Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016

Soldiers dominate 2016 Army Ten-Miler

  • Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016
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WASHINGTON - Sgt. Augustus Maiyo led his fellow Soldiers to snatch the top five places in the 32nd running of the Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 9.

"We were running together the whole time," said Maiyo, a Kenyan native who is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP.

The team, both his WCAP team and the Army team in the larger sense of the word, inspired him and his fellow Army runners to stay the course and go the distance, he said. "It was a win for the Army."

Since most of the WCAP team stayed out in front the entire race, Maiyo said, that allowed the team to move to the finish line as one, since of the more than 35,000 runners, no challengers came even close.

At the finish line, members of the team looked refreshed, not even breaking a sweat. That was due to the stiff wind, rain and low temperatures, said fellow WCAP teammate Emmanuel Bor, who placed seventh. The announcer said the headwind at the start of the race was 18 mph and the temperature was 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fort Benning Soldiers also participated in the event. This year's runners were Lt. Col. Duane Patin, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry regiment; Capt. Alex Torre-Santiago, Maneuver Captains Career Course; 2nd Lt. Connor Roche, 2nd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Lt. Luke Ranum, 2nd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Sgt. Blake Simms, Task Force 1-28, 3rd Infantry Division; Spc. Calvin Powell, 75th Ranger Regiment; and Pfc. Arturo Montoya, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Just to be sure the Soldiers were primed to win, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley picked up a microphone just seconds before the start of the race and asked if the Soldiers were going to win. They raised their arms in a victory gesture and said they would do it for the Army. A loud hoo-ah from the racers followed, many of whom were Soldiers or veterans.

Some 100 wounded warriors, on various types of recumbent bicycles, some leg-propelled and some hand-propelled, as well as special wheelchairs, led the race.

Dave Gifford road a hand cycle, since he lost the use of both legs due to a car hitting him from behind while he was on his motorcycle.

Gifford, who spent 8 years on active duty in the Army and 20 in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, said this was his first year doing the Army Ten-Miler. He thanked the Department of Veterans Affairs for helping him recuperate from his injuries and giving him the hand cycle, which he said has allowed him to exercise and connect with other veterans.

Besides connecting with other veterans, Gifford said he still visits his old unit in Pittsburgh, the 128th Brigade Support Battalion. He and other vets sell hot dogs and hamburgers to provide funds for morale activities for Soldiers and family members of the 128th.

Haywood Thomas also rode a hand cycle, provided to him by Bethesda National Military Medical Center. He too had a lot of good things to say, not only about the VA, but about Bethesda, where he still receives therapy for a leg infection that left him unable to walk after he retired from the Army in 2002 as a sergeant first class.

Like Gifford, Thomas said that instead of feeling sorry for himself, he does a tremendous amount of volunteer work with his church, 1st Mount Zion, in Dumphries, Virginia, as well as volunteering at the VA to do clerical duties. He said the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the VA have the best surgeons in the world.

Thomas encouraged other wounded, ill or injured veterans to get involved in sporting activities like this and volunteering their time. "If you don't do things, you go crazy," he said.

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