The Army Marathon II attracted more than 1,000 runners to Central Texas to compete in a marathon, half marathon, 5k and hand cycle race on Sunday.
In its second year, the event raised money for the Military Childhood Education Coalition, America’s Fund, TAPS, WISH for our Heroes and Team Red, White and Blue. Race director Ed Bandas talked with Albert Alvarado about Sunday’s marathon and what’s in store for 2015.
What are your thoughts about how the second year went?
Our registration was up 30 percent, by the time the starting line came up with weather and stuff like that; we were 10 or 15 percent over last year’s start. I wish words could really express how moved we are by he dedication that we saw out there, by the spirit, not just of the runners, but of the volunteers, law enforcement and EMS folks in some of the worst conditions that you can imagine for any race. Races like that get canceled if it gets worse than what we were running in.
How inspiring was it to watch the runners attempt to finish the marathon despite weather and fatigue?
When you see the spirit of all of these folks, it’s hard to put into words how moved we are by all of it, how inspired we are by all of it.
I wish I could open up our Facebook page for everyone to see the comments, the pictures and what we see on this end of the race. It really makes you realize that we’ve done a good thing here.
As a community, we’ve done a good thing.
Would you say things went smoother this year?
If you look at the emergency services that we had, from law enforcement to fire to EMS, almost the worse-case scenario presented itself and everybody was taken care of. Think of Scott & White’s decision to put a warming tent out at the last second out there on the course. Guess what was the most popular social hour out there? It was the warming tent. It was just a lot of people doing a lot of great things to keep everybody safe. What most people would consider overkill on the safety factor just proved it. My hat’s off to all of those guys.
One of the races at the event is the hand cycle marathon. Is this something you want to grow in the years to come?
Last year we had three, this year we had four. We want to continue to grow that simply because the reality is a lot of races are saying ‘We can’t handle that.’ This is the way for us to tell our wounded warriors that specialize in hand cycle racing, hey you’ve got a home here. You appropriately have a home here. God, of all people that should not get rid of hand cycle racing, it should be us.