A small group of runners turned out Friday evening followed by a second group Saturday morning to run the Army Ten-Miler at Fort Leonard Wood’s Mickey Zaun Troop Trail.
“I really appreciate you all setting this up,” runner Patricia Taylor told organizers as she arrived Friday.
Typically held in Washington D.C. and involving tens of thousands of runners in one location, this year’s race was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave first-time participants like Taylor a chance to compete.
“I had heard about (the race) before, but it’s always held on the East Coast, so I hadn’t had an opportunity to run it until today,” said Taylor, a sergeant with 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, currently assigned to the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.
“They announced it as an opportunity for our Soldiers to get out and explore the post and get some PT in,” Taylor said before her run, adding, “I won’t be the fastest, but I’ll get there eventually.”
Registered runners could compete anywhere they liked with this year’s virtual race between Oct. 11 and Sunday. The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Department offered runners two chances to run the marked trail, complete with cones, water stations and safety vehicles.
“We just wanted to do something for the community,” said Coleman Swinton, FMWR Chief of Sports, who gave a pre-race safety briefing to runners Friday.
One newcomer to Fort Leonard Wood, Gerald Barranco-Oro was more familiar with the Army Ten-Miler, which he had run previously, than he was with the installation. Barranco-Oro, who serves as a sergeant first class with Combat Training Company, came out Friday to see the trail before coming back Saturday to complete the race.
“The last time I ran the Army Ten-Miler was in 2016, just before we went to Germany,” he said. “I think it’s a big deal to get to do it where you’re stationed. Usually, it’s in D.C., but to run it on Fort Leonard Wood — a new duty station for me — I think that brings some pride along with it.”
Each runners’ time was tracked through an app called the “ATM Runner Experience,” which they were required to download to their phone, fitness tracker or other smart device.
Results, along with post-run photos and videos runners were asked to submit of themselves, are scheduled to be posted at ArmyTenMiler.com starting Friday, according to the site.