On Oct. 25, Camp Leatherneck hosted the first Afghanistan Marine Corps Marathon, a satellite race to the 134th annual Marine Corps Marathon held in Washington.
Two Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, Lt. Paul Gundy, native of Hattiesbrg, Miss., NMCB 74's Dental Officer and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Shaw, native of Sutton, Mass., participated in the marathon. Ens. Kyle Lenahan, native of Kailua, Hawaii, assigned to the THIRTIETH Construction Regiment, joined Gundy and Shaw in the race. Thirteen Sailors participated in the event, along with other U.S. and Coalition forces, and civilian contractors assigned to Camp Leatherneck.
The coordinator of the marathon, Maj. Lauren "Eddie" Edwards, Engineer Officer assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 2, said she came up with the idea for running the marathon in Afghanistan before she deployed, knowing she would be overseas during the MCM.
"I contacted the Marine Corps Marathon Office, because I knew it has been done several times in Iraq, to ask them if anyone was planning one out here. They said no, so I approached General Nicholson, Commanding General of Camp Leatherneck, who was very open to the idea and gave full support," said Edwards. "It's the one time of the year where Marines from around the globe can get together and train and be in that warrior's spirit. Some people do it to commemorate events in their lives or remember fallen comrades. For us out here, it's about camaraderie and it also gives people a goal to focus on outside of work."
Gundy crossed the finish line first out of the 13 Sailors, with a time of three hours, 28 minutes and 52 seconds, and 13th of the 255 participants who finished. Gundy cited a number of reasons that motivated him during the race.
"A marathon is one of those challenges in life that not everyone has the opportunity, desire, and discipline to be able to finish. Even fewer people can say that they have completed a marathon in Afghanistan. I just couldn't pass it up, and I wanted to take on this challenge with my shipmate, Petty Officer Shaw. Finally, it was a way for me to celebrate and honor my daughter's fourth birthday from the other side of the world," said Gundy. "I honestly couldn't believe that I was able to finish under 3:30 [Three hours and 30 minutes]. I was exhausted, but so proud of the accomplishment that I was able to represent the Navy and NMCB 74. It was a great race - one that I will never forget."
Edwards said that she had the help of over 70 volunteers. They gave up what little free time they had to plan, organize and execute the event while performing their main military duties on deployment.
"Having run the actual Marine Corps Marathon last year in DC, the Marine organizers continue to put out an amazing event, from the Harrier flyover, to the water and Gatorade stations, even the people who showed up to cheer and show their support." said Lenahan.
Every participant who crossed the finish line received a t-shirt and a medal to display around their necks, For many of the runners, the prizes will serve as a proud reminder and symbol of their monumental accomplishment.
|Date Posted:||11.12.2009 19:46|
|Location:||ON OCT. 25, AF|
This work, Camp Leatherneck Hosts Marine Corps Marathon, NMCB 74 Dental Officer Takes 13th, by PO1 Michael Lindsey, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.