Former Fort Huachuca military intelligence officer, 2nd Lt. Margaret Smith, was selected to run as part of the All Army Cross Country team in the Armed Forces Cross Country Championship race, Feb. 15, in Boulder, Colo.
While attending the Basic Officer Leadership Course here at Fort Huachuca, Smith competed with the local Army Ten Miler team in October in which she placed seventh in the military women’s category with a time of 63 minutes.
Les Woods, Fort Huachuca sports director, said, “[Smith] was a late addition to the women’s team as we had one female drop out due to outside issues and we needed to fill the slot, so we held one more qualifying time trial. My first impression of her was ‘very enthusiastic.’ After she blew the field away in the trial, I spoke to her about her training. She was knowledgeable about techniques and had an excitement that comes with her new-found success.
“After her Army Ten Miler run, I received a call from the cross country coach, an old friend of mine, Lieutenant Colonel Liam Collins, from West Point. He wanted me to confirm her fast time at the Army Ten Miler … I confirmed to him that she was the real deal. Thus, the selection was made.”
Smith will be running the 8-kilometer race with five other women on her team. Her goal is to finish the race in less than 33 minutes.
Smith described her training regimen as a combination of speed-work at the track, intervals, tempo running and long runs up to 15 miles on weekends. On remaining weekdays, she runs shorter distances and swims. She explained that training for the race has had its difficulties due to the cold temperatures at Fort Meade, Md., where she is currently assigned to the 781st MI Battalion.
Unlike most athletes at this level, Smith was not born into running. Growing up, she enjoyed sports such as soccer and basketball but it wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter in 2008 that her interest in running developed.
Smith’s biggest concern regarding the upcoming event is the almost 5,500-foot elevation increase and frigid Colorado temperatures. “It’s been really cold and we’ve been in the single digits and snowy,” she said. “It’s been really hard to get my body up to the warmth that it needs to run fast. It’s been a rough winter for training.”
While she has never participated in such a prestigious race, Smith has run the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon. “For runners, those are pretty important races to be selected for or to be able to get into,” she said.
“She is in for the experience of her life in Boulder,” Woods said. “She’ll be running cross country against the fastest women in the nation in a town chalked with running history.”
In an email to Smith congratulating her on the selection, Woods said, “Make no mistake about it, it was your consistency and desire that got you there. You’ve earned it.”
“To be selected to represent the Army against the other services, that’s just awesome,” Smith said. “It’s always been something that I wanted to do, but until now I’ve never had the opportunity.”