FORT BRAGG, N.C. – At the resounding blast of a howitzer, 955 half-marathon runners and 886 5K runners raced across Fort Bragg on March 25 for the first time since the start of the pandemic and for the last time before the installation redesignates to Fort Liberty on June 2.
In an inspiring turn of events, both of this year’s races final finishers featured members of the same Family from Columbia, South Carolina.
Linda Dhunjishah, at 79-years old, was the final finisher for the 5K with a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 56 seconds, and her husband, Mike Dhunjishah, at 78-years old, was the final finisher for the half marathon with a time of four hours, 11 minutes and 12 seconds. They were both supported by their two grandsons who crossed the finish line with them.
Mike Dhunjishah is a veteran who served at Fort Bragg and spent a tour in Vietnam from 1964-1965. He has been participating in this event since 2014.
Mike credits the Fort Bragg Military Police for supporting him through the last mile. In a show of support, they played “Blood on the Risers” at his request for motivation and stayed with him until he crossed the finish line.
The pair embraced at the end of the half marathon, bringing a touching conclusion to an amazing event.
Racers and spectators enjoyed post-race activities including live entertainment from the 82nd Airborne Division Rock Band, military equipment displays, bounce houses, cool beverages, and a food truck.
“We did the All American before, the last one,” said Alex Rodriguez a military child and 5K participant. “When we heard it was coming back around, we wanted to do it again because our Family likes to run. It was good coming out here.”
In addition to the post-race activities, those who ran the half marathon were once again able to pay their respects to fallen Soldiers while running through the Memorial Mile. This year the Memorial Mile was managed by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and honored 36 Fort Bragg Soldiers with name placards and over 1,000 United States flags.
“The Memorial Mile is a very special aspect of the All American Races, and we wanted to make sure it continued even when the previous support organization no longer could,” explained Jennifer Fayson, DFMWR special event coordinator. “Organizing this portion of the race was new for our team and required approvals from the surviving Family members.”
DFMWR is hopeful they will get additional approvals from Gold Star Families and will be able to grow the Memorial Mile beyond 36 Soldiers for next year’s races.
Awards were given to the top three male and female finishers for both races, and to the top male, female and coed teams.
All American Half Marathon 2023 Results:
• 1st Place Men’s Half Marathon: Chad Ware – One hour, 17 minutes and 29 seconds
• 2nd Place Men’s Half Marathon: Ryan Speray – One hour, 19 minutes and four seconds
• 3rd Place Men’s Half Marathon: David Chambers – One hour, 22 minutes and 34 seconds
• 1st Place Women’s Half Marathon: Jazmin Chavez – One hour, 32 minutes and 22 seconds
• 2nd Place Women’s Half Marathon: Danielle Kays – One hour, 34 minutes and 53 seconds
• 3rd Place Women’s Half Marathon: Feleisha Wright – One hour, 35 minutes and 32 seconds
• 1st Place Coed’s Half Marathon Team: Shadow Warriors
• 1st Place Men’s Half Marathon Team: Globo Gym
All American 5K 2023 Results:
• 1st Place Men’s 5K: Bradly Garcia – 17 minutes and 34 seconds
• 2nd Place Men’s 5K: Perry Sweet – 17 minutes and 36 seconds
• 3rd Place Men’s 5K: John De La Chapelle – 18 minutes and 57 seconds
• 1st Place Women’s 5K: Yarency Murillo – 19 minutes and 36 seconds
• 2nd Place Women’s 5K: Sophia Hernandez – 20 minutes and 9 seconds
• 3rd Place Women’s 5K: Isabella Carattini – 21 minutes and 25 seconds
• 1st Place Coed’s 5K Team: Wolf Pack
• 1st Place Men’s 5K Team: The Wagoneers
The results for both the half marathon and the 5K are available at https://www.areep.com/results/live/index.php?ID=126.