Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bataan and Beyond


Marilynn and I just returned this evening from our trip to New Mexico and Arizona. We also made a side trip to California, just across the state line from Yuma, Arizona. We left on March 27 and drove to Van Horn, TX, where we spent the night. The next day, we drove up to Las Cruces, New Mexico. We met up with Hans and Linda Jaeger and John Cook. We visited the veterans memorial park in Las Cruces, which includes a statue to honor those soldiers who died during the Bataan Death March during WWII. We then drove to White Sands Missile Range, east of Las Cruces, to pick up my packet for the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon. Hans, John and I ran the marathon the next day, along with 5,000 + others. It was the most difficult marathon I have run. The elevation (nearly a mile) contributed to the difficulty (I even got a nose bleed during the race). The rest of the difficulty was due to deep sand, wind and the trek up and around the mountain. Luckily, the temperature was relatively cool. I finished in 6:26:42 and placed 347 of 952 in the civilian males (light) category. Light means that we did not carry heavy backpacks. Hans, Linda, John and I had a good time hanging out in Las Cruces and checking out the local eateries.
On Monday morning, Marilynn and I drove out to Yuma, Arizona. Our daughter, Mary, and her Marine husband, Eric, and their chidren, Phillip and Emma, live in government quarters at the Yuma Marine Air Station. We stayed with them. Our youngest, son, Timothy, is a Marine and is stationed at the same base. He lives in the barracks. We spent a great week with our family there. All my runs were on the base. The temperatures got up into the 90's during the day, but cooled quickly in the evenings.
We left for the drive home yesterday. We stayed in Van Horn last night and drove back from there to Huntsville today.