Marty Smith, manager and coach of the Stuttgart Stallion running team, had one goal in mind for the U.S. Forces Europe Army 10-Miler.
“We really wanted to defend the women’s championship trophy,” said Smith, who also runs on the men’s team. They did that and more.
The men’s and women’s team each won first place, while four runners won their respective age categories at the Army 10-Miler qualifier, held July 10 in Grafenwöhr.
“The women are definitely fast,” said Smith, referring to Michelle Katz (74:170), Michelle Heagney (76:611), Chateau Venable (81:898) and Ellen Canupp (85:939), who all finished in the top 10.
Smith said they “soundly spanked” the runner-up Vicenza Lions women’s team by posting an average time of 79:39.27, far outpacing Vicenza’s time of 91:39.84.
Katz’s time was good enough to earn her fourth place overall and first in the civilian 35-39 group.
The men’s team of Doug Hutcheson (62:175), Jimmer Sullivan (64:606), Scott Shumaker (72:866) and Smith (70:297) gave an unexpected performance, their average of 67:486 narrowly beating the 68:14 turned in by the Vicenza men’s team.
“I told the team, ‘last year, the men’s team lost the first place trophy by two seconds — think about that as you’re going up that hill on the last mile,’” Smith said.
“We weren’t as fast as last year, but we were fast enough to win the trophy,” he added.
In fact, Shumaker (military, 18-24), Hutcheson (civilian, 35-39) and Sullivan (military, 45 and older) were fast enough to win top honors in their age groups.
Stuttgart’s Eloy Campos also earned a first place finish in the civilian men’s 45-49 category with a time of 83:012.
The top six male and female Soldiers at the Graf race were named to the Army-Europe team for the October race in Washington, D.C.
Leah Mock, a captain with U.S. Africa Command, turned in a time of 87:401, which not only gave her a berth on the Europe team, but also a second place finish in the military 25-29 women’s group.
It won’t be her first time competing in the D.C. race. “I ran it a few years ago when it was rerouted because of a bomb threat — 10 miles turned into 11.6 miles,” said Mock. “I’ve been anxious to go back and run the official 10.”
While the Grafenwöhr race is the only race the Stuttgart Stallions run in officially as a team, “the rest of the time, it is a very loosely organized running club,” said Coach Smith.
For Katz, the Stallions are a great asset. “They reach out to anyone with a proclivity to run, run year-round regardless of the weather, and readily provide training and coaching for all levels and interests,” she said.
“The Stallions are an amazingly supportive group,” Katz added.
For more information on the Stallions, visit their website at http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/Stuttgart_Stallions, or call Marty Smith at 430-7047/civ. 0711-680-7047.