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Shadow Race Brings Running Brothers Together at Last
There are three Smock brothers - Patrick, David and Michael. They all are
doctors with busy schedules, living in different cities, so it is difficult
for them to find an opportunity to share their passion for running
marathons with each other by being at the same race at the same time.
Yet the three finally were set to accomplish that goal for the first time
at the 2011 ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon on January 30 when the
U.S. Army threw a wrinkle into their plans.
Patrick Smock is the Orthopedic surgeon attached to the 745th Forward
Surgical Team that is normally based at Fort Hood, Tx. His unit was
recently deployed to Afghanistan, so he had to cancel plans to come to
Miami and meet up with his brothers.
"We were a little disappointed," Michael Smock said. "The idea of the three
of us running a marathon together was something we had talked about for a
Patrick, determined to complete his training and share the Miami experience
with his brothers, came up with the idea of a Shadow Race. He will be
running the 26.2 miles on his base at a classified location in Afghanistan
a few hours before Michael and David navigate through the streets of Miami,
Miami Beach and Coconut Grove. Due to the time differences, the race in
Afghanistan will actually begin about 12 hours prior to the actual start of
the Miami Marathon on Biscayne Blvd.
The Shadow race on the other side of the world will be more than your
typical run around an Army base. Patrick, 32, has recruited more than 100
soldiers and other military personnel to participate alongside him. He also
contacted ING Miami Marathon event organizers and arranged for a package of
t-shirts, promotional items, medals and racing bibs to be sent to
He organized all of the logistics on the base. There is a paved road that
runs around the base airstrip which they have measured as a 3.5 mile loop.
The course has been mapped out so that the half and full marathons will end
at the base flagpole, which is where the entry point to the main portion of
the race is located (full marathon will be about 7.5 laps, half will be
just under 4 laps).
They have arranged four water points/aid stations along the course so there
will be help available every mile. The assistance of 12 medics and one
trauma nurse has been enlisted to serve as medical staff for the race. The
base MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) office has a clock for timing
the event and will be helping to provide water and Gatorade for the aid
stations. They are also arranging to have energy gels and bars available
A PA system will be set up at the finish line to provide music and
entertainment for the runners and supporters at the event.
"We really hope to make this as well organized as any event you would go to
back in the states," Patrick Smock said via email. "I am grateful to many
volunteers here for helping to make it that way. I think we will have over
100 runners, which really is a large number and is probably more
participants that any other event has attracted since I've been here."
"As soon as our race is over in Miami, we will be sending these American
heroes their 2011 shirts and medals," said David Scott, race director for
the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. "It is incredible what they are
doing serving our country overseas and even more amazing that they will
'run' with our 20,000 plus runners. We can't wait to see their times
posted alongside ours."
Michael, 42, lives in St. Louis and works at St. Johns Mercy Medical
Center. While initially disappointed that Patrick couldn't join him in
Miami, he has become impressed with what his brother has been able to pull
together in Afghanistan.
"I thought it was cool when he said he was going to train along with us and
we would talk about our running stories by Skype and email," Michael Smock
said. "Then he said he was going to train the full distance and run the
marathon distance on the same day. And now he has recruited over 100 people
on his base to run with him. That's pretty amazing. Even though he won't be
with us in Miami he will be with us the whole time. I am sure shortly
thereafter we will hook up by Skype and share the experiences."
Michael expects to complete the marathon in about 4 1/2 hours.
"Patrick has done way better training than the two of us," Michael said of
him and David. "I wouldn't be surprised if he does somewhere around three
hours and 45 minutes."
David Smock, 28, lives in Kansas City and is completing his Internal
Medicine Residency at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He hopes to
finish the marathon in under four hours.
"We are all very grateful that the Marathon is allowing the shadowing of
the event," David said. "We were hoping to do a big race together. It would
be all that much better if it happened that way, but this will be fun for
us anyway. We have been planning events for years but have never been able
to have time off at the same time."
Patrick Smock hopes to be headed home to Texas a few days after the
Marathon race and looks forward to again trying to coordinate a trip to a
race with his brothers.
"Even though I'm missing this opportunity to be with them, I'm sure we'll
make time in the future to do several events together," Patrick said. "We
are all very active and like to travel and working vacation into some sort
of running/biking event has always intrigued us.
"I don't know if we will run Miami together in the future... that will most
likely depend on how our schedules work out. But we are already tentatively
planning to sign up this summer for the Ironman triathlon in Lake Placid in
2012. Hopefully no deployments interfere with those plans. I don't think I
could find a place to swim in Iraq or Afghanistan!"
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