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Finding Fellowship in 2020: USMES Virtual Army Ten-Miler Team

October 2, 2020

US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) Boulder, CO – Oct 2, 2020 – In January, triathlete and Army physician Lisa Hesse was deployed to respond to the COVID pandemic, serving as a medical epidemiologist for the CDC. “Prior to this I was a preventive medicine doctor, but I was transferred to the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections in Atlanta,” explained Hesse. Last month USMES held a lottery on Facebook Live for the first annual USMES Virtual Army Ten-Miler Team, and Hesse was chosen for a spot. “This will be my fourth ATM — but first virtual,” said Hesse. “Because of COVID deployments my training hasn’t been consistent, so my number one goal is to have fun.”

While USMES athletes like Hesse are working non-stop as COVID first responders, other members have grappled with isolation and uncertainty. Virtual USMES events provide a lifeline, from Facebook chats to Zwift rides. “Virtual events are a way to keep up motivation and maintain connection,” said George Banker — running legend, USMES member, and Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler. “Each runner is doing double duty for themselves and for the team.”

Joining Hesse on the USMES virtual team are Noland Hoshino, Leigh-Anne Slack, Kara Corcoran, John Aselton, Rick Winfield, Luiza Pegado and James Lamoureux. Army Reservist Lamoureux has completed most of his training while on deployment in Africa, although he’ll run his virtual race miles at home in New Hampshire. “I feel like my fitness has significantly improved, having the opportunity to run in Africa. And the monotonous loops around a two-square-mile base have increased my mental toughness.” Active Duty Air Force officer Rick Winfield is also far from home, serving at a temporary duty station. “I’m TDY right now, and my goal is just to finish.”

Air Force Veteran Noland Hoshino has fully committed to virtual racing, competing in more than two dozen IRONMAN VR and more than a dozen Rock’n’Roll VR races so far. “I’ve run the Army Ten-Miler twice in Washington D.C. in hot, humid conditions. It will be great to run in weather I’m used to,” said Noland. Army Veteran, rural emergency room physician and ultra-runner Leigh-Anne Slack also ran the ATM in D.C. in 2019. This year she reports “my goal is to finish and get leaner, I gained weight after all my ultra-runs were cancelled.”

Career Army infantry officer and proud SPART*A activist Kara Corcoran has been squeezing in speedwork around a move to a new Army base and caring for twin toddlers. “I have never done the Army Ten-Miler and I am honored to run it for our team,” said Corcoran. Navy Veteran and commercial real estate expert John Aselton is also gunning for a PR. “I’d like to hit 60 minutes or faster,” said Aselton. Army licensed practical nurse Luiza Pegado has spent the run up to the Army Ten-Miler working night shifts on a COVID unit at Madigan Army Medical Center. A lifetime soccer player, the Brazilian-born Pegado has spent most of her awake hours training for the complicated new Army physical fitness test, rather than racking up long road miles. “It will be my first time running it,” said Pegado. “I hope I can make it!”

“Due to the pandemic, the Army Ten-Miler won’t be the same this year,” said USMES Executive Director Mandy Midget. “However, we are excited to field a virtual team, representing all parts of the United States and branches of the military. I am proud of Eric Haselby, USMES Running Team Coordinator, for creating this fun virtual challenge for our members, starting with last month’s Facebook live lottery. This is not the year any of us expected, but if we stick together and support each other we can make the best of it.”

About US Military Endurance Sports

US Military Endurance Sports (USMES), a division of American Servicemembers Amateur Sports (ASAS) Inc, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization chartered to support amateur athletes, endurance sports education and activities for current, retired, and Veteran members of the United States Armed Forces. The mission of USMES is to promote endurance sports as part of a healthy lifestyle to active and Veteran members of America’s Uniformed Services. usmes.org, facebook.com/USMES