Service members run Boston Marathon in Iraq
April 28, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - More than 200 Service members and Department of Defense civilians from various bases in Iraq, competed in a challenging 26.2-mile race recognized as the 5th Annual Boston Marathon held here April 18.
The event was celebrated in unison with the 113th Boston Marathon, which is held annually in the United States and viewed worldwide.
Many participants had their eyes set on winning the race and receiving awards and acknowledgment that comes with being in first place, but Maj. Curtis Perkins had something different in mind.
"This is a crowning achievement, being able to accomplish this here in Iraq," said Perkins, who is on his third deployment to Iraq. "It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something like this during a deployment."
Perkins, a financial resource manager assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division 'Long Knives,' simply wanted to commit to his New Year's resolution by completing his first marathon.
The Denmark, SC native started a 10-week training program in early January to condition his body for the race. Although the training helped him finish the race, it didn't give him the extra edge he needed to win.
"I felt the training paid off today," he said. "I look forward to competing in similar events."
Sgt. Mayra Montelongo, a supply sergeant for the 4th Special Troops Battalion in the Long Knife Brigade, placed second in the women's category.
"When I first heard people talking about the (marathon) I was hesitant in participating in the event," said Montelongo, who hails from Woodlake, CA. "But after finding out more about the race I decided I wanted to participate."
Not only did Montelongo participate, but she also encouraged Soldiers from her supply section to run, and show support for the runners representing the brigade.
"After competing in this event, next year I might try the Boston Marathon back in the United States," said Montelongo.
This athletic event was a special accomplishment for the runners; with a majority of them running a marathon for the first time. Individuals who completed the race were awarded the Boston Athletic Association medal.