Twenty-seven runners competed in the Army Ten-Miler Trial at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area Aug. 9 in hopes of making it on the team that will run in Washington D.C. in the fall.

“We will pick 18 Soldiers,” said 1st Lt. Nicole Stocks of the 36th Engineer Brigade, captain of the Army Ten-Miler team. “They will compete against more than 33,000 people in Washington D.C.”

It takes a lot of discipline and commitment to run races like the Ten-Miler, so when choosing runners for the team in D.C. their run time is not the only thing taken into account.

“We’re thinking commitment, motivation, heart. We’re not necessarily going to take the fastest people – we’re going to take people with heart too,” said Stocks.

Staff Sgt. Jorge Hernandez, Phantom Warrior Academy, coach of the Army Ten-Miler added that time is the first thing that is looked at, but if the runner isn’t disciplined and is irresponsible they wouldn’t be considered for the team.

Only one runner finished in under an hour: Sgt. Michael Biwott of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, clocking in at 59:03.

“I feel good,” Biwott said of coming in first. “Though, I didn’t train for two weeks, because I was in field training.”

He has participated in the D.C. run for the last three years, placing tenth overall each time, and he hopes to improve his standing.

“I’d be looking forward to improve my position from last year, if I can run much faster,” Biwott said.

The first female runner, Capt. Brooke Withers of the 3rd Cav. Regt., finished with a time of 1:13:18. She has also competed in D.C. and it has a deeper meaning to her than most other runs.

“The Ten-Miler itself is a whole different experience, because you’ve got the wounded warriors in the front and you’ve got the wheelchair racers and it’s just a very cool environment to run by all the veterans and the flags. It’s a motivating course,” Withers said.

The camaraderie amongst the runners was uplifting as each one congratulated the other on improved times and conquering the trial.

“It’s amazing to see how far they’ve come and beat their personal records two months before the event even happens,” Stocks said.

The eighteen qualifying runners have been split up into three teams to compete in D.C.

Team one includes Capt. Brooke Withers, 1st Lt. Nicole Stocks, Spc. Michael Biwott, Capt. Alec Hernandez, 1st Lt. David Byers and Spc. Muragizi Ndeba.   

Team two includes Sgt. Rafael Merced, Sgt. Matthew Gilley, Sgt. Sean Sepulveda, Capt. Eduardo Mendez, Sgt. Vanessa Young and Spc. Ruth Wainaina.

The master’s team (over 40 years old) includes Staff Sgt. Jorge Hernandez, 1st Sgt. Richard Littlefield, 1st Sgt. Angel Morales, Lt. Col. Anthony Marinos and Maj. Jessica Colsia.

For those who didn’t qualify, the Army Ten-Miler Shadow Run will take place Oct. 13 at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.

For more information please call 254-285-5459.