KABUL, Afghanistan – Running up, down and around this flat and narrow course which sits 6,000 feet above sea level, service members & civilians lined up at the start line to run 28 full laps in a satellite marathon, also known as the People’s Marathon.
The Marine Corps Marathon is a 42.195-kilometer (26.2 mile) marathon held in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C. Over the years, it has become a symbol to honor the memory of our fallen brothers and sisters and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedoms around the world.
“The Marine Corps Marathon reminds us of the many sacrifices our young men and women in uniform make on a daily basis,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured. Their sacrifices will be honored and the enemy will be held accountable.”
More than 25 service members and civilians from nations around the world competed in the 36th Annual Marine Corps Marathon at the International Security Assistance Force compound, Oct. 29.
The coordinator of the marathon, U.S. Navy Commander Michele Poole, Afghan Hands, NATO Senior Civilian representative, said she knew she would not be able to attend the event in D.C. this year so she wanted to bring the marathon to ISAF.
“I have run in a Marine Corps Marathon since I was a Midshipman in the Naval Academy,” said Poole, a native of Hampton, Va., and three-time marathon runner. “I run for the six classmates from class of 1995 and two good friends from the class of 1997 whom I’ve lost.”
“When I originally thought about trying to bring the marathon here, I thought it would be a hard thing to do in a war zone,” said Poole. “It was actually easier than I had expected. I emailed the MCM director and asked if ISAF could host a satellite race in Kabul. They [MCM director] then put an option on their registration website for our runners to register at a reduced fee of $20. They also sent us t-shirts for runners and volunteers as well as finisher’s medals—the same medals that finishers in D.C. receive.”
The People’s Marathon serves as a reminder to all service members the memory of so many fallen brothers and sisters, but for the first place finisher of the Marine Corps Marathon it is the dedication of the supportive family he left behind while he is deployed.
“I’m running for all the men and women before and after me that have lost their lives for freedom,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col Douglas McCobb, a 15 marathon, eight ultra-marathon runner.” “I also run for my family in Washington, D.C. I thank them for all the support they continue to give me.”
McCobb shortly after the race redeployed to Pentagon Legislative Office in Washington, D.C. He crossed the finish line with a time of three hours, 19 minutes and 45 seconds.
Every participant who crossed the finish line received a t-shirt and a medal to display around their neck. For many of the runners, the prizes will serve as a proud reminder and symbol of their many accomplishments.
Goranka Henegar, the first woman finisher, crossed the finish line with a time of four hours, 6 minutes and four seconds. Henegar, who worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, wrapped up her three-year-tour in Afghanistan finishing first in her third Marine Corps Marathon Forward event and fourth marathon overall.
This work, Marine Corps Marathon to honor fallen comrades, by SSG Tamika Dillard, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.