FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 5, 2013) -- With a motivation no other team had driving them, the members of the Boomsticks team, which represented the 192nd Infantry Brigade, earned top military team honors at the fifth annual Run for the Heroes.

"This year our goal was to put together … a crew of runners and do a culminating sports event before our brigade shuts down," said Boomsticks co-captain Jesse Thurman.

Thurman and co-captain Mark Breugem said the team wanted to dedicate a win to the 192nd, a brigade that will be discontinued at 9 a.m. June 19 at the National Infantry Museum.

"Our motivation level was higher than anybody else's," Breugem said. "It was higher than I've ever seen on a team."

The Run for the Heroes presented an opportunity to allow individuals and relay teams to make a 260-mile journey across the state. In years past, the race started in Columbus and ended in Savannah, Ga., but this year it began at Fort Stewart, Ga., and ended in downtown Columbus. Both captains also said each team member gave it all they had, and it was barely enough to finish.

"After running our last leg, we were completely done," Breugem said. "You couldn't have asked us to run another 10 yards."

In fact, Thurman, who ran the final leg of the race and crossed the finish line for the team, said he collapsed on a nearby sidewalk immediately after finishing.

"I probably didn't try to stand up for 10 or 15 minutes," Thurman said. "When we got word that we were the first place overall military team, it was worth it."

The Boomsticks crossed the finish line at about 5 p.m. May 26 and finished with the best overall time at 34 hours and 51 minutes. They started at 6 a.m., two hours after the 198th Infantry Brigade and Darby Run Team, which finished second and third, respectively, began their race.

That made it difficult for the Boomsticks to tell whether they had the lead.
"We all started running like we were in first place," Breugem said.

Thurman, who was the only member of the team who had run the race before, said he was proud to get his brigade recognized in its last days.

"Everyone on the team is an experienced marathoner or ultra-marathoner. They're a group of guys we knew were strong runners. We got our A-team together."

But Breugem said the race was unlike anything he had ever tried before.

"I would rather have run 36 miles straight," he said. "All the breaks in between allow your muscles to contract. That's the point where the motivation factor comes in."