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Arctic Warriors represent at U.S. Army Ten-Miler
Army 2nd Lt. Aaron Demro with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, is the first USARAK Soldier to cross the Army Ten-Miler finish line Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C., with a time of 0:55:05. (U.S. Army Photo/Mary M. Rall)
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Arctic Warriors represent at U.S. Army Ten-Miler

Posted 10/25/2012   Updated 10/25/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mary M. Rall
U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs

10/25/2012 - WASHINGTON D.C. -- The win for the 2012 Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C., may have gone to Tesfaye Senedeku-Alemyehu of Ethiopia with a time of 47 minutes and 48 seconds, but the event was ripe with personal victories for a majority of the 11 Soldiers representing U.S. Army Alaska at the event Oct. 21, seven of whom achieved personal best times.

The Soldiers participated in qualifiers at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson May 6, and began formal training for the Ten-Miler as soon as the 14 fastest times from the combined results were determined.

That training for a mens and a mixed team to represent the command at the 27th annual event in Washington, D.C., paired with U.S. Army Alaska Commanding General Maj. Gen Michael Garrett's requirement for a second qualifier on Oct. 3 to ensure the most competitive representation possible kept the Soldiers training hard and may have contributed to significant improvements in their times.

"I like to win," Garrett said. "If we're going to fill a team, we're going to fill the best team we can."

The performance improvement was evident for Fort Wainwright's Spc. Christian Powell with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who hacked 7 minutes and 19 seconds off his initial qualifier time and more than 3 minutes off his second.

Powell said he noticed how well he was doing at the four-mile mark and thought the clock must have been wrong.

When he hit mile eight and saw the times gelled, he realized he was exceeding his personal race performance expectations.

"I was hoping to get 1:05, and was thinking I'd get 1:06," Powell said, who completed the race in 1:01:25, an achievement he celebrated by hugging his teammates.

Army 2nd Lt. Aaron Demro with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, also achieved his personal best at the event, earning the fastest USARAK time of 55:05, 1:35 faster than what he ran in October and 2:32 faster than in May.

Demro said he trained hard for the event and set himself up for success by staying with a pack of runners with whom he knew he could remain competitive in an effort to finish strong, a tactic that worked out well for the JBER Soldier.

"I like competition. I like to kind of get myself out there - seeing how much I can push myself," Demro said, noting he enjoys the psychological and physical challenges of such an event. "It's a real mental game. I like that."

Thirty-nine-year-old Master Sgt. Paul Wayfield with Fort Wainwright's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Alaska, was the oldest Soldier to compete for the command at the event, yet age didn't inhibit him from outrunning the majority of his junior teammates with a personal best time of 59:16, more than 9 minutes less than his initial qualifier and 35 seconds less than his second.

Wayfield, who has been running competitively for seven years, said the Army Ten-Miler stands out due to the quality of the participants.

"In your average race, you have a small percentage [of competitors] in the upper tier, but here you're constantly surrounded by higher-caliber athletes," he said, to include his fellow team members. "It was just a great experience overall - great camaraderie. I'm honored to be among such great Americans."

Several of USARAK's 2012 Army Ten-Miler team members said they plan on participating in the 2013 qualifier in an effort to beat their newly minted personal best times.

Garrett is strategizing for the 2013 event as well and is determined to identify the best possible candidates for next year.

He said the endeavor will be aided by having a larger pool of command competitors to choose from, because neither JBER's 4-25th ABCT nor Fort Wainwright's 1-25th SBCT will be deployed.

"We'll start earlier next year to get an idea of who the best folks are," Garrett said, stressing that the 2012 command teams did a tremendous job. "I'm very, very proud of our teams. They represented U.S. Army Alaska well."

Mens team scores - 1. Aaron Demro, FWA, 55:05; 2. David Vasquez, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, 56:59; 3. Sterling Yazzie, FWA, 57:31; 4. Ivaylo Benov, FWA, 58:57; 5. Paul Wayfield, FWA, 59:16; 6. Jordan Thomas, JBER, 1:01:23.

Mixed team scores - 1. Christian Powell, FWA, 1:01:25; 2. Adan Gandaria, FWA, 1:09:12; 3. Bridgette Wilson, JBER, 1:13:33; 4. Vanessa Cardenas, FWA, 1:13:44; 5. Brian Landis, JBER, 1:19:33.

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