Ed Bandas believes Killeen is plenty capable of hosting large events.

And so he organized The Army Marathon II after the success of last year’s inaugural event.

“Hopefully, in the next few years, we actually become an institution in the state of Texas,” said Bandas, the race director. “Hopefully the whole country will see us as a special place to come for a very special run for a very special cause.”

The Army Marathon II begins at 7 a.m. on March 2 with the course beginning in Killeen just outside of Fort Hood and going through Harker Heights, near Nolanville, through Belton and ending in Temple. The Army Marathon II also has a half marathon and added the 5K run this year.

Last year’s event had 1,000 runners participating and Bandas anticipates around 3,000 participants this year.

“This is kind of what we planed on,” he said. “Once you clear the first year and they realize that you’re actually going to have a second race, people are more interested in coming. Especially because the first year went so well.”

The second running of the marathon will raise money for the Military Childhood Education Coalition, America’s Fund, TAPS, WISH for our Heroes and Team RWB. The 2013 marathon raised $25,000.

Bandas and three other retired servicemen started the event hoping to raise money and awareness for veteran’s charities such as those the marathon assists.

Richard Shaw won last year’s marathon with a time of 2:51.22

Registration for the event is now open. A spot in the individual marathon costs $105, while the half marathon is $75 and the 5K is $40.

For more information about The Army Marathon II, visit thearmymarathon.com, email info@thearmymarathon.com or call Bandas at 210-632-2800.

“The Army Marathon is certainly a wonderful cause in of itself, but the real point of it is to help the other charities that actually have programs and directly contribute to these veterans,” Bandas said.

Contact Albert Alvarado at alvarado@kdhnews.com

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