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CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Capt. Arthur Mathisen bested 128 other individual runners to win the 8th Army Bataan Memorial Death March Qualifier on Saturday at Hanson Field House.

Mathisen, of the 121st General Hospital, finished the 13.1-mile race in 1:38:56, about eight minutes ahead of 2nd Lt. Robert Topper, of Headquarters Company, 41st Signal Battalion.

In the women’s division, Capt. Ally Ip, of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade’s headquarters company, finished first in 2:31:55, while Sgt. Jade Chiara-Payne, of the headquarters company at Special Troops Battalion on Camp Red Cloud, finished second.

Lt. Col. Troy Busby, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Lancaster and Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson rounded out the men’s division top five; Sgt. Lakeya King, Jamie Sullivan and Staff Sgt. Jennifer Adams finished third through fifth in the woman’s.

In the team event, the Camp Walker 188th Military Police took first place in 2:21:24, beating out six other teams. The winners included Sgt. 1st Class Chris Maisel, Sgt. Walter Tobash, Spc. Josh Offenberg, Spc. Roderick Smith and Spc. Jonathan Bennett.

The top runners will be invited to represent the 8th Army at the 2006 Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands, N.M., on March 26. The 8th Army has won the men’s and women’s event in four consecutive marches, said Thomas Higgins, Korea region sports program manager, who predicted 8th Army teams “have a good chance of winning it again.”

The event was canceled in 2003 because of the war in Iraq.

Thousands of servicemembers from around the world attend the annual march through desert sand. It commemorates those made to take part in Japan’s forcible transfer of its World War II prisoners of war in the Philippines, resulting in thousands of fatalities.

Military participants in the heavy division wear uniforms and 35-pound rucksacks throughout the 26.2-mile course.

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