By Maj. Jason Engelbrecht
2nd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 120th Infantry Division, Division West Public Affairs
TEMPLE, Texas — Soldiers across the Army typically begin their day at 6:30 a.m. with an hour or so of physical training, every weekday, with weekends off.
Sunday was a notable exception, when soldiers of the 120th Infantry “Bayonet” Brigade lined up at the Killeen Civic Center with hundreds of other participants to run the inaugural Army Marathon.
The Army Marathon is the first fully certified marathon to be completed within the greater Killeen/Fort Hood area. When first announced, all 120th soldiers were challenged to participate, regardless of rank, age, or perceived running ability. Early in January, their training program began with early runs consisting of only four to five miles. These distances quickly ramped up to seven to 10 miles and beyond.
As one of the first marathons to be run after the tragic events in Boston, this race had special significance for more than one participant.
“I have always wanted to run a marathon, but never made the time until now,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hogan, the 120th’s chief resource manager. “The fact that this race occurs right after all those people were hurt in Boston makes it even more important to me to give everything I’ve got.”
By 10:30 a.m., soldiers from the brigade began to cross the finish line in Temple. Tired but triumphant, Hogan crossed at 10:39 a.m., with a final time of four hours, nine minutes.
“The course was tough, but we trained hard, and I knew I couldn’t give up,” he said. “I kept thinking about those people who got hurt in Boston, and I knew I couldn’t give up on them either.”
The success of the brigade’s marathon training program ensured it will become a permanent part of the unit’s physical training program. Many of the soldiers and family members that did not run the marathon were inspired to run the associated five-kilometer race, or they volunteered to support water stations along the route.
In the end, the soldiers and families of the 120th had much to be proud of.
“The brigade has really helped me set a new standard for myself physically,” said Hogan. “All that training we put in over the last several months was worth it when I crossed the finish line.”