Camp Arifjan, Kuwait - In commemoration of the Army Marathon held at Fort Hood, more than 200 Soldiers from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, including several from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), based out of the vast Army post in Texas, raced in a shadow run March 1, the same day as the marathon in Central Texas.
This was the first time for a shadow of the Army Marathon, which began at Fort Hood in 2013 to honor and raise money to support the men and women of the Armed Services.
Attracting more than 200 runners, participants were able to race in either the full marathon of 26.2 miles, or the half marathon of 13.1 miles.
Col. Marty Harnisch of the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, and based out of Fort Hood, raced through the half marathon with a blistering fast time of 1 hour, 31 minutes, and 6 seconds, earning himself the first place honors overall in
the half race.
"I'm feeling a lot better now than I'm going to feel tomorrow," Harnisch joked after crossing the finish line. "It was a great race, and congratulations to all the Soldiers who came out and helped put this on. Also, congratulations to all the Soldiers who ran the race, it was great to see a large turnout."
Cpl. Brian Zamora and Sgt. Erik Demare, both with the 1313th Engineer Company, out of Edinburgh, Indiana, finished the half-race second and third place overall, posting times of 1:42:14 and 1:42:20, respectively.
Maj. Erin Poe, with Third Army/US Army Central, out of Shaw Air
Force Base, South Carolina, was the top finishing female in the half marathon, completing the course in 1:46:10. Sgt. Sara Holloway of the 1313th Eng. Company finished second with a time of 1:56:21. Capt. Laurika Penn, from the 1st Space Brigade of Fort Carson, Colorado, was third in the half marathon at 1:59:14.
Pacing the marathon race course at a time of 2:41:33 was Maj. Knud Hermansen, with the 802nd Engineer Battalion out of Denver, Colorado. Having previously run 15 marathons, he said this was a personal best race time by about four minutes.
Lt. Col. Mike Waterman, battalion commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion out of Virginia Beach, Virginia, finished the race in second with a time of 3:09:21. Sgt. 1st Class Brian Woodburn, with the 528th Engineer Battalion in Monroe, Louisiana, crossed the finish line third at a pace of 3:34:44.
For the women, Chief Warrant Officer-3 Jamie Alonso, with the 14th Human Resources Sustainment Command out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, led the charge with a time of 4:02:01.
Sgt. 1st Class Delaney Reimann, with Third Army/USARCENT, finished the race shortly behind, coming in at 4:07:51. Sgt. Cindy Gonzalez, with the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion of Fort Gordon, Georgia, completed the daunting distance at 4:16:02.
The race was coordinated in partnership between the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), which is based at Fort Hood, the Kuwait Running Mafia running group in Camp Arifjan, and Ed Bandas, the coordinator for the Army Marathon in Central Texas.
The planning began in August prior to 13th SC(E)'s deployment to Kuwait, and expedited in January when Maj. Joseph Odorizzi with the 13th SC(E), along with the Kuwait Running Mafia began mapping out the logistics and support to make the race a success.
"It was a great opportunity to enhance the relationship between the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and Central Texas community; particularly the cities of Belton and Temple," said Odorizzi. "I am extremely grateful to Bandas and his team for their support. Also, the volunteer support we received from the Kuwait Running Mafia at Camp Arifjan was world class."
He said he was proud of everyone's effort, and hoped the Army Marathon Shadow Run will become an enduring event in Kuwait, even after the 13th SC(E) returns to Texas later this year.
Hermansen, the club president with the Kuwait Running Mafia, said the process of organizing such a large race was a new experience for him, although he had participated in many races previously.
"There is certainly a lot that goes into an event like this," he said, "we could not have done it without the immense amount of support and volunteers we had sign up to help. It's thanks to all those people that we were able to make this happen."
The entire club was thrilled to compete in this race, and push for their fastest time possible, but was also excited about helping motivate all the Soldiers who were running their first races. Every member of the club stuck around erupting in boisterous cheers until the last Soldier crossed the finish line.
Sgt. Gabriel Gastelo, with the 43rd Medical Detachment out of Fort Hood, running his first marathon finished with a respectable time of 6:05:50, but he said it wasn't his time that he was proud of; it was his perseverance and drive pushing him to finish the race that he'll remember.
"At first, I wanted to run the marathon as part of my 'bucket list,'" he said. "Now that I'm done, it's such a good feeling. I think I may want to run another marathon in the future."