FARGO, N.D. - A North Dakota Guardsman made her debut this weekend with the All-Guard Marathon Team in Pennsylvania.

Capt. Anna Wittrock completed the Philadelphia Half Marathon in a time of 1:47.23, which put her 79th out of 915 runners in her age division. She is the first North Dakota Guardsman to ever qualify for the All-Guard Marathon Team.

"I was really surprised and excited to be chosen for the National Guard Marathon team while in Kosovo," Wittrock said. "Although I haven't been able to train as hard as I would've liked due to a hamstring injury, I didn't want to miss out on the experience in Philadelphia, which has been amazing."

The All-Guard Marathon Team encompasses some of the best distance runners in the entire Army National Guard. Wittrock, of Moorhead, Minn., qualified for the team in a satellite version of the National Guard Marathon in Kosovo on May 2. Wittrock was deployed there as part of NATO peacekeeping forces, and Soldiers from across the world ran the marathon at Camp Bondsteel in conjunction with the annual marathon in Lincoln, Neb. Wittrock placed fifth overall and first among all women competitors on the challenging 26.2-mile course there with a time of 4:13.38.

"She showcases the best of our Soldiers as an incredible athlete, awesome leader, wonderful mother of two boys and loving wife to her husband, Cody. We are proud that she has this unique opportunity to represent the state of North Dakota and the National Guard at the Philadelphia Half Marathon," said Lt. Col. Dave Skalicky, of Bismarck, who serves as the competitive sports manager for the North Dakota National Guard in addition to his full-time position as the G-3 plans and operations specialist.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 75 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that's more than four times the national average.

Photos: High-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/ndguard. Navigate to the photo set titled "All-Guard Marathon Team."