By Mason Lowery, NFELC Public Affairs Officer
Two Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center (NFELC) Seabee Mobile Utilities Support Equipment (MUSE) technicians braved cold weather and strong winds to complete the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon, March 18.
CMC(SCW/IDW) Jake Kruzel and CEC(SCW/EXW) Cory Wright finished the 27th annual, 26.2-mile race in 4 hours and 41 minutes and 4 hours and 3 minutes, respectively.
Running is a requirement for Navy Sailors, but there’s a big difference between running a few miles a few times a week to pass their semi-annual Navy fitness tests and training for, and completing, a 26.2-mile marathon. CMC Kruzel, who has been running since middle school, ran 35-40 miles a week for two months before the race to prepare. CEC Wright, who never ran before he joined the Navy 15 years ago, said he didn’t get to train as much as he does for other marathons, but still finished the race.
Like each of the more than 23,000 marathon participants, Kruzel and Wright had personal reasons for pushing themselves to complete this physically and mentally exhausting race. Kruzel’s first was the 2003 Seattle Marathon, which he ran to satisfy a personal goal; however, he decided to enter the 2012 LA Marathon because Wright asked to help him train. Wright said he got hooked on marathons in Afghanistan last year where he ran the Shadow Boston Marathon, an official absentee race affiliated with the Boston Marathon.
“After doing that I was hooked, following it with the San Francisco Marathon last July and now the Los Angeles Marathon,” Wright explained. “Finding a partner who is willing to put in the time and effort with you – and suffer through the pain! – will make it much more enjoyable.
“I want to thank Jake for committing to do this with me,” he added. “I trained and ran the San Francisco Marathon solo, and it definitely makes it more difficult to stay on track.”
They both say the last six miles of the marathon were the toughest. In addition to the pain caused by running 20 miles, the wind picked up and they had to push through it.
“It was all heart after the 20-mile mark,” Kruzel said.
Running does more for the pair than just keep them in shape.
Wright said, “Obviously it will help immensely in your physical readiness for the military, but it definitely goes further than that. Physical conditioning will help with your health and overall well being. I am more alert and feel much better now than I did five years ago when I first started running more than the Navy requires and working toward running longer distances.”
Kruzel added, “[The benefits of running] are too many to list. It helps your overall health, mind, body and soul. It builds your confidence in yourself and what you can push yourself to do.”
After completing the LA Marathon, Kruzel said he is “Relieved and excited that my body and mind were able to accomplish this event.” His next race will be the Run for Your Lives Race, a zombie-infested 5k obstacle course.
Wright said he was sore for the first few days after completing the marathon, “But it was all worth it. It is a great sense of accomplishment to complete a marathon, regardless of weather or terrain conditions. They say that only one percent of people in the world will ever complete a marathon, and knowing that makes it worth all of the pain you endure.” His next race will be the New York City Marathon, if his race application is accepted.
He encourages anyone who is interested in long distance running to go for it.
“There are websites, people, running clubs, etc., out there that are very helpful in getting prepared,” Wright said. “I used to hate running and was not very good at it, but it has now become an addiction of sorts. The sense of accomplishment is amazing once you look at what you put your body through and the things you were able to overcome to get there.”