0Z5A0437.jpgRunners take off as Gen. Paul E. Funk II, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command commanding general, blows the air horn on Oct. 16, 2021. Forty-four Fort Jackson, South Carolina, participants completed the virtual Army Ten-Miler course. (Alexandra Shea)

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“Here we go,” said Training and Doctrine Commanding General Gen. Paul E. Funk II as he blew the horn starting the virtual 2021 Army Ten-Miler.

Forty-four active duty and Reserve Soldiers, civilians and their spouses set out to run, walk and hike 10 miles along Fort Jackson’s Dixie Road Oct. 16.

To help mitigate the risk of catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus, the annual Army run was held virtually where registered participants could complete locally approved 10-mile course and submit their times online for record.

Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier along with Funk opened the race with words of encouragement and few funny quips.

“It is great to have everybody out today,” Michaelis said. “We couldn’t do the Army Ten-Miler in D.C. so we’re doing it here. Go out there and have a great day!”

“First of all, what the hell are you people doing out here this morning?” Funk said jokingly. “This is your safety brief. Don’t do it, it’s a trick.”

Funk continued on a serious note explaining his appreciation for participants of the race. He described the event as an example of resiliency and being able to bounce back from the daily rigors of the mission in a time of pandemic.

Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, welcomes 44 participants of the Fort Jackson, South Carolina, virtual Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 16, 2021.
“The Army does hard things,” Funk said. “This is one of them and you do it world class. This is a great opportunity to excel.”

Staff Sgt. Jarrod Riley of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, took Funk’s words to heart and exceeded his own expectations while breaking a personal record during the Ten-Miler.

“The course threw some obstacles during the race with some hills there and back,” Riley said. “I love it and don’t take a day off from running. My day doesn’t start until I run in the morning.”

Riley said he starts his morning with an eight mile run regardless of his busy work schedule being a drill sergeant.

Riley was the first to complete the Fort Jackson course with a time of 58 minutes and 14 seconds.

Staff Sgt. Jarrod Riley, a drill sergeant assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, completed the virtual Army Ten-Miler at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, on Oct. 16, 2021. Riley came in first with an official time of 58 minutes and 14 seconds.

“That guy right there is fast,” Funk said of Riley.

Men and women of all ages and abilities completed the race between Riley’s fastest time of the day to a husband and wife team and a trio of Reserve Component drill sergeants who completed the course wearing ruck sacks; carrying the Company C, 3rd of the 485th Infantry Regiment guidon; and wearing red, white and blue shorts with matching boonie caps.

Cindi Keene, Fort Jackson’s sports coordinator and event coordinator, explained how those who may have missed the run will have additional time to complete the course.

“The run route will stay open and marked until Oct. 29,” Keene said. “People can submit their times to the Army Ten-Miler online until Nov. 29.”

The course starts on the corner Kershaw Street and Dixie Road. Neon safety cones bearing mile marker numbers and the turnaround point are located along the run route on Dixie Road.

“We cannot possibly explain to the people not in our mists what it means to be an American Soldier,” Funk said closing his speech. “From the flat-bellied freedom fighters that can run really fast to those that are a little slower, I’m proud of you.”