24 May 2011
Last year's Tom's Run team poses during the 200-mile event.
Team Depends on Each Other in 200 Mile Relay
by Lanessa Hill
Fort Detrick Public Affairs
A grueling 200 mile team building fitness event will happen June 2, 3 and 4, 2011.   
The event known as Tom's Run Relay, is held annually to promote fitness, team building, and community has been given the nickname, America's longest fun run. 
The race is named in honor of retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tom Brooks, U.S. Coast Guard, who contracted Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) in early 1999.
For the past several years, a team consisting of retired military and present Fort Detrick employees have competed in this arduous run/bike event and pushed their bodies to the extreme. 
The difficult event requires them to hone in on their mental toughness and abilities to overcome  weather, terrain and physical exhaustion. They have built friendships, relied on each other and defined camaraderie.   
Finishing the relay has become priority and this team has been preparing.  In fact this year the team has changed dynamics a bit and there are at least two veteran elite marathoners in the first segment.
The race starts in Cumberland, Md., at 12:30 a.m. on June 2nd. Runners are accompanied at all times by a bike escort from their respective teams. 
Together they take turns in a relay which run entirely along the historic C&O Canal towpath to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
From there, the course continues down the Potomac River waterfront, past the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, crosses the Potomac River and connects with the Mount Vernon Trail to Alexandria, Va.
The finish is at Fort Hunt Park near Mt. Vernon. 
S.K. Sherman, retired USAF, has been doing the race for four years now.  For him it's an internal motivator, a constant question of "can I do it?". 
It's also the enjoyment of achieving a goal as part of a group effort. 
"You build some great, lasting friendships out there," Sherman said, "running in the muck and mud at night with a headlamp for lighting." 
Other members of the 2011 team include Justin Ward, Randall Ivall, Rob Rodgers, Joshua McDonald, Ed McDonough. 
Here is to wishing this team the best of luck.  May all the hard work and preparation allow you to reach your goal.  All of Fort Detrick is cheering you on. 
For more information including a course description please visit www.tomsrunrelay.org.
Posted by PAO

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