Servicemembers Near and Far Participate in Army Ten-Miler

By David Mays
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2007 - Thousands of U.S. servicemembers took to the streets of the nation's capital and to makeshift routes laid out on military outposts around the world during the Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 7.

"This is the first 10-miler I've ever run," Army Spc. Matthew Davis said after completing a "shadow" event at Logistics Support Area Adder, about 225 miles south of Baghdad. "It's probably one of the most awesome feelings I've ever felt."

About 200 soldiers, airmen and civilians took part in the Adder run, as did servicemembers deployed to Forward Operating Base Hammer and Camp Victory, in Iraq, during similar events held there and at other smaller posts across the country. More than 250 runners from 24 countries took part in a shadow race at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

"I felt pretty happy that they put on the event," Army 1st Lt. Anthony Calingo said after winning the LSA Adder race. "This is my 6th Army Ten-Miler and second one in Iraq. It's something I like doing every year, and to be able to continue doing it while deployed is definitely a good thing."

"It makes the deployment feel as if we were back in the rear, a little bit more normal," Army 2nd Lt. Ann Ayers said after her victory at Adder. "I was impressed with my time because I really can't run a whole lot while I'm here, because I'm always out on convoys. This was a real morale booster for me."

A record 26,000 runners lined up at the Pentagon early Oct. 7 and faced record heat that actually rivaled that of Iraq as they followed a 10-mile course along the National Mall. A team of runners from Fort Hood, Texas, took the coveted "Commander's Cup" for top active-duty military men's division in the Washington race, while a team from 8th U.S. Army Korea took this year's cup in the active-duty women's division.

Dozens of military amputees, known collectively by their tongue-in-cheek name "Missing Parts in Action," raced the 10-mile D.C. course led by Army 1st Lt. Ivan Castro, who lost his right eye and was blinded in his left during an attack last year in Iraq. Tethered to his training partner, the active duty soldier averaged just over eight and a half minutes per mile.

"These men and women are those that went forward into the breech and fought, and they've come back and they've gone back into that breech -- not necessarily back in the breech of combat yet, but they're prepared for that," said Army Maj. David Rozelle, who organized the amputee team after recovering from a 2003 mine blast in Iraq that cost him his right foot. He finished the Army Ten-Miler in Washington just three minutes behind his fellow soldier and team member Castro.

Shadow or satellite editions of events like the Army Ten-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon have become increasingly popular at overseas outposts in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere servicemembers want to take part in such unique shared experiences.

"It's something that I'm glad to be able to do," said Army 1st Lt. Adrian White, who organized the LSA Adder race. "The soldiers work hard, and on their down time they want to release their stress, and the marathons and 10-milers allow them to do that, and they enjoy it. They really like to do these runs. If there is anything that I can do to make their stay here a little bit more enjoyable, I'm more than glad to do it."

(David Mays works for the New Media branch of American Forces Information Service.)

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