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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon - Special Runners

Some of the TAPS runners include:

Sixteen-year-old Katrina Wert, lost her father, US Marine Corps Master Sergeant Michael Wert, when he drowned while saving two boys at a North Carolina beach. Katrina helped her father in the water rescue, hauling the boogie board for the two boys who nearly drowned. Master Sergeant Wert was an intelligence chief for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point and had served in Operation Desert Storm and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following his death, Katrina, an avid cross country runner, gave up her sport. But after hearing about the TAPS team in the Marine Corps Marathon, she decided to run to honor the memory of her father. Her younger brother, Michael, age 8, will honor their dad in the Healthy Kids Fun Run.

Jaime Boris will run the Marine Corps Marathon this year only weeks before the first anniversary of her husband's death in Afghanistan. US Army Captain David Boris, was killed with his gunner, Sgt. Adrian Hike, when an IED exploded on November 12, 2007.. Jaime wrote: "I am running to honor Dave and Adrian and to fulfill the plan that Dave and I had to run the Marine Corps Marathon together. Dave was not only my husband and my best friend; he was also my favorite running partner. I ran my first marathon, the 2004 Marine Corps Marathon, while he was deployed to Iraq. After he returned, we trained for and ran two marathons together (Berlin 2005 and Vienna 2006) and planned to run the MCM together after we moved back to the US from Germany. This October 26th I know he will be with me for all 26.2 miles as our friends and I run for TAPS in his honor."

When Renny Parker ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006 for the very first time, it was only months after the death of his son, US Marine Corps Sergeant Eli Parker, who was killed while conducting combat operations in Iraq. Renny ran again in 2007, and now has recruited nine of Eli's friends and family members to run with him. His wife Donna is also running the 10K at the Marine Corps Marathon this year. Renny wrote, "I live in central New York and I'm running the marathon in memory of my son, Marine Sgt. Elisha Parker, who was killed in Iraq on May 4, 2006. I also run and remember those close to Eli who gave their lives in Iraq: Cpl. Tyler Fey, LCpl. Robert Moscillo, Cp. Stephen Bixler, and others."

Xiomara Hall's husband left for Iraq in February 2008, leaving her at home with their four children. Then in March she received the knock on the door that every military family dreads, and found out that the love of her life, US Marine Corps Lt. Col. William G. Hall, had been killed in combat operations. Xiomara will run her first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon and has organized an entire team of friends and family members to run alongside her for TAPS as Team Semper Fi. Their daughter, Tatianna, age 7, will run the Healthy Kids Fun Run in memory of her dad.

Mark Hurst (bib #25,226) is running in memory of Captain Eric "Boot" Das, who was killed in action in 2003 while flying an F15-E over Iraq. Hurst was part of the ground team send to recover his remains from the failed mission. He and his family have become close with Das' widow, Captain Nicole Das. During a deployment in Afghanistan in May 2004, Hurst was wounded in action and would later lose an eye.

Amanda Dodson of Anchorage, Alaska, will run the Marine Corps Marathon with the helping words of her father and running partner, Gary Dodson, alongside. They're running in memory of Amanda's fiancé, US Army Corporal Jason Corbett, who died in Karmah, Iraq on January 15, 2007 while attempting to help a foot patrol from his platoon under enemy fire. Amanda writes, "Jason was an active athlete and outdoorsman. As much as Jason enjoyed running, participating in this marathon is a wonderful way to honor him." On her run, she will carry a photo he gave her before deploying.

The TAPS "Run and Remember" team began with one runner. In 1996, Marie Campbell lost her husband, US Air Force Sergeant Dee "Soup" Campbell, when a terrorist truck bomb exploded at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and took the lives of 19 air men. "TAPS helped me so much in those early years, and I ran the Marine Corps Marathon as part of my own healing," said Marie Campbell.

"Now I do this to give back to others who need grief and recovery support, so TAPS can continue to support the many surviving families who've lost someone serving in the military and are walking the road I once walked down," said Campbell. Today, Campbell is the director of the TAPS "Run and Remember" team, and organizes a 3-day event for the TAPS team. She'll be running her 8th marathon this year.

*I will be cross-posting these everywhere you usually find me including NewsBlaze here.;)*