In ancient Greece a messenger named Pheidippides ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to tell of the military victory the Greeks held over the invading Persians.
Though the military no longer uses running as a method of message delivery, running is still used as a way to maintain overall readiness, personal fitness and esprit de corps among Soldiers.
“What I like about running is (that) you get what you put in,” said Staff Sgt. Claudia McNally, a psychological operations specialist assigned to Company A, 6th Psychological Operations Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group, here.
McNally and a team of other Soldiers will be representing Fort Bragg at the Army’s annual Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C. Sunday.
McNally was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. at the age of 19 years old when she was recruited to run cross-country at Coastal Carolina University.
“I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration but eventually decided to enlist,” McNally said.
Once in the Army, McNally joined the Fort Bragg Ten-Miler team in 2013.
“I found out about the team while I was still in SWCS (the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School), the selection program for Psychological Operations,” McNally said. “A friend of mine told me that I was a good runner and should tryout.”
Over the years she has alternated between running on the team and coaching it. This year is special for McNally, as this will be her last race representing Fort Bragg because she was accepted into the Army’s Officer Candidate School.
McNally has been working with U.S. Army Maj. Kelly Calway to prepare for the upcoming race. Calway not only coaches McNally, but also the All Army Women’s Marathon and Cross-Country team as well as runs for the All Army Ten-Miler team.
“We focus on building her (McNally’s) endurance early in the season,” Calway said. “So when it’s super hot down there at Fort Bragg she is getting in the miles.”
Calway designed workouts for McNally that will help her increase her efficiency and strength over time. This allows her to hit her peak during the race.
“Once she has a good base in endurance, I add in the anaerobic speed work,” Calway said.
McNally has proved herself to be a serious athlete who takes competition and her training very seriously, Calway said. It being her last run for Fort Bragg and the beginning of a new chapter in her military career only adds to her drive for success.
“She is one of the best people I have ever coached,” Calway said. “I’ve previously coached at West Point (United States Military Academy), the marathon team there, and I’ve coached a number of people and she is so dedicated.”
Though not running to deliver a message, McNally will be running the Army Ten-Miler Race with a sense of honor, because, like Pheidippides, she will be representing something bigger than herself.
“In the end everything happens for a reason,” McNally said. “I am looking forward to competing one last time for Fort Bragg and I am so honored to represent them.”