Delta runners take first in marathon

  • Published
  • By Army Spc. Allison Churchill
  • Multi-National Division-Southeast Public Affairs
Two of four runners here each won first place for their gender in the Boston Marathon-Iraq April 18 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.

Maj. Harland Peelle was the first male to cross the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 31 seconds, while Army Maj. Deydre Teyhen was the first female to finish with a time of 3:30:31.

Both Peelle and Teyhen said they were surprised when they realized how well they were doing.

"At the start, someone took off a bit faster than I had wanted, so I tried my best to stay in striking distance and no one behind me was pushing," said Peelle, team leader of the FOB Delta Defense Contract Management Agency.

The leader picked up the pace toward the end of the first lap and Peelle said he couldn't find him as he passed the half-way point. Soon thereafter, a volunteer told Peelle that the other runner was only competing in the half-marathon, and that Peelle was in the lead.

"This was a great feeling and I was able to press my pace to a 2:54:31 finish, a new personal record for me," said Peelle, of Leesburg, Va.

Peelle said his spirit was amplified when he heard about Teyhen, who had a similar experience taking the lead.

"I was just running and all of a sudden there was a vehicle trailing me," said Teyhen, officer-in-charge of 10th Combat Support Hospital personnel at FOB Delta. Teyhen said she shaved 11 minutes off her previous personal best time.

Teyhen had another teammate running with her a continent away: her husband.  Col. John Teyhen ran the marathon in Boston.

The couple has been on a quest to run a marathon in all 50 states and then the seven continents, as well as qualifying for the Boston Marathon, Teyhen said. They both qualified for the 2009 event, but in November she received her deployment orders.

"So I was very excited to find out that the Boston Athletic Association sponsors a version of the Boston Marathon in Iraq," Teyhen said. She said her husband had an injured heel, but it held up long enough for him to finish the race.

In addition to running "together," the Teyhens were able to raise money for "Home for our Troops" which builds houses for injured Soldiers.

Another teammate ran with a loved one in mind.

Capt. Ciro De la Vega, a trainer with the Coalition Air Force Training Team, said he carried a rock to remind him of his oldest daughter, Paige, who is a long-distance runner for her high school in Ramstein, Germany.

"We raced a 5k against each other at the 2007 European cross-country regionals. We had plans to race at the 2008 regional's but I deployed and we didn't get to," said De la Vega, originally from Manhattan, Kan.

De la Vega said he also beat his two goals: first, to just finish the race, and second, to finish in under four hours. He beat his goal by six minutes.

The fourth member of the FOB Delta team also achieved his personal goals.

"My motivation was simply to qualify to run the real Boston Marathon next year," said Army Maj. Mike Whitescarver, of Heidelberg, Germany, a civil affairs officer who works with the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team, of his 4:18:41 finish.

All four of the team members are now qualified to run the race in Boston next year.