By Tina Ray/ParaglideNovember 4, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - When Hillary Cheruiyot finished first among active-duty men in the 27th Annual Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 9, with a time of 54 minutes, 15 seconds, he was plagued by an ankle injury.
Regardless, Cheruiyot still managed to give the Fort Bragg men's team the first-place victory that had eluded it for 27 years. He was the team's first member to cross the finish line.
The Fort Bragg women's and the men's master teams also took first place at this year's 10 miler, which featured more than 30,000 people and 701 teams.
The teams motto was, "Every second will count," said Cheruiyot.
Running is something that Cheruiyot seemed destined to do. A native of Eldoret, Kenya, he joined the Army in 2009 through a program that guaranteed accelerated citizenship, he said. At the time, Cheruiyot was a member of the Norfolk State University (Va.) cross-country team, having arrived in America on a scholarship in 2005.
He joined the service just shy of seven credits to graduation.
"The military has given me a lot and I think it would be nice to give back to them," said Cheruiyot, a medic with military information support operations.
In fact, it was command support that put Fort Bragg in a position to excel at the Ten-Miler, Cheruiyot said. Joseph Woodley led the men's team as captain.
"No wonder he's a captain," Cheruiyot said. "He was very good leadership. I was impressed with that."
Lora Lewis, a certified running trainer, helped identify individual strengths and motivate the team physically and spiritually, Cheruiyot added.
Running is physical, we rely on an old Kenyan motto -- train hard, win easy, said Cheruiyot.
"Don't expect to win if you're not ready."
To maintain readiness, Cheruiyot usually runs 80 miles a week, abstains from eating any junk foods and loads up on carbohydrates, including rice, and a Kenyan dish called ugali, which is little grainer than grits, he said.
It is important to pay attention to nutrition, a staple that helps Cheruiyot maintain a healthy weight of 156 pounds on his lean, 6-foot frame.
Ultimately, he wants to participate in a marathon and join the International Military Sports Council, which organizes various sporting events for the armed forces. To do so, Cheruiyot will have to increase his mileage to at least 100 miles per week
"My target is a full marathon and they (CISM) need a time of less than two hours and nineteen minutes, and I believe I can get it with good training," he said.
Ultimately, running is more psychological than anything else, with almost 90 percent of success coming from positive thoughts and self-determination, Cheruiyot said.
He also wants to ensure that Fort Bragg wins next year's Ten-Miler.
Cheruiyot said he's certain that Hawaii, which had previously beaten Fort Bragg, will want to reclaim victory, but Cheruiyot feels he can produce a time of less than 49 minutes, easily attained before he injured his ankle in the 15th Annual Fort Bragg Army Birthday 10-Miler in June.
Professionally, Cheruiyot said he would like to join the physician's assistant program or enter the Army Medical Department Enlisted Commissioning Program for registered nurses.
Personally, when not fulfilling his Army duties, Cheruiyot said he enjoys visiting museums, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Asheboro Zoo with his wife, Margaret Maiyo, and their 18-months-old son, Dylan.
He lives by the train hard, win easy motto, but also offers advice for rookie or professional runners -- don't go in a race when you are not prepared.