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Soldiers participate in Army Marathon downrange


Rain clouds failed to dampen spirits for 13 runners as they set off on a shadow version of the Army Marathon and half marathon at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Rain never came, and when the dust finally settled, all 13 completed their races.

First Lt. James Mann, a member of the Army National Guard’s marathon team was the first of nine finishers in the half marathon with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 46 seconds. The first female finisher was 1st Lt. Megan Snook in 1:36:45. Other finishers included 1st Lt. Michael Fernandez, Staff Sgt. Patrick Dougherty, Air Force Technical Sgt. Michael Bramble, Capt. Kevin Trimble, 1st Lt. Nick Starck-King, Sgt. 1st Class Orlando Gearing and Sgt. Maj. Mark Cook.

Four runners finished the full marathon. James Turner, the sole civilian runner who works to keep aviation assets running, was the first finisher in a time of 3:38:00. He was quickly followed by Sgt. Maj. Bradley Cope, Maj. Matthew Fitzgerald and Staff Sgt. Ryan Houck. With the shadow run, Cope, a military police sergeant major out of Fort Hood, can say he ran both the inaugural Army Marathon in 2013 and this year’s second running. Runners came from 4th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division and 2nd Cavalry Regiment. There were infantry, military police, comptrollers, maintenance, EOD, logistics, engineers, lawyers, paralegals and even a chaplain in the group. Both the Army and Air Force were represented.

At the finish areas, some of the runners waited for the next runner and any others who came in shortly thereafter. They shared pats on the back, handshakes and high-fives for a job well done.