By Spc. John Onuoha, 6-8 CAV., 2IBCT UPAR
YAVORIV, Ukraine - Soldiers of 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division participated in the Ukraine Grand-Prix L'viv Half Marathon here, November 6.
The event consisted of four different races: 2 kilometers, 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers and the 21 kilometer half marathon. The Mustangs took part in the 10 and 21 kilometer events along with their counterparts from the Ukrainian army.
"It was my first time doing a half marathon," said 2nd Lt. Asher Glasgow, a platoon leader with 6-8 CAV. "It was a great experience and I got a chance to get a good view of the scenery around the city."
Soldiers explained the importance of their involvement in the marathon. They even noted how it played a role in building a good relationship, not only with the Ukrainian Soldiers but the local community as well.
"I think it is important because it shows that the United States Army is showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people," said Spc. Karl Schmiederer, an infantryman with 6-8 CAV said. "It shows that we are invested in this country."
Capt. Christopher Mendham, the commander of Troop A, 6-8 CAV said the Mustangs have been in Ukraine for almost six months and their participation in the marathon is a way of showing and building their bond with the Ukrainians. "The run is a perfect place to do that, where you get to struggle together to reach a common goal," he said.
L'viv is a challenging city for a half marathon because it has a lot of steep hills and cobblestone streets. Soldiers talked about the challenges they faced during the run and how their mindset played a big role in overcoming those challenges.
"The biggest challenge was just as you get past the halfway point and you have about maybe six to seven miles left, then you realize it is more of a mind thing more than a physical thing," Glasgow said. "So if you just pace yourself and know that your end-state is to finish the race, I think anyone should be fine."
According to Schmiederer, overall it was a great experience and opportunity to work with the Ukrainians. The Soldiers look forward to participating in more events like this in Ukraine.
6-8 CAV is deployed in support of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine whose mission focuses on building a sustainable and enduring training capacity and capability within the Ukrainian land forces.