TEMPLE — Richard Shaw doesn’t know how far he ran his first marathon.
That’s part of the reason why he’s run 35 since then in 13 countries.
“It was terrible. It was so disorganized. It was so bad, they don’t even know how far we ran because they changed the course as we were running,” the 54-year-old Shaw said. “That’s what started me running the second one, because I figured (that) one doesn’t count. Then once I started running the second one, the time got better and it was more fun. From then on, I kept running.”
Shaw’s 36th marathon was the inaugural Army Marathon, the Bell County area’s first in more 30 years, and he won it Sunday.
“The special part was my wife was with me,” Shaw said. “Since I run most of mine overseas, she’s not there. That was the important part to win it because she was there.”
The 26.2-mile race started at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on W.S. Young Drive in Killeen, wound through Harker Heights, Nolanville and Belton, and finished on Hilliard Road in Temple at the Temple Bioscience Center.
It came less than a week after two bomb blasts killed three people and injured more than 180 at the finish of the Boston Marathon on April 15. Shaw, who finished Sunday’s race in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 22 seconds, ran the Boston Marathon twice and plans to run in it again.
“I’m going to make sure I’m running it again next year,” Shaw said.
Michael Madison finished second overall in 2:54:36 and Toowey Lee, from Round Rock, finished third (2:58:48).
Meredith Thompson was the women’s winner, finishing 12th overall, in 3:09:46. Erin Ruyle was the women’s division second-place finisher (3:15:47) and Krystal Grant was third (3:25:46).
According to Ed Bandas, the race’s director, 611 runners started the marathon and more than 400 started the 5K race.
“The support we got out here was amazing, great feedback from everybody. I couldn’t be happier and more pleased with that,” Bandas said. “I think from a tactical perspective, all of our medical, everything worked exactly as planned. I think there’s only three people that we had to put on our little trail wagon and everybody else finished the race. It was just a tremendous effort by everybody. I thank God that we had a safe race, a beautiful race, a successful race.”
Brady Adger won the 5K portion of the race in 16:41 and Victoria Clark won the women’s division in 20:26.9.
Bandas and three other retired servicemen started the event hoping to raise money and awareness for veterans’ charities, including USA Cares, the Military Child Education Coalition, America’s Fund, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and Wish for Our Heroes, among others.
New York resident Jennifer LaMora competed Sunday to support one of her two military brothers. The 30-year-old has one brother in the Army, who was stationed at Fort Hood for a time before being moved to Fort Drum in New York, and another in the Marines and said she planned to run a marathon for each.
“I think it was nice — very hilly, very hilly, but it was nice,” LaMora said of the course. “Nice view, scenic.”
Shaw, who’s run marathons in Egypt, Madagascar, Portugal, Rwanda, Spain and Tanzania, among others, happened to be on vacation this week to take part in the Army Marathon.
“I’ve actually run other first-time marathons and most of the time there’s big mistakes that they make, but this one was actually well-organized. They had water stops all the way through the course and everything was marked well,” Shaw said. “The course was excellent — I love the point-to-point with buses to take you back because that just makes the marathon all that much more interesting. You don’t see anything a second or third time.”