Stuttgart Law Center Soldiers run Athens marathon
November 29, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- Soldiers who work together, run together.
At least, that's the case for Judge Advocates Capt. Jason McKenna and Capt. Scott Goble, and military justice paralegal Spc. Ashley Lopez, all of whom work at the Stuttgart Law Center. Each decided to run in the 28th Athens Classic Marathon Oct. 31, albeit for different reasons.
Lopez wanted to run the marathon to train for the Army 10-miler, and to raise money for a cause: the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
"I figured if I was going to run 26.2 miles for anything, I was going to run it for charity," said Lopez, who raised about $250 while training for the race.
Lopez first found out about the Athens marathon in a running magazine, then told McKenna and Goble she was going to enter.
McKenna, who had never run in a marathon before, wanted to be part of the historic event: the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.
In the battle, a few thousand Athenian and Plataean soldiers defeated the invading Persian army on the plain of Marathon in 490 B.C., according to the official marathon site, www.athensclassicmarathon.gr.
But the battle is most well-known for the legend of Phillipides, a messenger who ran from the battlefield to Athens to announce victory for the Athenians, then collapsed and died, according to the site.
Goble had dreamed of running in a marathon and was about to celebrate his 30th birthday, so he thought the Athens marathon was a great opportunity to realize a goal and celebrate.
"I had just always wanted to run in a marathon at some point in my life, and I decided if I was going to do one, it was going to be 'the' marathon: the one that started it all," he said.
So, all three made the trek to Greece. Having co-workers enter the race with her helped Lopez to finish the marathon - which she says was one of the most daunting tasks she has ever accomplished.
"It was definitely ... the hardest physical thing I've had to overcome since basic training," she said. "I got to do it with people I worked with, and in a way, we have a kind of unspoken bond. We're never going to forget each other after this."
Thousands of runners from around the world competed in the marathon, which started at the battlefield of Marathon, and finished at the first modern Olympic stadium in downtown Athens.
"It felt awful," said McKenna, recalling the 26-mile race.
However, he enjoyed the cultural surroundings. "There were people all along the roads with Greek flags offering their support," he said. "Sometimes you stop and take pictures with them."
McKenna also appreciated the camaraderie he built with his fellow co-workers.
"I think it made it absolutely memorable and more meaningful, as opposed to doing it on your own," he said.
McKenna and Goble trained for the marathon by running together during their office's group physical training sessions for close to three months.
However, McKenna said he never ran more than 15 miles at a time before the marathon.
When asked if he planned to run in another marathon soon, he responded, "I don't think I will. It was more of a check the box thing in life."
And who can blame him'
After all, Phillipides himself only ran it once.