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Running and Serving

The holiday season is upon us, and there will be numerous excuses to relax your exercise program. The ideal situation is to maintain a modified schedule to get workouts and walks in three or four days a week. You are the one who will benefit.

You can view your training program as two parts. The first is the physical part, like walking, running, lifting weights, and cycling. The other part, which is the important aspect, is mental. Once you have your mind set on a program, it makes it easier. We can all use some inspiration along the way. What does it take to get you motivated?

Running can be a lifelong commitment. We all aren’t like Norm Frank, who ran his first marathon in 1967 at the age of 35. On April 22, 2010, Frank was presented with a special recognition award by USA Track & Field’s Masters Long Distance Running Committee. The award was to recognize the 965 marathons he completed. At that time, he was 78 years old.

I tell you this not to suggest you break his record, but to stress that you should maintain your own. T

I had an opportunity to do an email interview with Army Capt. Kelly Brown Calway, who is serving her second deployment in Kuwait.

Calway developed a love for running and the military. The daughter of Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Physical fitness was instilled at an early age. Calway is married to Army Capt. Chris Calway, and they have a 6-year-old daughter, Hazel. There have been many challenges along the way for her, as you can imagine.

Calway ran Division 1 Track and Cross Country at North Carolina State (Varsity T&F (1500m) and Cross Country 2002-2006) and joined the Army after college. In 2006, she made her marathon debut at the Tucson Marathon (3 hours, 10 minutes, 27 seconds). In 2008, she was the Army Athlete of the Year. In October of that year, Calway ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:05:31.

During her first deployment, she earned a Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service during Operation Iraq Freedom. The military always came first and the sport followed.

From 2010-2012, Calway was a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). On Jan. 14, 2012, Calway was toeing the line for the military at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. She placed 25th, with a personal best of 2:37:10.

Calway has been a frequent participant in the Army Ten-Miler, running in 2010 (finishing 2nd, 57:20), 2011 (finishing 7th, 58:04), 2012 (finishing 4th, 56:39), and 2013 (finishing 5th, 57:06).

On Oct. 27, 2013, Calway made a move from behind to take the top honor at the 38th Marine Corps Marathon, in a time of 2:42:16. The top four females were military: second place was Navy Lt. Gina Slaby, Airman 1st Class Emily Shertzer, and Army Maj. Emily Potter.

This was an impressive showing for the military.

We all wish Captain Calway a safe and fast deployment for her tour of duty.

The following is the interview with Capt. Calway as she share comments from the race.

1. Knowing you just ran the Army Ten-Miler, did you feel that race took anything away from you, or did you force yourself to hold back and keep it for training?

I was actually more focused on the Army Ten-Miler (Oct. 20, 2013) than the Marine Corps Marathon. I was training specifically for the Army Ten-Miler, because I wasn’t sure if my deployment timeline would allow me to remain in D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon. I went all out for the Army Ten-Miler (57:06, 5th place) and was slightly concerned about recovering in time for the Marine Corps Marathon. I took it easy in the week in between but was concerned about my right hamstring, which was sore after the Ten-Miler right up until the start line of the marathon.

2. Did you have a strategy going into the MCM?

I did. It was a bit strange for me not to be focused on the marathon for months leading up to it, because I was focused on the Ten-Miler instead. As it got closer, my coach told me we’d talk about the marathon after the Ten-Miler. The night after the Army Ten-Miler, I called my coach and we discussed the strategy. I had a few goals: Win the Armed Forces Marathon Championship, qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, and have fun (I knew this would be my last race in the states before deployment).

The race strategy I talked through with my coach was to start out conservatively at about a 6:05 pace and hold that pace for the first 12 miles. At that point, if I was feeling better, I could drop the pace down to six flat and hold there until the 20-mile mark. At 20 miles, that’s when the race starts. My coach always tells me to count the number of people I pass in the last 10k. I did. I passed 11 men.

3. Was there a point where you knew you were going to take the lead, or was it something that just happened?

I knew from the start that I was going to win the race. I was in the lead at the beginning, but one of my teammates passed me around mile two. Against my instincts, I let her go, because I recognized that she went out too hard, and resigned to reeling her in at the 10k point. It was a smart move, because I raced smart and passed her at mile 6. From then on, I was on my own as the leader of the women’s race. I had no idea where the other women were in the race, and I was definitely suffering near the end, but I was confident that I would win the race.

4. How did you feel when you broke the tape?

It was truly amazing! I was so happy to clinch my first marathon victory. I had ARMY across my chest, and I was so proud to represent all of the soldiers and families who have volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army. I couldn’t wait to tell my family, and I was pretty excited to be done running, too.

5. How has military played a role in running?

The Army strongly encourages soldiers to be physically fit in order to perform our duties in combat, which is awesome, because that means I am afforded the opportunity to run every morning during Physical Training. The Army also has the All-Army running teams, which compete three times a year at the National Cross Country Championship, The Army Ten-Miler, and the Marine Corps Marathon. These teams are great, because I have an all-expense paid race three times a year! Additionally, I was accepted to run in the Army World Class Athlete Program. I never would’ve reached my full potential without being accepted into this program. I am so lucky that I had the access to coaches and other assets to propel me to the elite running level.

6. How do you balance the hours of training with family life?

I’ve learned to be flexible. Between the Army, motherhood, and running, I have so many obligations. There are days when I won’t be able to run exactly what I need to, but I get something in and make the workouts count when I can. I’ve learned not to stress too much about missing a day or running too little mileage, because sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.

7. Up to this point, what has been a high point for you?

As far as running goes, the 2012 Olympic Trials was a huge high point for me. It was such an honor to be out there competing in that race, and I was able to set a five-minute personal record and finish 25th. It felt easy, and it was awesome to race with so many talented women. My entire family was out there cheering me on that day; my Dad even recruited a group of 20 random spectators to cheer me on, and we all celebrated together afterwards. It was awesome!

8. What has been a low point for you, and how did you deal with it?

I had a low point after I dropped out of the California International Marathon 2012. The weather conditions were atrocious, and I was racing terribly in those conditions. It was the only marathon I have ever dropped out of, and I was terrified that it would define me as a runner. I raced until mile 15, then had to find a policeman to drive me to the finish line. It was embarrassing. In the end, I think it was a smart move, because I saved my training and was able to race the Houston Marathon in January 2013. That was a tough race with very similar conditions—cold, windy, rainy—but I toughed it out and finished 5th overall, 2nd American, even though I couldn’t feel my hands for 23 miles!

9. How many marathons have you run, and what is your personal record?

I’ve run nine marathons. My PR is 2:37, and I ran that at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

10. If you had to choose, at what distance do you shine?

If I could choose, I’d run the 100 meters! Unfortunately, I was not gifted with a large amount of fast-twitch muscle. I love the marathon distance for the heart that goes into the race. It doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Schmo or Meb Kheflezgi, you can have a great race or an awful one, and the last 10k is usually where that happens.

11. How did you feel about the level of competition?

Pretty great because I won!   could’ve run faster had there been someone racing with or near me, and it’s always awesome to run a PR, but I still qualified for the trials so I am happy.

12. How long have you been in the Army, and what was your motivation for joining?

I’ve been in the Army for 7.5 years now. I am an Army brat; I grew up in the Army. I love the community, and I love the people. I knew I wanted to serve my country, something greater than myself, and I wanted to be surrounded by others who share that motivation.

Author

  • George Banker

    George Banker was the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), one of the largest 10-mile road race in the United States. From 2003 through 2023, his responsibilities included the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler, he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant), where his experience included ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, contributor for the Runner’s Gazette, and He is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition”. He is an avid runner, with 136 marathons completed.

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