Aviano hosts Allied Forces Cross Country Championships

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Air force cross-country teams from nations throughout Europe came together at Aviano Air Base, Italy, for the Allied Forces Cross Country Championships Nov. 9.

The Polish air force team came in first place in both the male and female categories. Henryk Szost took first place in the men's 10K race, while Agnieszka Jerzyk took first place in the women's 5K race. Participants ran the trail in the woods of Budoia, Italy.

"The course today was very technical, it was all about who had the guts to just go and not put on the brakes," said Brenda Schrank, third place female runner and first place American female. "It was a very tactical course that required you to be very strategic about how you ran. That was what leveled the field a little bit. Normally, most races are very flat and open and usually, whoever is quickest on their toes can win, but this one didn't turn out that way. You had to be smart and quick."

Matt Williams, the third place male runner and first place American male, agreed with Schrank's sentiments about the trail and said he loved the international competition.

"Friendship through sport really is a mission that is accomplished through these events," Williams said. "We all have friends from different teams and we all walk away from this with a greater understanding of what we do."