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2nd Cavalry Regiment wins big at Army 10-miler qualifier

Sgt. Caroline Karunde finished first in the women's category with a time of 62 minutes, 13.3 seconds at the U.S. Forces Europe Army 10-miler qualifier held in Grafenwoehr, Germany on Saturday, June 25, 2016.

MICHAEL S. DARNELL/STARS AND STRIPES

By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 25, 2016

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – The 2nd Cavalry Regiment had a tremendous showing Saturday at the 2016 U.S. Forces Europe 10-miler qualifier race.

The Vilseck, Germany-based unit not only took top honors in the men’s team category, but individual runners from the Regiment took home first in both the women’s and men’s categories.

Spc. Michael Biwott finished first for the men with a time of 54 minutes, 28.6 seconds and Sgt. Caroline Karunde topped the women’s category with 62:13.3.

Not too shabby for a Regiment that has spent much of the past year deployed across Europe’s eastern flank.

“It feels good to see that you can still do military work, be out there in the field, and still come and represent,” Karunde said. “It shows how motivated and dedicated I am to better myself.”

With their victories on Saturday, Karunde and Biwott both qualified to represent U.S. Army Europe in October’s national 10-miler in Washington, D.C. The annual event brings together 30,000 runners from across the Army’s commands worldwide, each vying for gold.

Karunde and Biwott will be joined by 10 other racers from Saturday’s qualifier in representing U.S. Army Europe at that event. The men’s qualifiers were Biwott, Pfc. Elias Chesire, 1st Lt. Brett Carter, Spc. Alfred Kangogo, Pfc. Job Kemboi and Pfc. Dennis Obungu.

Biwott, a competitive runner in college, only just recently left the Army’s basic training pipeline. As such, he said he didn’t get a whole lot of time to train for the qualifier. With Saturday’s race behind him, he’s now setting his eyes on breaking his personal record in D.C.

“I think by Washington I will be able to run under 50 (minutes),” Biwott said. “That’s my goal.”

If he can manage to do that, it would be good enough to place him in the running for one of the top 10 runners in the Army. Last year, only seven runners were able to break the 50-minute barrier.

Karunde, Spc. Ruth Keino, Spc. Monika Kalicinska, Jessica Laslovich, Spc. Winrose Karunde and 2nd Lt. Chelsea Farquhar all qualified in the women’s bracket.

The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center placed first in the women’s team bracket. They were followed by the second place “Bloodhounds” while USAREUR’s band placed third. LRMC trailed behind 2CR in the men’s category, while the Vicenza Lions took bronze.

All in all, more than 200 runners showed up on what turned out to be the first hot summer weekend of the year. While others were breaking out their grills, they ran, sweat and bled for 10 grueling miles, all for a chance to represent their commands in the nation’s capital later this year.

This was a fact not lost on the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria’s top enlisted soldier.

“When you have soldiers who are willing to go out on their own time and do the Army 10-miler qualifier and they come out here and represent USAREUR… I think it’s a phenomenal thing,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Todd.

darnell.michael@stripes.com

2nd Cavalry Regiment Spc. Michael Biwott was the fastest runner at the U.S. Forces Europe Army 10-miler qualifier held in Grafenwoehr, Germany on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Biwott finished the course with a time of 54 minutes, 28.6 seconds.
MICHAEL S. DARNELL/STARS AND STRIPES