Team Bliss Army Ten-Miler team and El Paso’s “Amigo Man” pose for a group photo after the eight-man and six-woman team completed the Army Ten-Miler race in Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia Oct. 24. The women’s team was awarded second place in the “Active Duty Open – Women” category. Photo by Maj. Jason Fetterolf, 5th Armored Bde., First Army Div. West Public Affairs
in Army Ten-Miler
Bliss women's team awarded second place
Maj. Jason Fetterolf
5th Armored Bde., First Army Div. West Public Affairs
WASHINGTON – Accustomed to “serving the nation” at Fort Bliss, Team Bliss Army Ten-Miler team Soldiers continued that commitment by “serving in our nation’s capital” Oct. 24, running in an outstanding fashion during the 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler, America’s largest 10-mile race.
Competing in a field of 30,000 challenging participants, drawing Army and nonmilitary participants from 23 nations and including more than 900 teams and wounded warriors, the 14-strong Team Bliss Army Ten-Miler team met and exceeded the expectations of many.
Staff Sgt. Michael Brizan, motor sergeant from F Company, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th ADA Brigade, had Team Bliss’ fastest time, scorching through the race in 57 minutes, 11 seconds, his 14th time competing in the event.
“Staff Sergeant Brizan is very inspirational,” said Sgt. 1st Class Greg Wyrobek, a tuba player and chief of the operations division for the 62nd Army Band, who has also run the Ten-Miler 14 times.
The Bliss women’s team of six was awarded second place in the “Active Duty Open – Women” category, placing them in second among all female Army post teams.
“I’m really proud of my women’s team. The whole Team Bliss was outstanding,” said 44-year old Sgt. 1st Class Edward Broadnax, Team Bliss coach, and observer controller/trainer with 1st Bn., 362nd ADA, 5th Armored Bde.
Team Bliss Army Ten-Miler team members Sgt. Roberto Mendez, left, D Battery, 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, and 2nd Lt. Vanessa Randolph, right, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Div., run near the four-mile mark during the 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler race held in Washington, D.C. Oct. 24. Photo by Maj. Jason Fetterolf, 5th Armored Bde., First Army Div. West Public Affairs
The Team Bliss members had two major things in common to attribute to their success: focused training and excellent team coaching since the qualifications were held at Fort Bliss in May.
“You have to be self-motivated – you have to be able to get up at 4 a.m.,” said Maj. Trisha Stavinoha, chief of the Nutrition Care Division at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, as she shared one of her fundamental tips for training success.
Stavinoha has run the race every year since she has been in the Army – 12 times.
Along with Broadnax, retired Sgt. Maj. Brandon Gangstead, a training services officer with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, assisted in coaching the team to success.
“The [coaches] being there every morning at practice is what kept the momentum. They came out with a great training program … I liked the way it progressed,” explained Wyrobek, who coached an Army Ten-Miler team previously.
Additionally, the wide age range of team members, from 24-year old intelligence officer 2nd Lt. Vanessa Randolph, Brizan, provided a dynamic that challenged the team to excel and motivate and mentor each other. Randolph and assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Div., entered the Army in November 2009 and exceeded her own expectations by running faster than expected on her first Army Ten-Miler.
Despite a wide diversity of running experience, ranging from just one year to two decades or more, the team triumphed and the individuals making up the team achieved personal accomplishments in addition to being team players.
Team Bliss Army Ten-Miler team members Maj. David Chatwin, left, and Maj. Trisha Stavinoha, right, both of William Beaumont Army Medical Center, run during the 26th Annual Army Ten-Miler race held in Washington, D.C. Oct. 24. Stavinoha, chief of the Nutrition Care Division, is part of the six-woman Bliss team that achieved second place in the “Active Duty Open - Women” category, placing them in second among all female Army post teams. Photo by Maj. Jason Fetterolf, 5th Armored Bde., First Army Div. West Public Affairs
One standout personal accomplishment was that of Sgt. Luis Lozoya, a Patriot missile systems operator and maintainer with D Battery, 1st Bn., 43rd ADA, 11th ADA Bde., who had never done any serious running before a year and a half ago. In fact, weighed an unhealthy 245 pounds when he deployed to Kuwait in March 2009, and dropped to a lean 175 by the time he left in March this year – by running 1,400 miles, inspired by his battery commander.
“[My participation in the Army Ten-Miler] came about because I was in Kuwait and knew my battery commander did 1,000 miles,” said Lozoya, who also acknowledges the support from his current chain of command in his success at the Ten-Miler.
The underlying reason for Lozoya’s participation in the Army Ten-Miler this year was the message he wanted to share with others who may feel they are burdened with physical challenges.
“I want to be able to show people, if you want it, you can do it,” he said.
Other participants in the Ten-Miler included Fort Bliss Commanding General Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard and Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, as well as three additional members of the 5th Armored Bde., a training support brigade. Pittard and Davenport greeted the Team Bliss finishers at a Team Bliss “Hooah” tent featuring food and entertainment after the finish and even joined the 62nd Army Band for a few songs to entertain the crowd. Showing their support, Garrison Commander Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., Fort Bliss Sports Director Joseph Fedak and others also congratulated the team for their outstanding efforts.