FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- A Fort Huachuca Soldier was named Army Athlete of the Year by doing what he most enjoys and what comes naturally. He runs because he loves it and because he's good at it.

"The best part about running is just being able to get away from everything else and just go out and enjoy God's creation and enjoy the time alone," said Army Athlete of the Year, 1st Lt. Charles "Chad" Ware, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion.

"I take my dog running with me, too, and my wife as well. Getting out on the road just has a peace to it that you don't get when you are surrounded by all the media and other things that we surround ourselves with," Ware said.

Ware received the Army Athlete of the Year award last week at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for competitions that took place in October 2011, the Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon, which was part of the Armed Forces Championship.

"I performed pretty well; I was fourth on the team for the Army Ten-Miler and had a good time, and that helped us win the International Cup." His time for the ten-miler was 49:46.

In the Army Ten-Miler, Ware's team competed against foreign nation armies such as the Brazilian army. He qualified for the team based on the times he had run, and submitted an application to be on the All-Army team. They then selected him to be a part of the Army team.

In the Marine Corps Marathon, Ware could say he did more than well -- he won the event. Ware ran the Marine Corps Marathon, 26.2 miles, in 2:19:16.

The marathon had competitors from all of the armed forces -- Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force -- as well as other competitors. The race had more than 20,000 runners competing in Washington, D.C. The team Ware ran with during the marathon had people from all over the country who were stationed at different installations.

"Winning was a blessing -- I didn't expect it. I don't think I am the most deserving person for that award. I think [it was] the fact that I won the Marine Corps Marathon, which I was very thankful for, but I think it sounds like a bigger deal than it was. I am sure there were other athletes that did better things than me, but I was very thankful that they selected me for Army Athlete of the Year," Ware said.

Ware grew up in an Army family and was known as an 'Army brat' for moving around. He was born at Fort Campbell, Ky., and lived in Fort Lewis, Wash., and throughout Germany until his family settled in South Bend, Ind., when he was 10, and where his parents currently reside.
When Ware was getting ready to enter college, he began to consider joining the Army. "I also started getting more in shape towards the end of high school. The Army became a little more appealing at that time, so I went to college and did ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps] and received an ROTC scholarship. I always wanted to be in the Army since high school, so I joined," Ware said. He was commissioned in 2007 and has been in the Army ever since.

Ware currently lives on Fort Huachuca with his wife Katie and his dog, Dash. He is currently in the MI Basic Officer Leadership Course.

Ware shared his thoughts about his passion for running.
"It is something I love to do. You can't run a lot like that and keep it up if you don't love to do it, Ware said. "Getting out and running isn't a big chore because it is what I love to do.

"I played sports all my life but as far as running goes, when I was in high school I started running to get in shape for my other sports, soccer and baseball. [I] then slowly realized that God blessed me with more of an ability to run well then to do the other sports well. It just came pretty naturally for me, so in college I started running on my college team at Butler University, and it kind of just built from there, slowly. I was part of a really good team at Butler, so that was a blessing to be able to see what good runners did and what it looked like to do well," he said.
Ware is a distance runner; in track, he was a 10K specialist, and he also ran cross-country in college. However, marathon running is something he has always done well at, and that is usually what he excels at.

"I always thank God first because everything I do, I can do because He has given me the ability to do it. I am so very thankful for the ability to run and to run well and train and stay injury free and all that stuff; He receives the glory for that. I am also very thankful for my wife. She supports me and allows me to put in the time I need to train," Ware said.

"One of the big things [I do] is I put in a lot of miles. I run twice a day, usually 120 to 130 miles a week, and do different types of speed work and different types of runs. I also run a long run of 20 to 22 miles, I rotate those types of workouts in with easy days and try to pump out the miles," Ware said.