Va. Guard team takes first place in Army Ten Miler mixed division category

Virginia National Guard Soldiers receive their first place trophy for the National Guard mixed category at the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 9, 2016, in Washington, D. C. (Contributed photo)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers receive their first place trophy for the National Guard mixed category at the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 9, 2016, in Washington, D. C. (Contributed photo)

SANDSTON, Va. – A team of Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group took first place honors in the National Guard mixed division at the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 8, 2016, in Washington, D.C. with an overall time of 5:04:43.

“This was the first year we had a full team of eight Soldiers, and I knew we had the strongest team yet over the past couple of years we have been doing this annual race,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Negard, commander of the 266th. “Having the whole team on stage and receiving the trophy during the team award ceremony was one of the goals I set coming into command. It was an honor to meet and get coined by the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army, Daniel A. Dailey and the 39th Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.”

Negard was the top finisher for the team with a time of 1:09:02, followed by 2nd Lt. Bryan White with a time of 1:10:46. Sgt. Ashley Mullins ran a 1:19:18, and Spc. Matthew Espejo finished with a time of 1:25:37. Other team members included Spc. Michael Beamon, Spc. Sarah Alfalaij, and Spc. Oches.

Each of the runners spent significant time preparing for the race. Negard said he was running up to 40 to 50 miles per week during the last two months of training. White just completed the Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood in May where he received the physical training award during his graduation. Mullins hiked the entire Appalachian Trail last yea, and Negard said he knew she would be the missing link for their team.

The Army Ten-Miler is an annual event produced by the Military District of Washington with the proceeds benefitting family and morale, welfare and recreation programs. The race participant cap is 35,000 runners and usually sells out within hours of the online registration being opened.

This year more than 600 teams in 26 divisions competed in the race.