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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M) Building Strong ® Global Support

Kool running through Afghanistan by Mark Abueg
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Oct. 24, 2010) – What do you get when you have a coalition member, a ten-mile race, and a tight boarding time for a flight? Give up? What you get is one nervous runner in Afghanistan. It was a cold Saturday morning for Scott Kool. But this wasn’t just any Saturday. On this particular day he was tasked with a mission in which he needed to catch a flight. He had also decided to run a ten-mile race before boarding. “I was a little anxious,” said Kool. “Here I was really wanting to run in this ten-miler. But I didn’t want to miss my show time for the flight.” The race started at 6 a.m. and he had to be on the flight line by about 7:45 a.m. “I was really tight for time,” he said. The Army Ten-Miler, which is held annually in Washington, D.C., was remotely held in Afghanistan. This was an opportunity for Kool to continuing to support the military other than by completing his duties as the cartographer for the 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M). The mission of the Army Ten-Miler is for the Military District of Washington to safely conduct the Army’s annual 10mile race to promote the Army, build esprit de corps, support fitness goals, and enhance community relations. Kool, as his last name would imply, is very much the same. He is hardly as old as his salt and pepper beard would suggest. Maybe it has something to do with his effervescent way of life that excites you when you meet him. Maybe it’s just because he’s an excitable person. Maybe this is what compelled him to run a ten-miler before catching a flight with little time to spare. “I wouldn’t say that I’m a classic runner in the sense,” Kool said. “I don’t do timed splits or intervals. But what I lack in run time, I make up for in dedication to our nation’s Army.” Each year thousands of runners join in the race classic in D.C. This year Kool and hundreds of other runners stationed on Kandahar Airfield ran on rocks, gravel, pavement, and dirt to race to the finish line. “I’ve never run the actual Army-Ten Miler, but I’m betting their course in D.C. is a lot smoother and forgiving on the ---- continued on page 2 ----U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS – 579TH ENGINEER DETACHMENT (FEST-M) Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan E-mail: 579festmpao@usace.army.mil www.mvd.usace.army.mil/579festm
Scott Kool, cartographer with the 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M), completes the Army Ten-Miler on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo by Mark Abueg)

Page 2 joints,” laughed Kool before the race. It was all business and no laughing matter minutes prior to the start of the race for Kool. He was intent on finishing and making his flight. So did Kool finish the race in time to catch his flight? “At the 8-mile marker, I asked the volunteer, ‘What’s my time?’” said Kool. “Then she yells back, ‘1 (hour) 45 (minutes).’ I don’t ever remember running that hard after she told me my time.” If you’ve been around Kool, you’ll realize he’s not as gullible as he may look. Despite not having a watch, which he should have probably had, he knew he’d run less somewhere along the lines of nine-minute miles. “I knew something was up,” he said. “But I also knew I had to make it to that finish line with only two miles to go.” Rounding the corner to the finish line, there was a certain look on Kool’s face that he gets when he’s determined and focused. He was running so fast that the bottom of his bib number flew upward towards his whiskers. “I guess I should have taken four safety pins,” he chuckled. Just as everyone else did coming across the finish line, Kool did the same. He winced, he sighed, and then he smiled. On the finish clock was what he was expecting to see. He finished with a time of one-hour and 30-minutes. “I was just happy to finish,” said Kool. “Actually I was surprised that was only ten miles as I could’ve gone longer. But it was great to see my commander and other co-workers there to support us all.” So at this point in the story, you may be asking yourself, “Did Scott make his flight?” “I made it to the flight line with plenty of time to spare,” said Kool. Unfortunately, so did a whole lot of sand. “Dust,” said Kool. “The dust got us, man.” Perhaps it was all the dust Kool kicked up during his fast race time that did his flight in. “Luckily there’s a flight tomorrow,” he said. Fortunate for Kool there’s not another Army Ten-Miler until next year.

Scott Kool, cartographer with the 579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M), takes a breather after completing the Army Ten-Miler on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo by Mark Abueg)

U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS – 579TH ENGINEER DETACHMENT (FEST-M) Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan E-mail: 579festmpao@usace.army.mil www.mvd.usace.army.mil/579festm

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