News: JBLM soldiers run for personal records in Army 10-miler
Story by Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The Army Ten-Miler is one of the largest 10-mile races in the world. Approximately 35,000 people from all over the U.S. ran in this year’s race, Oct. 20. Military service members and civilians ran side-by-side from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge and around the National Mall.
“To prepare for the Army 10-Miler this year, I went to practice with the JBLM team and did a few workouts with a local running group,” said 1Lt. Chelsea Prahl from Greenville, Mich., assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division. “I normally try to run twice a day.”
Prahl, who finished her run at 60 minutes, 11 seconds, serves as the executive officer for Headquarters Support Company, 46th Aviation Support Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Prahl ran for the All-Army team last year, and was in good company. Teammates Capt. Erica Chabalko, 1st Lt. Christina Rath and Capt. Marisa Gossweiler returned from last year’s championship team. Organizers reported that 63 percent of the runners were active duty, reserve, guard, retired military, veterans, military family dependents or Department of Defense employees.
The JBLM team coach, 1st Lt. Gregory Leak, ran the Army Ten-Miler for his fourth time, finishing in 50 minutes, 1 second.
“I was a little worried about it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. I had a blast coming up with the team training regimen to get them prepared,” said Leak, a native of Chadds Ford, Pa., currently assigned to 1st Battalion (155mm Towed), 377th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade 7th Infantry Division.
JBLM sent three teams to the Army 10-Miler this year: the men’s team, the women’s team and a master’s team.
“In terms of my preparation, I had a good four months of building up mileage doing certain workouts, lifting. I did upwards of 100 miles a week these last couple of months,” Leak said.
The JBLM team had a similar buildup. Spc. Preston Myers, 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, ran approximately 80 miles a week, while other teammates put in 50-60 miles a week.
Before Leak was in the Army, he ran the race twice while in school with the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
“This last time I did decent, I didn’t go as fast as I’d hoped, I was shooting for a time of 49:30. The lead pack went out really fast and I knew they were going to go a little bit hard so I stayed conservative and I just kept picking people off throughout the race. So I was really happy with how I executed my race and my race plan,” Leak said.
“All the Army guys, and (several top runners), they all went out fast -; I went out at a five-minute pace and just kept gradually catching up. Those last two or three miles I just saw the all-Army guys stringing along and the last mile I caught two or three of them.”
Myers, a soldier with 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, did well, coming in 11th place among Army runners. Other runners from JBLM finished their race faster than in previous years.
“There were a lot of great runners; [Maj.] George Mount had a two-minute [personal record] and won the Masters Division. Jake England also did really well. I think it was a two or three minute PR for him as well,” Leak said.
The Army 10-Miler experience is unique to each of its runners, and they each have different things going through their head when they’re running at that pace.
“For me, it’s all about sticking with that rhythm. It’s a long 50 minutes, and if you’re constantly thinking, you’re going to go nuts. I use the people running around me as motivation. I look forward and try to stay in the rhythm,” Leak said.
Even with a potential change in career, Leak added that he may still have another race in him. “I really enjoyed coaching the team this year, so I’m leaning more towards ‘yes’ to doing this again.”
Prahl, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy last year, looked forward to the reunion aspect of the event.
“I really wanted to do it again because I had so much fun. The course is great, the fans and other runners are so motivating, and I was able to see my former West Point Cross Country teammates,” Prahl said.
“Most of all, my experience last year has had a lasting impact on my running career and life in general.”
There are 19 officially recognized sister 10-miler runs overseas, including ones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Cuba, Kosovo, and South Korea.
All of the proceeds go to the Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund.