The Fort Bragg active duty women’s Army Ten-Miler teams have dominated the race by winning first place a dozen times in the last 18 years.
That dominance continued again this year.
In early October, the team — comprised of runners Esther Spradling, Berenice Maclas, Claudia McNally, Amanda Wilson, Kelly Kittle, Danielle Evans, Bre Washburn and Samone Franzese took first place with a time of 4 hours, 13 minutes and 49 seconds.
Mixed team members were Bridget Bachman, Carolyne Chelulei, Ally Peetz and Jessica Lee.
The race, in its 32nd year, featured more than 35,000 runners, began and ended at the Pentagon.
The team, coached by Sonia Lewis, began training in May, said Stradling, who delayed joining until June because of a school commitment.
“Coach Lewis was very dedicated to the team and was certainly an SME (subject matter expert). We all trust her,” Stradling said.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to have coached such talented and dedicated Soldier athletes representing Fort Bragg,” said Lewis, who has helped teams win three Commander’s Cups in the last five years, and will be retiring next year.
So, what does it take to join the team?
The team selection process begins with the All American Half/Marathon in which all active-duty female runners stationed on Fort Bragg are selected to tryout for the top eight female spots and four spots for the mixed team,” Lewis said.
In the beginning, the women usually averaged 15 to 20 miles a week, but doubled their distance just before the Ten-Miler, Stradler said. They often ran local races to improve their time.
Additionally, team members used their personal nutritional regiments, but Lewis said she recommends a visit to Fort Bragg’s Army Wellness Center for more guidance.
Fort Bragg previously won the Commander’s Cup in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 to 2011, 2013 and 2014.
In 2001, the race was cancelled because of 9/11, and in 2005, it was not scored due to a suspicious activity.
The ATM, which promotes the Army and enhances community relations, is a USA Track and Field certified event. Its proceeds benefit Soldiers’ Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
(Editor’s note: Information for this story was obtained from the Army Ten-Miler website.)