Half Marathon Rocks the Beach

More than 17,000 runner crossed the finish line Sunday on the Virginia Beach boardwalk for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, including members of the Fort Lee 10-Miler Team.

The annual race brought elite runners from around the world to compete. Troops deployed overseas, in Iraq, Kosovo and Guantanamo Bay to name a few, participated in their own version of the 13.1-mile foot race in satellite races.

Capt. Michael Pratt, Staff Judge Advocate’s Office, said it was unique to run in the ‘rock ‘n’ roll environment, as local bands performed at various points along the run route.

“This race does a good job of providing entertainment along the race course,” said Pratt, who also ran the half marathon in 2005. “It helps distract you from the fact that you’re running 13 miles.”

Pratt runs for fun, exercise and the challenge.

“I’m not a fast runner, never have been,” said Pratt, currently training with the post 10-Miler team. “When I started running a few years ago, it was strictly for exercise. Like most people, I didn’t enjoy it at first. Now I look forward to running in races – especially finishing them.”

Warrant Officer 1 Patrick Greenwood, 49th Quartermaster Group, ran the half marathon to gain some race experience prior to his first time competing in the Army 10-Miler in October. He also wanted to run this event because of the charities it supports.

“Earlier this year, my cousin was diagnosed with myeloma, a form of blood cancer,” said Greenwood. “Not being able to help her fight this battle has been very frustrating for me. Running in this event has enabled me to help my cousin and others by raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.”

More than 500 fundraising participants, representing charity training programs, raised more than $1.3 million through the half marathon.