by Marcy Sanchez
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Soldiers across Europe competed to represent U.S. Army Europe during a ten-mile race, held in Grafenwöhr, Germany, June 22. The race pitted Soldiers against one another to determine the top six male and female Soldiers to represent Team USAREUR in the U.S. Army Ten-Miler race, in Washington D.C., Oct. 13.
Five Soldiers from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center earned top honors as the only team to complete the run, with one member qualifying for Team USAREUR.
“I ran this (qualifier) last year,” said Spc. Mark Kogo, an operating room specialist at LRMC. “I submitted a team roster (of LRMC Soldiers) and as individuals. Soldiers run by themselves but at the end of the race, they total times as a team.”
In an attempt to put a team together, Kogo reached out to fellow LRMC Soldiers and trained with them leading up to the race. However, sporadic work schedules made training as a team difficult, with some Soldiers working second and third shifts. For 1st Lts. William McCray and Paige Runco, both medical-surgical nurses, an overnight shift preceded the qualifier.
Regardless, the Soldiers all agree the tiring sprint was worth the missed hours of sleep.
“We get to represent something bigger than ourselves,” said Runco.
“LRMC is such a small base in Germany,” said Kogo. “You’re (at the qualifier) with all the participants and representing the whole hospital. I think it’s cool and really awesome.”
Finishing sixth overall, McCray was the only member of the team to earn a spot on Team USAREUR, with an estimated finishing time of 1 hour, 4 minutes.
“You’re chasing the dream. I don’t know what pace that’s at, but I’m trying to catch that,” said McCray.
Running between inpatient call lights is how he gets his training in, McCray lightheartedly added.
Although not all team members will travel to Washington this fall, the Soldiers believe the experience not only improved their physical fitness, but also enhanced camaraderie as well.
“It’s a cool way to get to go and do something and there’s a lot of camaraderie when you actually get there,” said Runco.
“I took (the qualifier) as a challenge,” said Pfc. Ruben Ferreira, an operating room specialist at LRMC. “You feel proud of yourself. You’re actually doing something, getting out of your comfort zone, and just going out there and just doing it, despite the results.”
The 35th anniversary of the race will start and finish at the Pentagon and celebrates the spirt of sport and the spirit of a Nation with over 35,000 participants.