Five Army wives headed to Ireland to run in marathon
Stars and Stripes March 26, 2006
DARMSTADT, Germany — Late last year, when Kathy Palmer and four other Army spouses here were missing their deployed significant others, they decided to run away from their problem.
The women began running regularly around the Darmstadt area, establishing a routine that has led them to western Ireland for the annual Fáilte Ireland International Connemara Marathon.
Palmer, Nancy Drose, Molly Rydynski, Karen Carrol and Amy Leibensberger started their training back in November for today’s 13.1-mile half-marathon. The international run also includes a full marathon and a 39.3-mile ultra marathon.
The annual event, which draws participants from around the world, caught Palmer’s eye, and her friends soon joined in.
“When my husband left, I needed something mentally to keep me motivated,” said Palmer, 38, a physical education teacher at Darmstadt Middle School. “I was trying to look for a race to do, and this one just popped up.”
Palmer said the training and marathon have been a good way for her and the other women to pass the time during their spouses’ deployments. Palmer’s husband is with the Darmstadt-based 165th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Runners in the Connemara Marathon wind their way through a variety of stunning Irish environs, from mountains and glacial lakes to the standard green pastures of Eire. The route also runs by the expansive Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, according to the race Web site.
“I figure if that scenery won’t keep me going, I don’t know what will,” Palmer said.
The wet, slate-gray skies of Ireland at this time of year might even be to Palmer’s advantage today.
“It does look rainy and cold,” she said of the forecast for the marathon. “But I’m a cold-weather runner, and I like it better.”
Distance running is not something that came natural for Palmer.
“The hardest part is finding the time to fit the runs in, and to just keep going,” she said. “It’s so easy to just stop, but once I get through the first few miles I get into my groove.”
The marathon also involves extensive pre- and post-marathon parties, something Palmer said her crew is looking forward to almost as much as the race itself.
“I’m a little nervous, and I’m also looking forward to some Guinness afterward,” she said. “I’m not going to break any speed records, but I am going to finish. I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line.”