In the early morning hours more than 700 registered runners took off in the dark from the Victory Stage to complete the first Crim Shadow run from Baghdad, Aug. 22.
"It was a goal I wanted to obtain for myself," Maj. Bridgette Simmons, signal communications operations, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, said. "This is my first 10 mile race. I was not going to quit. It was exciting, challenging and fun, but I'm so glad it's over," she said and laughed. "I'm definitely inspired. I'm planning on running the next half marathon."
After 32 years the Crim 10-miler is still a popular run occurring every fourth Saturday of August in Flint, Mich. This year Servicemembers at Camp Victory, Baghdad held the event around the lakes and winding roads available on the camp.
The Crim is named after Bobby Crim, the founder of the third largest 10 mile race in the nation. When he was invited to watch the Special Olympics in 1976 he was inspired by the happy athletes and decided to start a road race to raise funds. The Crim has raised more than $2 million for Flint area charities since 1977.
The race had 806 runners registered for the event. The fastest male was Capt. Brian Ackerson finishing at 1:04:05. The fastest female was Chief Warrant Officer Olga Elliott finishing at 1:09:53.
"It's awesome to be doing this in Iraq," Spc. Richard Pushies, 39th Military Police, said. "If you're a runner in Michigan then you are always asked if you've run the Crim. I've never done it before, but I'm planning to do it when I get home."
Many of the runners trained in preparation for the event.
"I've been running three to five days a week, cross training and stretch training," Capt. Kristin Wehle, lead instructor, Joint Composite Squadron, said. "I'm running to celebrate my 30th birthday and prove that I can still run even though I'm getting older."
Spc. Sean Poole did not train and decided to run just a few hours before the beginning of the event.
"I was supposed to fly out on leave last night," Poole, deputy commanding general of operations protective service detail, MNC-I, said. "My sergeant knocked on my door at 10:30 P.M. and asked me if I would run so I said yes. While I was running I just wanted it to end, but in the end it was motivational, and I was glad I did it."
While some were motivated by the challenge others were excited for different reasons.
"I was just thinking I better get a t-shirt," Spc. Richard Tran, bridge crewmember, 401st Engineer, Striker, said. "I knew that realistically the only people that get a medium are the first 100 people. I knew I had to keep running."
Whether it was to celebrate a birthday or to receive a free t-shirt, runners were excited to cross the finish line and complete the 10 miles before many others even woke up.