KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Camp Clark played host to an officially sanctioned satellite run of the Army 10-Miler Sep. 2.
The 10-mile footrace was open to all soldiers attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, whose 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, is headquartered at Camp Clark.
But running the four laps was only half the work for the team that organized the event.
“[Organizing] a race of this magnitude is very tricky,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. John Whitaker, a Salt Lake City native and medical platoon leader for Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 6th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., who assisted in setting up the event. “You have to balance it against the ongoing operations, which take precedence.”
The date of the race actually had to be moved up at the last minute from a later date in September, due to operational considerations.
This did nothing to lessen the interest of the participants, said Whitaker, who had to limit the amount of personnel coming from Camp Clark, in order to be able accommodate them on the track and during the required overnight stay.
“A lot of people are interested in running; not just because it’s a great race, but because it’s the Army 10-Miler, and it’s got that prestige behind it,” said Whitaker.
That prestige would have been lacking, though, without the help of U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Timothy Haley from Weston, Mass, and 6th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt.’s squadron surgeon. He wanted to do something bigger than the typical, shorter “fun-runs” that are often held downrange.
“We’ve done some smaller 5K races, but nothing on this scale. I think this is probably the first (race of this size) in this area,” said Haley.
He reached out to the organizers of the official Army 10-Miler, an annual event held in Washington, who offered him the opportunity to hold an official satellite event in Afghanistan.
He said Camp Clark was selected due to the heavy interest shown, and because it had a good facility to run the race, on a two-and-a-half mile track on the adjacent Afghan National Army compound, Camp Parsa.
More than 100 soldiers from all over TF Duke’s area of operations, which covers Khowst and Paktya Provinces in eastern Afghanistan, participated in the race, which began at dawn.
As they charged around the track, the runners were watched over by a team of OH-58D Kiowa helicopters.
Video and photos taken at the Camp Clark event will be shown on the video monitors at the 27th annual Army 10-Miler, which will be held on Oct. 9.
“It was great,” said Whitaker, after finishing the run. “We had (helicopters) flying around over head buzzing the racers, and halfway through the race they [test-fired] rockets.”