2nd Lt. Shawn Wiler, Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course student, crosses the finish line first with a time of 1:03:13 during the Fort Jackson 10 Miler on July 16. Wiler was one of about 50 who completed the early morning run. Many participated in the early morning run for the joy of it while others used the run as a chance to see where they stand before competing in the Army 10 Miler later this year in Washington, D.C.

Fort Jackson 10 Miler, a first for many

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Fort Jackson’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted it’s 10 Miler early morning July 16. Nearly 50 Soldiers, students, veterans and their Families appeared at 5:30 a.m. to attempt the run challenge.

“We are doing the first of two 10 Milers,” said Cindi Keene, DFMWR sports and fitness coordinator. “It used to be called the qualifier, but this is for anyone who wants to run 10 miles or those that want to go to the Army 10 Miler in October to see where they stand.”

Keene has been coordinating the 10-mile run on the installation for many years. She ensures the 10-mile run route is accurate and located in the flattest area possible. She also assists those who would like to have their run times verified to qualify for the annual Army 10 Miler held in Washington, D.C.

Last year, she facilitated the run with little preparation time as the Army’s run was held virtually. Her and a team of volunteers were able to facilitate the run, log all official times, and verify them for the official competition.

“I heard there was going to be someone here that’s pretty fast,” Keene added.

2nd Lt. Shawn Wiler, Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course student, was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 1:03:13. The average run time for all ages and genders is 1:22:34 according to a popular website for runners, runninglevel.com.

“It was a little slower than I’m used to, but it was a fun run today,” Wiler said.

Wiler is something of a professional runner completing such runs as the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon. He shifted his focus from running to attending the leader course but continues to run to maintain his fitness and he finds it peaceful.

Unlike the first to return, Chaplain (2nd Lt.) Jason Jensen, a Reservist assigned to Joint Force Headquarters, Utah, completed the 10-mile run for the first time. He also surprised himself with completing the run under the averaged 10-mile time.

“I wasn’t a runner until I was 23 or 24. A friend got me started but then I got married and had children and lost the passion for running,” Jensen said. “Then a year ago I knew I had to pass height and weight and started running again. This is my first 10 Miler.”

Jensen is currently attending the Chaplains Basic Officer Leader Course on post and was encouraged by his fellow chaplains to attend the run with them.

“I appreciate the opportunity to come out and run with other Soldiers. It’s so motivating,” Jensen said. “It’s nice that we get to have these events, push ourselves and get better.”

Jensen completed the 10-miles in approximately 1:18:00.

As the minutes continued to tick on the official clock, more and more runners completed their run and were treated to fresh fruit, sports drinks and water that were manned by teams of volunteers from the Victory Chapter of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club and Chaplains Basic Officer Leader Course.

“I can’t do this without the volunteers that help me every time,” Keene said. “I love what I do taking care of Soldiers, it’s the best job.”

Keene’s passion for facilitating sports teams and sporting events such as the 10-mile run didn’t go unnoticed by the participants.

Many participants like Jensen made sure to say “thank you” as they made their way to their cars.

The final Fort Jackson 10 Miler will be held Saturday, 5:30 a.m. at the corner of Kershaw Road and Forest Drive.