-Miler qualifying runs.
“Two years ago, I ran for the team at [Fort] Myer and this is probably my last year here. I wanted to try out and see if I could make the team again,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Trevino HHC 4/3. To add some fun to the runs, each race had a historical theme. The most recent was to commemorate Bull Run, the first major land battle of the Civil War. The next and final qualifying race will be held Aug. 5 in honor of the establishment of Fort Cass, now known as Fort Myer.
The race began at 6:35 a.m. at the Fort Myer Fitness Center. The qualifying runs are 10Ks because the Army Ten-Miler requires all participants to submit a 10K [6.2 miles] run time, said Hopkins. Those wishing to qualify for the JBM-HH team are not required to run in a DFMWR race if they run in a 10K off base.
With thousands of runners, each has a different reason for running. The same can be said of those trying to qualify for the JBM-HH team.
“[I] just keep running alive in my life; [I] grew up loving it and continue doing it, whether or not I'm in the Army,” said Pfc. Anthony Reese, Delta Company 1st Platoon. “I just figured why not be on a team.” For Rader Clinic, the Army Ten-Miler is another way for members of their staff to bond. The clinic plans on having around eight runners in the race.
“To me it's about showing your membership in the Army and support for people downrange as well as people you're with to your left and to your right,” said Spc. Todd Ostendorf, Andrew Rader Clinic.
Lt. Col. Stacy Weina, deputy commander, Andrew Rader Clinic, remembered the camaraderie and patriotism of all those running when she ran the race last year. She talked about how when everyone passed a wounded warrior they would cheer on the warrior and they would cheer on those running around them saying, “If I can do it, you can too.”
Capt. Philip Varner, Headquarters Command Battalion, ran to pace with his wife and one of their friends. The two ladies have not run the Army Ten-Miler before. “I think they definitely gained a lot of confidence for the actual race. Knowing they can push themselves and go further than what they expected,” Varner said.
He went on to talk about how the Army Ten-Miler equalizes everybody, how once you're running, rank doesn't matter; it's just whoever is the fastest. Varner said the race is more about coming together and meeting new people.
Christianne Witten, life skills trainer with Marine Corps Family team building, came out to support the joint base mission and to qualify for the team. “I'm very excited because before I married my Marine, which was five years ago, I would never have imagined running at all, let alone a 10-miler and representing the military, so it's just an exciting opportunity for me, it's a personal accomplishment for me.”
The three-lap, four-race series completes the same circuits around base each time.
The course takes runners down Wainwright Road from the fitness center to behind the stables down Jackson Avenue until it turns into Marshall Drive and connects to McNair Road, which they then take up to Pershing Drive and then run back behind the fitness center where they pass by for the second and third loops.
The last two loops required of runners takes them down Lee Avenue to connect to McNair Road after getting onto Jackson Avenue instead of running all the way down where McNair and Marshall meet.
For those not happy with their time, they can re-qualify for the race; and the better time will be taken.