The email arrived on May 21st. The author, 1st Lieutenant Jeff Ruso serving with the 108th Infantry deployed in western Afghanistan, wanted to have a Boilermaker ‘shadow run’. The 108th are hometown folks, based out of the Parkway Armory right along the Boilermaker course.
This would not be the first time we had been asked to support a race on foreign shores; previously we had three races in Iraq (2008, 2009, and 2011) and one in Afghanistan (2008).
Traditionally the biggest challenge is getting race support gear to a battlefield- enter Mohawk Global Logistics who did it for free! Our friends at Seiffert Graphics printed up the Start/ Finish Line banner at no cost. We sent running bibs, finishers pins, and camo tee shirts (with the Boilermaker running guy sporting a helmet) for all the participants.
Unfortunately, due to an emergency military mission the Afghan run did not take place on Boilermaker Sunday, July 8th. Instead it was run on July 20th with the athletes enduring 100 degree temperatures and nearly 30 mile winds. There was a 15k, 5k, and 15k team relay ruck (backpack) run. Included in the run were Maries, Air Force, Navy, and Italian Army personnel.
Guess what-the troops are home!
On Saturday October 6th from 2-6 pm we will be celebrating the return of the 108th. Done in conjunction with the FX Matt Brewery Octoberfest, we will be accepting the return of the Start/ Finish Line banner that was used half a world away. We will display it proudly in our office. The soldiers who participated in the run will receive their Boilermaker pint glass and goody bag. With two bands playing, Showtime and Gridley Paige, it will be a mini-Boilermaker Post Race Party! If you know someone with a fighter jet in their garage we’d love to have a flyover!
There will be a limited amount of Boilermaker Afghanistan camouflage tee shirts as well as the Boilermaker flyover poster taken this year available for sale at The Brewery Shop.
The general public is welcome; admission is five dollars. Come celebrate a special time of year with some very special people.