Soldiers find inspiration while running

Sgt. Eva Perry of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, and Spc. Samantha Hengehold, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, two of the fastest female Soldiers in Europe, are from U.S. Army Garrison Italy. They proved it recently at the Installation Management Command-Europe level Army Ten-Miler in Grafenwoehr, Germany, placing first and second respectively. The event, held earlier this summer, is the qualifier for the upcoming 38th annual Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C.


“It’s something really good to do with your life,” Hengehold said. “It takes a couple weeks, maybe a couple months, but when you get to the point where that 11 minute mile goes down to a 10 then a nine, it starts feeling better.”
By Randall Jackson U.S. Army Garrison Italy Vicenza, Italy Aug 18, 2022
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VICENZA, Italy – Sgt. Eva Perry of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, and Spc. Samantha Hengehold, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, two of the fastest female Soldiers in Europe, are from U.S. Army Garrison Italy. They proved it recently at the Installation Management Command-Europe level Army Ten-Miler in Grafenwoehr, Germany, placing first and second respectively. 

The event, held earlier this summer, is the qualifier for the upcoming 38th annual Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C.

 When running day to day in Vicenza, Perry runs at a fast, yet comfortable pace, she explains in a humble manner. After work, she likes to get outdoors, hitting the trails. To her, a run is relaxing. 

“Races are a little different,” said Perry, whose average time at the qualifier was 6:13 per mile. “A race is going to be uncomfortable and I accept that.” 

A week before qualifier, Hengehold competed in a triathlon, Ironman 70.3. She completed a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. 

“I was pretty cooked after that,” Hengehold said, of her triathlon. “During the run, I threw up five times. It was 95 degrees out. I was super sore and beat up from that.” Still, she placed 2nd in the qualifier with an average pace of 6:35 per mile. 

Two male Soldiers, also from the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, placed in the top 20; Sgt. Reed Schaff took fourth and Pvt. Brayden Naylor took sixth. 

Naylor, running just ahead of Perry, never raced 10 miles before. Perry kept up with him and finished only 23 seconds behind. 

“I was impressed with him and just wanted to keep up and see him through the finish line,” Perry said. 

Next, Perry, Hengehold, Schaaf, and Naylor will join thousands of other runners on Oct. 9 for the Army Ten-Miler, the second largest 10-mile race in the United States. Since 1985, more than 400,000 people have participated. 

Running beats being bored at home, although it can be hard at first, Hengehold said. “It’s something really good to do with your life,” Hengehold said. “It takes a couple weeks, maybe a couple months, but when you get to the point where that 11 minute mile goes down to a 10 then a nine, it starts feeling better.”

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