A Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Soldier is now one of the top runners in the United States.
Sgt. Caroline Jepleting, a behavioral health technician at LRMC, took second place in the 2016 Armed Forces Cross Country Championships Feb. 6 in Bend, Oregon. Her silver-medal finish also helped propel the Army women’s team to an overall first-place finish.
The competition, a 10-kilometer cross-country race, was held in conjunction with the USA Track and Field National Cross-Country Championship. Jepleting’s time of 39:03 was also good enough to earn her a 10th-place finish in the national championship race.
This was Jepleting’s second consecutive year competing in the race, including a first-place finish in the Armed Forces championship race in 2015.
“I was battling with an injury for the last few months, but I was determined that I would be able to score points for the team, if not medal for myself,” Jepleting said. “My main goal was to go out there and do my very best to help my team win. I am glad the race went well, and I was very excited for the All-Army team defending their title from last year. It was a great honor to be among the Soldier athletes in the top ten positions in the nation.”
Because of her injury, Jepleting said she is working to get healthy before resuming her training, but plans on running in the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 9 in Washington. She’s also preparing for a move to Fort Carson, Colorado.
“Fort Carson is well-known for its high elevation, which is good for training, and I will be able to train with other athletes and improve my times,” Jepleting said. “I’m hoping to get better times and try to qualify for high-level competitions. I am definitely going to take advantage of the great training opportunities out there.”
She gave credit to her leadership at LRMC for encouraging and supporting her athletic goals.
“I had great leadership at LRMC, and I truly appreciate them for their understanding, support and encouragement for the two years I’ve been here,” Jepleting said. “Once they saw I had potential, they gave me time to train and worked with my schedule. Other leaders with the same spirit will help their Soldiers explore their potential and do great things. I would not have achieved this without the help and support of my leaders and command team.”
Other Soldier athletes who feel they have talent should explore that potential as much as possible, Jepleting said.
“I would encourage every Soldier or service member with any potential, gift or talent to get out there, train and apply for the different sports opportunities available within the military,” Jepleting said. “You get a chance to represent your branch of service and the U.S. Armed Forces in the international level of competition.”