FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jack Fleming
B.A.A. Supports U.S. Troops.
"Boston Marathon in Iraq" to be held on Saturday, April 14.
Also, servicemen in Kosovo will run 26.2-miles to commemorate Patriots'
Day with a Boston Marathon of their own.
Boston, Mass. - For the third consecutive year, coalition forces will trade
in their combat boots for running shoes to participate in the "Boston
Marathon in Iraq" to be held at the Tallil Air Base on Saturday, April 14.
Last year's race attracted close to 600 runners who circled the base before
sunrise to escape the heat. The race is organized by Army Cpt. Andrew
Heymann and Cpt. Tom Tolman, a past Boston Marathon runner. The Boston
Athletic Association - organizer of the Boston Marathon - along with
several of its sponsors has provided official bib numbers, finisher's
medals, Patriots' Day commemorative pins, official finisher's certificates,
olive wreaths for the winners, trophies for the top finishers, participant
t-shirts, water bottles, and race program publications. Over the last three
years, the Iraq/Boston Marathon has become a welcome diversion and morale
boost for deployed soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Last year's Boston Marathon in Iraq winner, Navy Ltd. Cmdr. Matt Simms,
will run the 111th Boston Marathon from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday,
April 16, and will be among the 23,800 official entrants. Since crossing
the finish line first in 2:53:35 on Tallil Air Base last April, he has
completed his one year mobilization in Iraq, and returned to his hometown
of Langley, Washington. Simms is a veteran marathoner.
For the first time, coalition forces in Kosovo will run a marathon - in
connection and in commemoration of Patriots' Day and the Boston Marathon -
at Camp Bondsteel. The Kosovo/Boston Marathon will start to coincide with
the Hopkinton-to-Boston race. It will be 4:00 p.m. in Kosovo when almost 30
committed runners head out on their base, and 10 a.m. (Eastern Time) in
Hopkinton, Mass. when the gun fires signaling the start for the elite men
and first wave of runners. Headed by Army Maj. John McLees, Sgt. Maj. Paul
Ronan, and Staff Sgt. Richard Fortuna, all avid runners, the race will
consists of four laps around the base including a steep hill renamed
Heartbreak Hill for the day. Many servicemen stationed in Kosovo are on
deployment from the Massachusetts National Guard. The Boston Athletic
Association supplied a "care package" to recognize the event. The race will
also include the singing of the National Anthem and a scheduled flyover of
two Blackhawk helicopters.