KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Finding spare time during a deployment can be a difficult task for soldiers. Deciding to spend that time running is even more difficult, unless it’s for a good cause.
On Nov. 19, 1st Lt. Brandon Carius and 1st Lt. Luke Reece, soldiers deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Division, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, found a good cause as they completed a 50 kilometer run to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I didn’t really start off to do this for any type of fundraiser. But, then someone mentioned to me that this was a good opportunity to help out a good cause,” said Reece, during an interview with the WWP. “We were going to run anyway, so why not give it more of a purpose?”
Reece said the run hit close to home as a couple of soldiers from their battalion were wounded in combat and now utilize some of the services the WWP provides.
Carius echoed Reece’s sentiment adding “no amount of respect, remembrance or charity is enough to give those who are severely injured while serving their nation.”
Although the two agree running for wounded soldiers added a significant amount of motivation to complete the challenging feat, there was also a lot of time spent preparing.
“I had done a marathon back in March and was running into April, up until we deployed,” Reece said.
Reece’s run routine, dramatically changed as the Brigade began deploying and at one point almost completely stopped.
It wasn’t until the two arrived at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, Afghanistan that they refocused their efforts to running.
“The first time I finally got out and ran, I could barely run a lap,” Reece said. “My legs felt like Jell-O.”
After getting back into a daily routine the Army officers, began experiencing a different type of challenge.
In Zangabad, the roads are mostly gravel, sometimes making even the simplest tasks, like walking, difficult.
“A good run can be judged by how many times you roll or twist your ankle,” Carius said. “A ‘good’ run is when I only roll my ankle once every 100 meters or so.”
After learning how to run on gravel there’s the challenge of battling the extreme temperatures.
“It’s super hot here in the summer.” Reece said. “The temperature can climb as high as 115 degrees, but it feels hotter than that.”
To battle the climate and the ankle-threatening run route, the two began running at night and made sure to have plenty of shoes on hand to replace the shoes damaged from the gravel.
In the end all the hard work and preparation paid off and to help put in perspective how far the two ran for their fellow battle-buddies; a runner at the Boston Marathon will only run 43.6 kilometers to complete the 26.2 mile race.
“There are no excuses or regrets, and running or walking any amount of distance is something that a few of our comrades cannot do right now or will ever do again,” said Reece
Together, Carius and Reece helped raise more than $3,000 dollars for the WWP.
The WWP is a non-profit organization that relies on enlisting the public’s aid for the needs of wounded service members.
To find out more about the WWP check out www.woundedwarriorproject.org. To check out the donations for the 50 kilometer run held by the 3-21st Infantry soldiers check out https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/Zangabad/
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This work, Stryker Brigade soldiers complete 50 km run for wounded warriors, by SSG Thomas Duval, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.