Nearly 600 run shadow Boston Marathon in Afghanistan
By GORDON BLOCK | Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. | Published: April 19, 2014
A Department of State civilian took first place Friday in a shadow Boston Marathon organized by Fort Drum soldiers at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
Josh Peterson finished the race with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes. Capt. Daniella Mestyanek, of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, was the top women’s finisher with a time of 3 hours, 12 minutes.
About 600 military and civilian personnel, including several Fort Drum soldiers, participated in the race. This year’s race was organized by a pair of 10th Mountain Division soldiers, Capt. Lukasz Willenberg and Maj. Roberto Sanchez. Capt. Willenberg, a chaplain who ran last year’s Boston Marathon, was the second place men’s finisher.
The race received the full support of the Boston Athletic Association, which puts on the 26.2-mile Boston race to be held Monday this year. The entrants in Afghanistan received the same T-shirts, bibs and finishers’ medals as those running stateside, and ran by official start and finish banners.
The officially endorsed race has been held multiple times since 2005, in multiple countries and even on a ship at sea. With the looming deadline to close major American military operations in Afghanistan at the end of the year, Friday’s shadow Boston Marathon may be the last one officially organized in Afghanistan.