Utah Soldiers Organize Baghdad Marathon

Utah Soldiers Organize Baghdad Marathon

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Jed Boal ReportingAmerican military men and women deployed in the Middle East aren't just battling an enemy, they're also battling fatigue and boredom that can come with a long assignment away from home. Some Utah soldiers came up with an unlikely competition to help make it through their mission.

Pounding the hot pavement on a 90-degree day may seem crazy to you, but for these Utah National Guardsmen it also proved a good way to blow off steam and stay focused while stationed in Baghdad.

A number of soldiers of the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion ran every day. To escape the routine they decided to run a Baghdad Marathon.

Sgt. 1st Class Jared, 142nd Military Intelligence: “To have an event to shoot for was good, to have something to train for was a good distraction and a healthy thing."

After all, a year or more in a war zone is a marathon all its own. So last September 27th, eleven runners took off at dawn in extreme heat to race the remote roads in the first Baghdad Marathon. Five ran the full 26 miles, six ran a half marathon and more than a dozen manned the water stations.

Cpt. David, 142nd Military Intelligence: “I thought several times, I'm glad I did that. I don’t know if I'll be able to get out of here with both legs. To accomplish a goal like that with friends was a good opportunity."

While the marathon obviously wasn't part of their assigned duties while they were in Baghdad, the men say it was a great opportunity to relieve some stress.

Staff Sgt. Rick, 142nd Military Intelligence: “Our physical fitness is paramount to performing our duties. This was on our own time when we're required to do our physical fitness."

As far as their mission, the men say they interacted with the Iraqis and feel they had a positive impact on many lives. They got home two months ago.

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