WACO, Texas -- Fourteen Soldiers of Division West's 120th Infantry Brigade made their way to participate in the 11th Annual Miracle Match Marathon here, Sunday.

Cold temperatures finally subsided and the sun showed its face on the gorgeous morning.

The 120th's marathon team gets together twice each week for long runs in preparation for the 2014 Army Marathon in Killeen, Texas, March 2. Along the way, they team up and participate in smaller marathons to train and build esprit de corps.

Oddly enough, Waco's Miracle Match Marathon is coined "the toughest little marathon around," according to Race Administrator Debbie Mabry. What makes the run so difficult is twofold: first, if you look at the Marathon's marketing materials, they specify in all caps, "We LOVE our hills." Second, they incorporate an optional obstacle known as Jacobs Ladder at mile 11, towering at a very steep angle, and consisting of wooden logs with an unequal distance between each.

Several Soldiers ran the course during 2013, so they knew what to expect.

Col. Timothy Bush, 120th Infantry Brigade commander, said it was "an awesome run, but those hills were ridiculous. This is going to hurt tomorrow, but that was a great run!"

Finding the right socks and shoes for longer runs is imperative. 2nd Lt. Genevieve Pena, a human resources officer and avid runner with the 120th, said, "The heels are what get me."

In describing the best parts of the race that day, at first Pena said "The zoo," but then made a correction -- "The best, best part about the run was the bacon." Apparently a local member of the community was cooking and handing out bacon to runners as they went by.

Pena, and Human Resources Non-commissioned Officer Sgt. Danielle Furgeson, the only two females on the 120th's run team, did the half marathon together and finished with a strong time of 1:58.

Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Hotz, an intelligence non-commissioned officer with the 120th, was thankful for the training leading up to the Miracle Match Marathon. "It's not that bad," he said. "When you run 4 to 5 miles here, and 8 to 9 miles there, after a while, it's just a matter of not stopping.

"The hills were ridiculous," he added with a smirk. For Hotz, his knees left him pretty achy and in need of mild pain killers the next day.

One hundred percent of net proceeds from the event support the "Be the Match Registry," which connects donors with people in need, through blood type, world-wide.

Approximately 1,400 adults participated in the 11th Annual Miracle Match Marathon, along with 700 children.

Page last updated Tue January 28th, 2014 at 00:00