By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
WASHINGTON Facing tough competition in a record-breaking 10-mile race Sunday, Fort Hood's men edged into the top three slots in two divisions.
Competing against 20,000 runners in the Army's 20th annual Ten Miler, the post's men's masters were second in their division. Hood's men's open team placed third.
"A couple of the guys ran really well," Sgt. 1st Class Gary Brimmer said.
Ezekiel Austin, a first lieutenant from the 4th Infantry Division's Golf Troop, 10th Cavalry Regiment, crossed the finish first for Fort Hood with a time of 54 minutes and 20 seconds.
"It was good," Austin said of the race. "I'm pretty happy with that time. It was my goal."
Rain that had moved into the nation's capital overnight broke for most of the 90-minute race along roads near the Pentagon.
Sgt. Dale Harton, a master runner and new arrival to the 4th Infantry Division, finished in 58 minutes and 30 seconds.
"It was great," he said.
Maj. Gen. James Simmons and Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman presented the runners with unit coins.
"I knew they'd do well," said Thurman, the 4th Infantry's commander.
"I'm very proud of them," he said. "They're all winners, a great group of young men and women."
West Fort Hood's Operational Test Command sent eight runners to Washington, said Capt. Jim Clift, the team's coach.
"We took at least 10 minutes off our collective time from last year," Clift said.
Also running in a show of support for their soldiers in Iraq were several family members from the 1st Cavalry Division.
Wendy Smith, a Guardsman and wife of Maj. Phil Smith from the division's public affairs, completed the race in 72:55.
"I had a very good time," she said, adding she was looking forward to updating her husband about her 4th time to the race.
Capt. Dan Browne, an Olympian and "Army of One" team member, broke his own record after crossing the finish in 47:29.
Erin Chiarelli, daughter of Maj. Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the division commander, said the families were excited to be at the race.
"It's the coolest thing," she said. "Everybody's been training a lot. The spirit of the group is high."
Contact Debbie Stevenson at firstname.lastname@example.org