Half-marathoners run in circles to complete course at Kabul compound
May 13, 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan — For those American servicemembers and civilians here who are restricted to the U.S. Embassy and NATO compounds, running a lot of miles means they have to run in circles — and that’s what many did Friday morning.
About 100 runners, mostly from the embassy and the NATO mission, participated in the Marine Corps Historic Half–Forward, a half marathon held two days before the main event in Fredricksburg, Va., on Sunday. The 13.1-mile course took the runners on a circuitous, six-lap route through both compounds.
Maria Amaya, an Army veteran who finished first among the women, said it was among the shortest runs she’s done. She’s an ultramarathoner, she said.
“Normally, I don’t run anything shorter than a marathon because it’s much too fast,” she said. As to how she trains for the events, Amaya said, “you do lots and lots of laps.”
Army Maj. John Wingeart finished first among the men. He said he doesn’t normally run more than a few miles, but does CrossFit five times a week and “a lot of spinning, too.” He didn’t run to win, he said, but for the camaraderie.
“It’s always good to get out and run with everybody,” he said.
First-time half-marathoner Mike Aimsworth, a British air force wing commander, said he was running, in a sense, with a Marine he served with on his first tour in Afghanistan more than six years ago. That Marine, who goes by the name “Ziggy,” wasn’t in Kabul, but was slated to run the course in Virginia.
U.S. Ambassador P. Michael McKinley said such events “bring both sides” of the mission together, and help build community.
Amaya, who also organized the run and plotted the course, said the logistics of getting everyone together and pulling off the event was harder than running. But, she’s already working on the next event, called the Kabul Fitness Festival, which is slated for Memorial Day weekend.
It will feature 12 athletic competitions, including 5- and 10-kilometer (3- and 6-mile) runs, half and full marathons, and a 50-kilometer (31-mile) run, she said.