TEMPLE — Retired Lt. Gen. Dave R. Palmer, of Belton, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie W. Spencer, of Washington, D.C., were honored with holding the tape at the finish line for Sunday’s Army Marathon III.
“Well,” said Palmer, “this is always a great event. It’s so much fun. Look at all the families running the 5K. It has become a special marathon.
“This marathon, like the others, is 26.2 miles. Some are in good weather, some are in bad weather. But what sets this marathon aside is that everyone is out here running for someone. Maybe themselves, sure. But they’re also running for their uncle, their father, their husband, their wife, their sister — someone who was in the service. And by ‘service’ I don’t just mean the military. I also mean our first-responders, our policemen and so forth.”
Over 1,390 people crossed the finish line in Sunday’s Army Marathon III, 532 of them participants in the 26.2 mile marathon. Others chose to participate in the 5K and half-marathon.
Palmer was especially grateful that Spencer flew in for the event.
“He is a consultant to the National Vietnam Commemorative Commission,” Palmer said of Spencer. “This marathon is one of the major events in America commemorating Vietnam this year. It’s great to have him here and have national awareness of the the Army Marathon here in Central Texas.”
Spencer was a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“I retired in 1993 after 32 years of active duty, and enjoyed every minute of it and I spent two years in Vietnam,” Spencer said. “Now, I am part of a Department of Defense commission to honor and support all of our Vietnam veterans and their family members and we do that through our commemorative partners and we are here to support this great event. It takes a lot of courage to run in an event like this.
“It really was wonderful. This morning I had my doubts. It was cold and dark and I didn’t think there would be very many people here. But I’m amazed at the spirit in this community. Plus, people were here from virtually every state in the union.
"I’m glad I made it to this marathon. I really enjoyed it. And I can promise this: It won’t be my last time here.”