Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon: Running in Brandon's Honor

Today's blog is written by Anne, a member of Team Hope For The Warriors® who just completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  She shares why she joined the Team and what the marathon meant to her.
When I started running, I never thought that I would be a marathon finisher less than two years later. Training for and running a marathon has been one of the greatest times of my life and Hope For The Warriors® played a huge part in the experience.
In June of 2010 my cousin, Marine Sgt. Brandon Bury, was killed in Afghanistan while on his third combat deployment. His death came as a shock to our family who was blessed to see him for the last time just weeks before.
I became aware of Hope For The Warriors® the at the 2012 Kingwood Fallen Heroes Golf Tournament held in Brandon’s hometown of Kingwood, TX. I had started running and was training for a half-marathon. I remember going out on a training run from the hotel in Kingwood and on the same streets where Brandon grew up. From then on I have always seen Brandon as an inspiration for my running.
By the spring of 2013, I had run five half-marathons and it was time to take the step up to a full marathon. Running has been such a blessing in my life and I wanted to use it as a way to give back. I wanted to run in honor of Brandon. It had to be the Marine Corps Marathon and I had to use it as a way to help wounded service members and families of the fallen. After the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15th I decided to face my fears and I emailed Hope For The Warriors® just a few days later to inquire about running as a part of Team Hope For The Warriors®.  
For 18 weeks I trained through the summer in preparation for the race, motivated by the chance to use it as a way to bring awareness to the Hope For The Warriors® mission of restoring self, family and hope. People responded with overwhelming support of my running and my choice to fundraise for such a great charity. As a part of Team Hope For The Warriors®, I had access to tools and information that helped me become the top fundraiser for the event and that kept me motivated during my training. I made it to the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon with the feeling that this whole experience was truly more than a race.
Whenever I ran across another Team Hope For The Warriors® runner along the course it was awesome to share words of encouragement and a high-five. I had a Team member come from behind me saying he saw my jersey and he pushed until he caught up with me. Even though we hadn’t all met each other, let alone trained together, it truly felt like we were part of a team.
On October 27, 2013 I crossed the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon at the Marine Corps War Memorial wearing a Team Hope For The Warriors® jersey and Brandon’s name pinned to my back.

During the race, a Marine also running stopped me and told me he knew Brandon and was there with him in Afghanistan the day he died. This was something so special and my family and I will cherish this connection forever. I was truly in the right place at the right time.
It was because of Team Hope For The Warriors® I had the opportunity to run the Marine Corps Marathon and experience all these great things. Long after crossing the finish line, I continue to be inspired by the events of that race day, my Hope For The Warriors® teammates, and the mission of restoring self, family, and hope to service members and their families.
Learn more about Hope For The Warriors® and our programs

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