Kentucky Guardsman competes with South Dakota National Guard in 203 mile running event

mjo

By Tech. Sgt. Tyrell Heaton, D.C. Air National Guard

Nine members of the National Guard All‐Guard Marathon Team compete at the Texas Independence Relay from Gonzales to Houston, Texas, March 5 to 6, 2011. Members from left to right front to back are: Tech. Sgt. Tyrell Heaton, (DC ANG), Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chase Duarte (AZ ARNG), Maj. Rebecca Hoffman (SD ARNG), Chief Warrant Officer 4 Russ Hoyer (NY ARNG), Maj. Mike Diaz (TX ARNG), Sgt. 1st Class Barry Brill (NY ARNG), Capt. Varinka Barbini (KY ARNG), Staff Sgt. Matthew Stern (PA ARNG) and Sgt. Luke Mostoller (AZ ARNG).

HOUSTON, Texas ‐‐ Nine members of the All‐Guard Marathon Team, including Kentucky’s Capt. Varinka Barbini, competed in the Texas Independence Relay running 203 miles from Gonzales to the San Jacinto Monument near Houston, Tx., March 5 to 6, 2011.

The team started at 2:05 pm Saturday, March 5 with 146 of the 150 competing teams starting in front of them; most of which had several hours lead, some starting as early as 6 am.

The race entailed 40 segments ranging from 2.45 to 8.86‐miles not including a 1.15‐mile prologue and .38‐mile epilogue that the team ran together. The team completed the 203‐mile race in 22 hours, 22 minutes, 56 seconds for an average of 6 minutes, 37 seconds per mile to earn fourth place.

Team Captain Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chase Duarte, Arizona Army National Guard, arranged the nine All‐Guard runners into an optimal running line‐up to match abilities to course‐leg descriptions in order to maximize the team’s strength.

Hoffman ran more than 20 miles of the relay and averaged a 7:40 minute per mile pace during the race.

“I used a formula based on everyone’s predicted pace per mile and re‐arranged the running order several times; each time the aggregate team time was faster,” said Duarte.

The race allows for 12 runners per team and the All‐Guard Team fielded nine runners putting them at a disadvantage competitively as they had to pick up additional segments with less recovery time between legs.

Not only did they compete with three fewer runners, but they entered in the elite open men’s category having two women on the team.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Russ Hoyer, NYARNG, completes his 8.78‐mile leg and passes the baton to teammate Maj. Rebecca Hoffman, SDARNG, for her 4.66‐mile leg near Shiner, Texas, March 5, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyrell Heaton)

“Some tell me having nine instead of 12 runners, two of which are women, would handicap us, but the team didn’t think twice about it, rather they embraced the challenge,” said Duarte.

“Additionally, our women, Maj. Rebecca Hoffman, of the South Dakota Army National Guard and Capt. Varinka Barbini, of the Kentucky Army National Guard, are strong runners who can compete in this type of event at this level.”

“This event is in its fourth year and is growing. Last year the team’s same time would have placed them second overall,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Hagen, NGB Marathon Coordinator.

“Texas has the Nation’s most Guard members and we received a lot of support from the communities we ran through; it was a successful event and we brought a lot of positive visibility to the National Guard.”

The Lincoln National Guard Marathon in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau’s Recruiting / Retention workshop for runners is May 1, 2011. Guard members from around the country compete for their state team and vie for a spot on the coveted All‐Guard Marathon Team.

Last year 265 Guardsmen participated in the 2010 Lincoln National Guard Marathon. This event displays community excellence through partnership with the Lincoln Track Club by marketing and hosting the sold out Lincoln National Guard Marathon which reached its capacity of 10,000 runners earlier this year; it has earned the reputation as a premier “military” event ranked with the USAF Marathon, USMC Marathon and the Army Ten‐Miler.

Soldiers and Airmen who compete at this event serve as mentors to fellow National Guard Soldiers/Airmen and civilians on physical fitness by utilizing All‐Guard Marathon Team athletes and Guard Fit Challenge to increase unit readiness level and provide a valuable lead‐generating tool for local area Recruiters to utilize.

“The All‐Guard team runner’s generated more than 500 recruiting leads in 2010,” said Hagen.

“Additionally, the All‐Guard team improves the image of the National Guard by educating the public at two‐day marathon health and fitness expositions.”

At the local level all Soldiers and Airmen who attend the National Guard Bureau’s Recruiting  Retention workshop for runners perform five Recruiting and Retention duties which enhance the Recruiting and Retention force by presenting the image of a fit and healthy National Guard.

“Several runners exceed five events last year,” said Hagen.

“Based on last year’s attendance, direct National Guard lead generation exposure tops 1,325 events in local communities across the country.”

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