By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth

CAMP CASEY South Korea -- Runners from all over Korea took to the streets of Camp Casey June 9 for a shot at representing 8th U.S. Army at the upcoming 28th Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C. this fall.

"We had a great turnout," said Tom Higgins, a sports specialist with Installation Management Command Pacific's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation directorate. "The weather was fine, although it got a little hot at the end for people. But, everyone ended safely so it was a good day."

Over 100 runners participated in the run, which began at the Carey Fitness Center and took the runners to the four corners of the Casey enclave. Although not all had hopes of earning one of the eight slots on the 8th Army team, some did better than they'd expected.

"It feels good and gives me confidence to continue my running," said Austin Partan, about finishing his first 10-mile race in 1:09:14 and being selected as an alternate for the team.

Partan will be back-up for the team, composed of the three fastest men, the three fastest women, and then the next two fastest times from the Korea qualifier.

"I swam in college and I have done various triathlons just for fun, but have never been on an official team since college," said Nerea Cal who finished the run in 1:17:16. "This is going to be fun and will give me a goal to work towards and at the same time help photosatisfy my competitive drive."

"With our population (in Korea) I think going mixed-team gives us a chance to maybe take a first place," said Patrick Noble, the team's coach, who finished the qualifier in 1:09:58.

"I think this team looks as strong as we have ever had" said Higgins. "I think this team will represent the command very, very well and has a very strong possibility of winning the mixed military competition."

The team members will spend the next four months running on their own. But at the beginning of October they will come together in Daegu for a 10-day training camp.

"We all get together and do a race, start training three times a day to pick up their mileage," said Noble. "Running will become a full-time job for them."

In order to get acclimated, the 8th Army team will fly to the U.S. capital the week prior to the Army Ten-Miler. On Oct. 21, they'll join the other 30,000 people for a run among Washington, D.C.'s monuments.

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