Barnes Center NCO runs fifth military marathon

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Facing his fifth military marathon with great anticipation of a "fun run," Tech Sgt. James Tetrault boarded an airplane Saturday to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 26.2-mile U.S. Marines Corps Marathon held the next day.

The sergeant, an instructional systems designer in educational technology for the Barnes Center, returned to Maxwell Monday after his top-third shoawing with a time of four hours and 21 minutes. He said more than 30,000 people began the marathon, but only 18,261finished. Before leaving last week, he was not nervous about the run because he really just wanted to finish in one piece.

"I may not have all my toenails when I come across the finish line, but I do want to have all my limbs," Sergeant Tetrault said.

He has added the Marine marathon to his completion the Air Force, Army, Navy and Bataan Death March marathons but said this will be his last.

"I've enjoyed running them all, but I really don't have the time to spend on them anymore," Sergeant Tetrault said following his return. "[Monday], my marathon shoes get retired. My family has been very supportive of my running efforts, but I owe my wife and children some time too. Besides, getting up a 4:30 in the morning to train gets old."

He said the training alone begins months before the race, in this case he began in May with "long-runs" that are usually nine miles. He then graduates to 24-mile runs. The week before this marathon the sergeant made two four-mile runs and one two-mile run in final preparation for the event.

Sergeant Tetrault said he originally started running to lose weight, but when he deployed to Kuwait during the Gulf War he encountered longer runs that got him interested in marathons. His best run was the Air Force Marathon with a time of three hours and 37 minutes.

He said as the Marine run drew near, he found himself looking forward to running past all the monuments in the governmental district of Washington.

"This was a phenomenal run," Sergeant Tetrault said. "Running through the heart of Washington D.C., was incredible. Also, there were a large number of wounded Marines in the marathon, many doing the run in wheelchairs. All I can say about that is it was inspiring."