News: Army Marathon a Success Despite Weather
Story by Sgt. Samuel Northrup
TEMPLE, Texas – Ice-cold rain pelted his skin from the cloudy skies above as he ran. He could feel his heart pounding as he breathed heavily. The feeling in his face and fingers was gone; everything was beginning to feel numb. He continued to push forward, mile after mile.
Finally, he rounded the last curve and he could hear the cheers of the spectators. With his legs aching, Chuck Engle crossed the finish line and came in as the top overall runner for the second annual Army Marathon March 2, at Temple, with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 1 second.
“With a temperature drop of about 25 degrees…I honestly did not know if I was going to finish,” said Engle. “I thought about dropping out at mile ten, but there is something about testing the human will that kept me going.”
The Army Marathon, first held last April, raises money for qualified veteran charities. Those who entered the race this year had the option of choosing the full marathon, half marathon, 5klicks run (5K) or the handcycle marathon.
The marathon began at the Killeen Civic & Conference Center at 7 a.m., moved north on W.S. Young, then east along Business 190 through Harker Heights. Eventually runners and cyclists crossed the Belton dam and finished in Temple at Hilliard Road, just south of Airport Road.
“The course was great,” said Anthony Radetic, a handcyclist who came in at 1 hour, 47 minutes and 41 seconds. “The course was nice and smooth and the event was well organized.”
The most difficult part for Radetic, who was an Army rotary wing aviator, was warming up in the beginning of the race. He said once he had a rhythm established at mile ten, the race was fairly easy.
“I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after I cycle,” said Radetic. “Pushing myself physically to is what does it for me.”
“The experience and feeling you get when you finish is beyond worth it,” said Engle. “The sensation you get when you run and get blood flowing to the brain and to the muscles is revolutionary.”
Running can become addictive according to Maria Martinez, who placed as first overall female.
“My husband was the person who really motivated me to start running,” said Martinez, who finished in 3 hours, 16 minutes and 31 seconds. “He would make me run 5Ks with him and I use to hate it. It was not easy for me back then, but when I started training and getting better, I became addicted to marathons; I don’t know how to stop.”
Runners for this year’s marathon were caught off guard by a sudden cold snap.
“Weather conditions made the course difficult,” said Engle, who was wearing shorts and a tank top. “There were points in the route where I felt I was leaning into the cold wind. I checked the forecast last night, but it did not call for this temperature drop. This is Central Texas; the weather can be unpredictable.”
Even with the weather, Engle was happy to have been part of the second annual Army Marathon. He said part of what he does is exploring small marathon races.
“This is a little race, but it is going to get bigger,” Engle said. “It is a great course and hopefully more people will come out next year.”
The number of registrants for the marathon had increased approximately 30 percent from the first year according to Ed Bandas, the race director. He has high hopes for next year.
“If we can hit 2000 next year, it will be a great year,” said Bandas. “More importantly, I want to make sure we continue our number one mission: to raise money for qualified charities and raise awareness for those charities.”
For more information and registration for the Army Marathon, please visit: www.thearmymarathon.com