By Ms. Julie Lucas (IMCOM)November 30, 2012
VICENZA, Italy- The streets of Vicenza have been abused the past few months by Vicenza military community marathon runners training. In the past month, more than 10 runners have entered races and brought back medals in three different countries.
Pamela Markley, an Outdoor Recreation aide finished first among women at the Run to the Tower in Pisa Oct. 8 with a time of 45 minutes, 27 seconds, just a minute after the male winner. She then ran in her sixth marathon in Venice Oct. 27 and finished as the eighth woman out of 978 with a time of 3 hours, 1 minute and 33 seconds.
"Venice was flooded and the wind was terrible that day," Markley said. "I was about 10 minutes off my time." She finished 168th out of 5,934 runners. Markley's husband is currently deployed with 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and she says she is using him as her inspiration.
A Soldier from Caserma Ederle, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Carder, U.S. Army Africa, also ran in three marathons in the past year including Venice, Rome and Athens. During the Athens marathon, he ran along with his wife Beth while she completed her first marathon. Carder said he followed a great training plan and has marathons in Africa, Spain and Italy on the horizon.
Beth Carder had it in her mind after she completed the Athens marathon she would stick to shorter races, but after a few days of soreness after the race went away, she is now planning on running in the Venice marathon, with the Verona Romeo and Juliet half marathon and Jesolo's Moonlight half before.
Another USARAF Soldier, Maj. William Navarro completed his first marathon in Europe in Verona and also ran in the Athens marathon.
"I trained well, but in Athens the heat became a factor on performance," Navarro said. He plans on running the Rome marathon in March and doing two in April in Paris and Madrid. Navarro had planned on running the New York marathon, but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy that had hit the area.
Two spouses who have trained together traveled to Athens to run in the original marathon. When asked what her motivation was, fitness instructor Crystal Absher responded, "I wanted the shirt." Her running partner Shannon Sterling, Army Community Services contractor, said she was running to prove to herself she could do it.
"I want to show my kids the importance of fitness," Sterling said. Both women agree for them it's not about the time on the clock, but about crossing the finish line. Their advice for those interested in running would be to make longer runs and more hills. The two will be running in a marathon in Trieste in the spring.
A few runners made a special trip across the Atlantic Ocean to take part in the Marine Corps marathon. Army Community Service relocation readiness manager Julia Sibilla's daughter Sasha is currently in Navy ROTC at the University of Virginia and chose this race to run her twentieth. Sibilla has a milestone birthday this year and in honor of it, she will be running in the Ultrabericus 62-kilometer run in March.
Another ACS employee, school liaison officer Norie McCall, joined the Sibillas in the Marine Corp race. McCall's first marathon was the Chicago marathon in 2009 and has finished five marathons and numerous half marathons. She hopes to qualify with her daughter to run in the Boston marathon.
A local national employee made the trip to run in the marathon in Washington, D.C. Paola Preto Martini, an employee of the Judge Advocate General's Office, has completed seven marathons in the last two years. Due to an extra hot summer, she says she missed running as many miles as needed, but she did feel very proud to have the medal placed around her neck by a Marine after finishing the marathon. Preto Martini runs with a local Italian running club called "Atletica Vicentina." She has marathons in March and April to train for.
A running legend is working at Vicenza Middle School as a nurse and cross country and track coach. Kathy Thomas didn't start running until she was 38 and recently won second place in her age category at the Verona marathon, despite having a disappointing race. She will be looking at running for the ninth time in March in Rome and trying to help a friend set a personal record during the run. Thomas not only is a runner but has also competed in numerous triathlons and Ironman competitions. She is currently training for the Medigames in Zagreb, Croatia, which is open to people in the medical field all over the world and includes running, cycling and swimming. She is also eyeing a half Ironman in Switzerland in June.