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ARLINGTON, Va. — It might have been hot in Washington on Sunday, but it was nothing compared to the heat endured by the hundreds of people participating in three “shadow” Army Ten-Miler races held Sunday in Iraq.

Although summer has peaked in Iraq, “the weather is still up in the 100-degree range in the daytime,” Capt. Chris Conley said from Camp Victory, one of the locations that is holding the race.

On Friday Conley joined about a dozen soldiers from the shadow Ten-Miler locations — Camps Victory, Taji and Al Asad — to speak to Washington, D.C.-based reporters in a remote video link-up about the upcoming race and the challenges of training for it in the summer heat of Iraq.

The soldiers spoke of battling heat injuries, high winds and tough work schedules to get the required training miles in before race day.

Yet several also said that running gave them a chance to think about home and family and otherwise gives them a break from the stresses they face during long days and nights on duty.

Shadow runners were scheduled to begin gathering as early as 5:30 a.m. at race sites for mandatory pre-race safety briefs, according to Army Capt. Howard Matthews.

At that time in Iraq, “it’s still on the cool side — somewhere in the high 80s,” Matthews said. “But it warms up real fast as the sun comes up.”

The run at Camp Victory, which is among the largest U.S. operating bases in Baghdad, would be held across the entire post, participants said. Organizers could not say how many runners were expected in that race.

At Al Asad, the run was held on the airfield, which is the second largest in Iraq, according to Sgt. 1st Class Michael James. About 250 people were scheduled to participate in the Al Asad race, he said.

The troops at Taji — who are in their 13 month at the base — have been training for four to six months, five times a week, specifically for the Ten-Miler, one participant said.

About 400 people were scheduled to participate in the Taji run, including members of the South Korean and Australian military contingents, contractors and other U.S. government personnel, the teleconference participants from the base said.

More about the raceBlinded in Iraq, soldier running toward new goal

Heat, not runners, rule day at Army race

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