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FORT MEADE, Md. -- A Basic Mass Communication Specialist Course student at the Center for Service Support (CSS) Detachment, Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Md., will represent the Navy in the 2013 Armed Forces Cross Country Championships, Feb. 2.
Seaman Paul Coover recently qualified to take on the top armed forces cross country runners in Clayton, Mo.
Coover said he will be racing against the best cross-country runners the military has to offer.
"The top seven runners from each [military] branch race in what is called the Armed Forces Cross Country Championships," he said. "You're racing against the best guys in the U.S. and the best guys in the armed forces."
To prepare himself, Coover said he runs at least 10 miles a day and finishes long runs of up to 15 miles.
"When preparing for a race like this, you have to have a very specific way of training, said Coover. "As much as I would love to do weight training, Olympic lifts, biking and swimming, it's just not possible if I want to win."
Coover said he would like to run for the team full time, but understands he would have to balance running with his Navy career as a mass communication specialist. He said it is not difficult to balance his current military training schedule with his physical training.
"If you make up your mind to get it done, you'll do it," said Coover, who also serves as a section leader and fitness leader for the student detachment. "It's just a matter of priorities." Coover also serves as a section leader and a student fitness leader for the detachment.
"He wants to make other people better, he's not just there for himself," said Petty Officer First Class Barry Abbott, CSS Detachment's leading petty officer.
"I think people are inspired differently and I don't think I go out trying to inspire people," said Coover. "But if somebody follows my example by going out and working out then I think that will do some good."
An alumni runner of Indiana University, Coover said he placed 25th in the 2012 New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and was a San Diego section champion while on his high school's cross country team. He has participated in a number of local races including a five mile marathon in Washington.
With his eyes set on the finish line, Coover's passion for running and intense training regimen help him take on his goals one mile at a time.
"What keeps me going in training is that I am motivated by competition," said Coover.