The Bicentennial Edition of the Capital City Half Marathon Presented by KeyBank will finish in the new Columbus Commons Park in downtown Columbus, but not all runners and walkers will get to enjoy the post-race party.
Soldiers stationed in northern Afghanistan will also take part in the Capital City Half Marathon, but their run will begin and end on the grounds of Camp Mike Spann, a U.S. Army base named after the first American killed in combat in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The soldiers, though, will put in the 13.1 miles on race day just like anyone else when they participate in a “shadow run” that will have the soldiers run Cap City at the same time as the 13,000 runners and walkers in Columbus.
“Anyone who has already completed a distance race before knows that running is a social event and a great way to bring people together,” said Maj. Don Flowers, a signal officer with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “Hosting a race creates a sense of occasion that helps break up the time that we are here. But one of the primary reasons to host a shadow run at Camp Spann is that running is a great stress reliever that anyone can do.”
The Capital City Half Marathon will provide race bibs, shirts and medals to the shadow run participants.
The Camp Spann soldiers are members of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team comprised of four battalions from Ohio and two from Michigan. Washington National Guard members have joined the brigade for this deployment, also.
Several friends and family of soldiers taking part in the shadow run will participate in Cap City in Columbus.
“Participating in a shadow run also allows family members and friends to run in the same race back home, and in a sense provide a way of doing something together,” Maj. Flowers said.
The brigade�s mission is to conduct security force assistance in northern Afghanistan to build the capacity and capability of the Afghan National Police.
“We are honored that members of the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will take part in their own special Capital City Half Marathon in 2012. The commitment that these men and women make to serve our country allows the rest of us the freedom to train and participate in events like half marathons,” race director David Babner said. “We are proud that the soldiers will join us in our race this year, and we look forward to celebrating each and every one of them at our 10th anniversary event in 2013.”