KILLEEN — Troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion received the Strength in Unity award Monday from the Army Marathon.
During a lunch at Central Texas College, soldiers accepted the trophy, which is given to the unit whose top four runners cumulatively placed higher in the full marathon than any other unit.
Seven of the battalion’s soldiers trained together and ran the March 2 race.
“Originally, I just got a few of the guys together to start as a team,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Conway, who also ran the inaugural Army Marathon in 2013. “We were not expecting (to win anything) so this is a nice surprise.”
The day of the race, temperatures dropped into the freezing range, making the race from Killeen to Temple that much more difficult.
“It’s always a challenge, but one of those things you do in the military is build strength through adversity,” Conway said.
The trophy was designed with that idea of strength in unity in mind, said Aaron Gist, the Salado-based artist who designed it last year.
Gist said he had the Aesop fable “The Bundle of Sticks” in mind as he began the sculpture. The moral of the fable is that there is strength in unity.
“It’s the perfect symbol for this,” Gist said. “This is the first time I’m seeing the award being given and I look forward to the marathon every year. I pray for its success.”
Also during the luncheon, marathon director Ed Bandas thanked the race’s sponsors. Central Texas College was named the official college of the marathon, and a display case was unveiled at the Anderson Student Center, which will house the unity trophy and the challenge coins of the units that win it. First Cav’s 1st Brigade Combat Team won last year.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Tom Klincar, college chancellor. As a college without athletics, he said he sees the Army Marathon as its sports activity.
Garlyn Shelton car dealerships also were recognized by Bandas.
“You stepped in when we needed that last little push and we went from no event to preparing for No. 3,” Bandas said.
The third Army Marathon is the first Sunday in March.