• Capt. Nicole Hall and Capt. Catherine Hamilton, both of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, dash through the finish line of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run" held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. The race was held to support morale for the Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians who participated and was sponsored by the Austin Marathon.

    Base in southern Iraq hosts Austin Marathon

    Capt. Nicole Hall and Capt. Catherine Hamilton, both of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, dash through the finish line of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run" held on Contingency...

  • Runners flow out of the start point of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run," held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. Over 100 runners participated in the 13.1-mile race that took them three laps over gravel and mud covered roads. The race is sponsored by the central Texas based Marathon, and is one of many similar events that are held in support of deployed servicemembers.

    Base in southern Iraq hosts Austin Marathon

    Runners flow out of the start point of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run," held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. Over 100 runners participated in the 13.1-mile race that took them three laps over gravel and...

  • Spc. Christopher Mwita, of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, crosses the finish line of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run", held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. Mwita completed the run in first place, with a time of just 1 hour 32 minutes, two full minutes faster than the Soldier behind him. The central Texas sponsored race was an opportunity for runners to compete, have fun, and get a change from their daily routines.

    Base in southern Iraq hosts Austin Marathon

    Spc. Christopher Mwita, of Regimental Support Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, crosses the finish line of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run", held on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. Mwita completed the...

  • Runners competing in the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run," round a bend in the course on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. The three lap, 13.1-mile course followed the perimeter of the base and consisted of concrete walls and a gravel trail, in contrast to the paved roads and green trees of Austin, Texas. The Austin Marathon sponsored the race with shirts, medals, and a finish line banner.

    Base in southern Iraq hosts Austin Marathon

    Runners competing in the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow run," round a bend in the course on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, Sunday. The three lap, 13.1-mile course followed the perimeter of the base and consisted of...

BABIL, Iraq - Over 100 Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians gathered Sunday on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu in southern Iraq to participate in the Austin, Texas-based Livestrong Marathon and Half Marathon "shadow" run.

The race was organized to bring participants on the base a taste of the central Texas annual marathon and provide those involved with a fun, challenging diversion from normal military missions.

The day's event was organized by Staff Sgt. Mario A. Gomez, the senior enlisted fire and effects coordinator for Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and a native of McAllen, Texas.

"I contacted personnel from one of my favorite running related publications," said Gomez. "They directed me to contact folks with the Austin Marathon for support. Austin Marathon happily provided us with logoed shirts, medals, and a finish line tape for our runners here."

With support in place, the 13.1-mile race began at 7:00 a.m. on Kalsu, mirroring the start time of the race back in Austin.

The course the runners took in Iraq was in stark contrast to the green, tree-lined streets of Austin. Tall trees, grass, and paved roads were exchanged for concrete barriers, mud puddles, and a lot of gravel. Despite the conditions, runners were excited and enthusiastic.

"I was really excited to participate because Austin is where I attended college," said Spc. Colleen E. Cobb, a geospatial engineer for 3rd ACR, originally from San Antonio. "I didn't train very hard for it but I feel I did pretty good. I finished, and that's good."

All the runners remained determined throughout the three windblown laps around the base, smiling and waving as onlookers cheered them forward.

The first competitor to cross the finish line, Spc. Christopher Mwita, Regimental Support Squadron, glided past the finish line at 1 hour, 32 minutes, closely followed by 1st Lt. Justin Messenger of 1st Squadron, 3rd ACR.

According to an Austin Marathon press release, John Conley, race director for Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon said, "The Austin Marathon remains dedicated to producing these 'shadow races' year after year. Overcoming the tough conditions is a testament to these dedicated athletes and to the importance of providing a way for our Troops to have some sense of normalcy and leisure time during their service."

Page last updated Mon February 21st, 2011 at 05:37