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October 28, 2011

People

Fort McCoy team finishes 3rd in Reserve Mixed category at Army Ten-Miler Race

The Fort McCoy Army Ten-Miler team placed third in the Army Reserve Mixed category at the Oct. 9 Army Ten-Miler event, held at the Pentagon.

The team’s four-hour, 47-minute and 59-second (4:47:59) aggregate time was 10:05 behind the Pacific Pride Eha, which clocked an aggregate time of 4:37:54. The team aggregate score was determined by adding the times of the top four finishers, which must include at least one female.
PHOTO: Fort McCoy’s Army-Ten Miler team before the big race in Washington, D.C. Contributed photo
Fort McCoy’s Army-Ten Miler team before the big race in Washington, D.C. From left are: Master Sgt. Misty Brown, Sgt. 1st Class Dean Peloquin, Maj. Thomas Akerlund, Staff Sgt. David Zeichert and Staff Sgt. Richard Mancl. (Contributed photo)

Staff Sgt. Richard Mancl (88th Regional Support Command) paced Fort McCoy runners with a time of 1:09:10. He was followed closely by Sgt. 1st Class Dean Peloquin (86th Training Division (Operations)) in 1:11:17 and Maj. Thomas Akerlund (Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison (HHC, USAG)) in 1:11:30. Master Sgt. Misty Brown (HHC, USAG) with a time of 1:16:03 and Staff Sgt. David Zeichert (86th) in 1:19:20 completed the team’s runners.

Akerlund, the team captain, said the highlights of the event for the Fort McCoy team included finishing just 52 seconds behind the Road Warriors of Fort Knox, Ky., which had a time of 4:47:07, and finishing 9:22 ahead of the Howling Coyotes, a team from Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., which posted a time of 4:57:21.

Thirty-eight teams competed in the Army Reserve Mixed category. A total of 597 teams competed in the overall event, in which Fort McCoy placed 122nd. Team results of the 2011 Army Ten-Miler are available at the website http://www.armytenmiler.com/Results.

After the tryouts at Fort McCoy in late March and early April, Akerlund said Fort McCoy’s team set up a Facebook “group” to keep each other informed about what they were doing and upcoming races they were competing in.

“Our group runs usually consisted of track workouts since we could squeeze them in at lunch time,” he said. “Distance runs usually were done on our own due to everyone’s differing schedules.”

One exception were the runs scheduled by the post, including the Wellness Fair 5-K in May and the Summer Sizzler 5-K run in June.

The group discussed different running techniques. Akerlund said as more of an informal runner he appreciated getting tips from some of the more-serious, competitive runners in the group about proper nutrition, including having sufficient carbohydrates to finish a run. They also added tips about experiences they had gained while running. In return, he subscribed to a runner’s magazine that had good tips that he would share with the group.

“Fort McCoy has done a great job of representing itself at the Army Ten-Miler, and I was proud to be a part of the team,” Akerlund said. “Being part of a team puts a bit more pressure on the runners to go faster.”

The runners and the spectators make for a great event. The runners included wounded warriors, including those who are amputees.

“I found that very motivating and encouraging to see firsthand these individuals who worked beyond their disability,” Akerlund said. “I know it took many months, if not years, of therapy and training to reach the point where they were able to run the Army Ten-Miler.”

Members of the Fort McCoy team were able to concentrate their efforts on the event because of the support of the installation and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Recreation and Welfare (DFMWR) commercial sponsorships, he said.

The hotel, food and travel arrangements to and from Fort McCoy were all taken care of, he said. About the only thing the team had to do was to get to the event on time. Akerlund said navigating through the huge number of runners and spectators — about 30,000 people competed and a similar number of spectators enjoyed the race –— the team made it to the race’s starting line with plenty of time to spare.

“The experience to see the other competitors and to run past some of the best-known monuments in Washington, D.C., was exceptional,” he said. “We really didn’t have time during the race to do sightseeing.”

Competitors had the option to spend time at their own cost in Washington, D.C., either before or after the race, to see the sights.

Pam Budda, Fort McCoy team tryout point of contact for the DFMWR, said the preliminary plan for next year is to hold the tryouts later in April to give potential runners more time outdoors to prepare for the event and to be in peak racing condition.
In addition, at least two spots will be open for next year’s team as Akerlund is PCSing (permanent change of station) to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Brown is retiring.

Commercial sponsors for the event, included USAA, Case Construction, Logistics Health Inc., Mathy Construction, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, EconoLodge, Precision Stitch & Ink, Best Western Sparta Trail Lodge, and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. No federal endorsement is implied.

For more information about the event, call 608-388-6461.

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