Va. Guard makes strong showing during Army Ten-Miler

Two Va. Guard Army Ten-Miler Teams placed second and third in the National Guard men’s competition Oct. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C. 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 sells out usually within hours of the online registration being opened. (Courtesy photo)

Two Va. Guard Army Ten-Miler Teams placed second and third in the National Guard men’s competition Oct. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C. 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 sells out usually within hours of the online registration being opened. (Courtesy photo)

SANDSTON, Va. — Two Virginia  National Guard Army Ten-Miler Teams placed second and third in the National Guard men’s competition Oct. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

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 usally sells out within hours of the online registration being opened.

This year over 600 teams in 26 divisions competed in the race.

Soldiers from the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group formed a six-man team which earned an overall time of 5:14:23, scoring second overall in the National Guard men’s division of the race.

Soldiers from the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group formed a six-man team which earned an overall time of 5:14:23, scoring second overall in the National Guard men’s division of the race. (Courtesy photo)

Soldiers from the Manassas-based 266th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group formed a six-man team which earned an overall time of 5:14:23, scoring second overall in the National Guard men’s division of the race. (Courtesy photo)

Team members included Capt. Robert Maffeo, 1st Lt. Matthew Negard, Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Gomez, Staff Sgt. Derek Wells, Sgt. Ashley Mullins and Sgt. David Perry.

“Throughout the training year, our team conducted long runs, high-tempo runs and speed intervals during our drill weekends at Fort Pickett and Manassas whenever we had enough time,” said Negard.

“These runs brought us closer as a unit but also set an example for the entire company to follow,” Negard said. “By training for the race, we were able to maintain our physical fitness and kept ourselves accountable by running throughout the month.”

The race distinguishes itself from similar running events due to the level of spectator support, the ease of the route through our nation’s capital and level of participation from our fellow service men and women, explained Negard.

“The course was amazingly scenic, passing through the Lincoln Memorial, John Ericcson Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, U.S. Capitol and at Pentagon,” Negard said.

“One of the most moving sights I saw was a former Soldier running the entire 10 miles with a prosthetic leg,” Negard said. “This clearly showed the dedication and motivation of our fellow brothers and sisters in the military.”

Earning third place, five Soldiers from the West Point-based 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command earned an overall time of 5:45:37.

Five Soldiers from the West Point-based 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command earned an overall time of 5:45:37. (Courtesy photo)

Five Soldiers from the West Point-based 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command earned an overall time of 5:45:37. (Courtesy photo)

Team members included Capt. Christopher P. Grant, 1st Lt. Shawn P. Proctor, 1st Lt. R. Bryan Hicks, 2nd Lt. Joshua Jang and Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Anderson.

“My idea for this year’s ATM was to put together a company team to run in honor of the six fallen members of the 237th Engineer Company,” said Grant. “I offered up the team registration if at least three others were willing to commit to the Army Ten-Miler.”

Unlike most ATM teams which represent a post, division or even a brigade-size element where there is a large pool to draw from necessitating tryouts, this was limited to the 90 Soldiers in the company. It was less about competition than about honoring our fallen, Grant explained.

“We wore team shirts that included the names of our six fallen Soldiers, so everyone in our immediate vicinity understood our motivations,” Grant said. “We decided to start in the same wave together, which made an impact to us, at least.”

“While you can get linked up with local running groups for support, the train up for a distance run is typically a solitary program for amateur runners,” Grant said. “Everyone has their own goals and schedule to keep, so you have to fit runs in wherever you can.”

“Personally, I ran three days each week for 20-30 miles, and cross trained two days,” Grant commented. “Unfortunately, we don’t have much opportunity to train as a team due the nature of the National Guard– when we do come together, the responsibilities of our Guard jobs limit the time we can spend training as a team.”

“I think there is a lot more training value in preparing for a race than any given fitness test,” Grant explained. “Race entries cost you money, so there is a financial stake in showing up.”

“When you show up to a race, the atmosphere is usually capital and the Army Ten Miler is one of the best,” said Grant. “When you cross the finish, especially for a longer distance, the sense of accomplishment is such that you can’t help the urge to do it again.”

“The first race of any distance I participated in was the 2011 Army Ten-Miler, and I have since run 10 half marathons. So it was a highlight for me when, two of my teammates told me they registered for half marathons in the spring.”

The 10-mile race began at 8:00 a.m. at the Pentagon and instead of all the runners starting at one time, runners are broken into “waves” based on their pace time. In 2014, there were eight waves.

According to the ATM webpage, National Guard men’s teams are all male teams with Guard status from the same unit, duty station or installation.

Two Va. Guard Army Ten-Miler Teams placed second and third in the National Guard men’s competition Oct. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C. 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 sells out usually within hours of the online registration being opened. (Courtesy photo)

Two Va. Guard Army Ten-Miler Teams placed second and third in the National Guard men’s competition Oct. 10, 2014, in Washington, D.C. 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 sells out usually within hours of the online registration being opened. (Courtesy photo)

About Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki

Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki is the Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Officer at Fort Pickett. He can be reached at andrew.j.czaplicki.mil@mail.mil or by phone at (804) 236-7706. You can follow the Virginia National Guard on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/company/VaNationalGuard