Shoelaces were tied; muscles
were stretched and loosened as 141 Soldiers made last-minute preparations to
run the Victory Week 10-Miler at the crack of dawn June 11 on Custer Hill.
As the starter sounded,
Soldiers took off in a pack, which thinned out over the course of the 10-mile
One goal of the run was to increase
esprit de corps, which seemed evident as the first two runners to cross the
finish line did so together, arms in the air and drenched in sweat.
Spc. Samuel Kosgei, 1st Squadron,
4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
and Spc. Mathew Chesang, 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation
Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. finished with a time of 53:36.
“I feel good about (my
time),” Chesang said, adding it was an improvement over last year.
Chesang said he and Kosgei regularly
train together and kept one another going during the run.
“It was good to cross the line
together because we were helping each other,” he said, but added, “I’m glad
The pair hopes to represent
Fort Riley in the Army 10-Miler in October.
For other runners such as Sgt.
Patricia Ollis, 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion
the run was less about run time and more about quality time.
Ollis started running about
two years ago when she redeployed from Afghanistan.
“I like how free it is and how
quiet. I can just think and I can be by myself,” she said.
She participated in the run
last year for fun. This year the event took on special meaning as she ran in
memory of her father-in-law.
“My father-in-law recently died
from (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and I was doing it mostly for him,” Ollis said,
adding his memory kept her motivated during the run. “I was thinking about my
husband, thinking about (my father-in-law). It made me keep going. Last year I
did stop a lot, but this year I was like, ‘I’ve got to keep going. I’ve got to
Having run the entire way, Ollis
said she was relieved when she crossed the finish line and was pleased to see
she had beat her time from last year.
Also participating in the
run was 1st Inf. Div. Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston.
“There are a lot of great things
going on this week and we’ve got a good 10-mile run,” Grinston told Soldiers beforehand
as he highlighted several Victory Week events like the CrossFit competition and
Brett Eldredge concert. “I hope everybody’s getting a chance to get out and
experience some of the events.”
Grinston also said Team Riley
appreciates the efforts of the Soldiers.
“We appreciate what you do,”
he said. “Best of luck to all of you.”
With those words and a few
more last-minute stretches, Soldiers lined up and started the run as the pale
light of dawn broke over Custer Hill.