Today I picked up my packet for the Army Ten Miler. I always feel this incredible sense of anticipation before an event (even one like this where my goal is just to finish, not to finish in the top ten). The atmosphere at the ATM and Marine Corps Marathon expos is emotional to me because you encounter so many servicemen and women. They are all so kind and helpful, and all I can think of is how grateful I am for their service.
The Army Ten Miler has an entirely different feel for me than any other race I have participated in. I am running in memory of Lance Corporal Julian Brennan. Julian was much younger than me, but we went to school with his siblings and his mother was our art teacher. Needless to say, their family was an integral part of our school experience.
Julian joined the Marines after being inspired by his grandfather's service in World War II. I run on Sunday to honor his service and his sacrifice, and feel honored that his mother Thya would allow me to run for him. Despite having not seen Julian in over ten years, I find myself feeling on the verge of being very emotional about this experience. I remember Julian as a young boy who always had a big grin on his face. He grew into a talented actor and triathlete, loving husband, and skilled Marine. I will be wearing Julian's name and picture on my jersey, and hope to do his memory justice.