By Mark Iacampo, HohenfelsNovember 29, 2011
HOHENFELS, Germany (Nov. 29, 2011) -- For the third year in a row, members of the Hohenfels Military Community provided the countdown via video to the start of the Philadelphia Marathon held there Nov. 20.
The video was filmed at the start of the U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Philly Marathon First Wave race sponsored in part by the American 300 Warrior Tours, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the city of Philadelphia.
"First wave racing is an important component to the overall resiliency program that American 300 warrior tours has going on," said founder Robbie Powers, former Olympic athlete and coach, and official announcer for the Philadelphia Marathon.
"There's a lot of first wave races that take place," said Powers, "But this event is incredibly important to us because we developed a relationship with Mayor (Michael) Nutter and the city of Philadelphia that allows us to have this event showcased in front of a quarter million people."
"And then (all those) people show up and embrace the fact that this race took place here today. They're hearing these shout outs, they're seeing these images on the big screens. Everybody in Philly knows Hohenfels, they just don't necessarily know where it is," Powers said.
In a recorded message played for the gathered first wave race participants, Nutter said his city was honored to have the Philadelphia Marathon Namesake 5K race take place as the anchor event of the Warrior Tours circuit.
"We're proud of the connection that this makes between Philadelphia -- the birthplace of American freedom -- and the service men and service women who continue to sacrifice so much to protect and preserve that freedom," said Nutter. "This kind of shared sportsmanship will bridge the distance between Philadelphia and Hohenfels until you get back to the states in safety and good health."
HMC members turned out by the hundreds for the Nov. 9 race, undeterred by the cold or the heavy fog. Soldiers, civilians, children, and even pets lined up to record the countdown that would be used to start the Philadelphia Marathon.
"We wanted this to be a family event," said Jamie Myers, who was running with husband Sgt. Scott Myers and sons Gabriel and Zach.
Maj. Luke Mercier, with the Joint Multinational Readiness Center's Falcon's Aviation Support, team took first place for the second year in a row, finishing this year with a time of 19:06. Sgt. 1st Class Karin Kasupski, an Army National Guard member who was here with her unit training before deployment to Kosovo, took first place in the women's division with a time of 22:55.
Mercier said it was exciting to be part of a race that was linked to such a big event back in the states.
"To be the kick off for the marathon, and to have all the people supporting us back in the states really makes it cool. Maybe I'll have to run the Philadelphia Marathon one day just because of this race," said Mercier.