Marathon … not, I dare you a 15k Ranger Run challenge and Blackhawk helicopters

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May 13th 2006
Published: May 17th 2006
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Ranger Run 2006 at Dahnolega

Blackhawk HelicopterBlackhawk HelicopterBlackhawk Helicopter

A Blackhawk is about to make a landing.
Mist of sunrise was hanging over the Northern Georgia town of Dahnolega when we arrived at seven in the morning. It has been a long day already, starting by waking up at four in Atlanta to meet up with the group at 5:30 am, to participate in the 10th Annual Ranger Run event. There are fifteen people in our group, doing the 5k Run, 15k Ranger Run, or the 34k Biking Race. The race is then followed by the US Army Ranger Open House which only happens once a year.

I need to quote the Ranger Run mission statement from the Ranger Run website to illustrate a better description of the event:

Each year during the spring, Camp Frank C. Merrill opens the camp and facilities to the public for a day. Visitors are able to see examples of the mountain phase of Ranger training and numerous displays. A demonstration of patrol insertion utilizing UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters is a favorite with the crowd, especially the younger visitors. Other crowd pleasing demonstrations include rappelling, climbing, mountain rescue, hand-to-hand combat and free-fall parachute jumping. The day’s activities conclude with the Fallen ranger Memorial dedication ceremony.

I was participating in the 15k Ranger Run even, which is about 9.3 miles run through the National Forrest where the gateway of the 1000+ miles Appalachian Trail to State of Maine is located. The 15k Ranger Run kicks off at 8:15 in the morning, and it was quite challenging for most of us. Most of the trail cuts through the gentle hills of Georgia, with the exception of the last 3k of the course which hikes up pretty steep to the finish line. The high (and

Camo soldiers.
unthoughtful) goal was to finish the 15k course in 1hr flat timeframe, which unfortunately I missed by 16 minutes. But there is always next year to do better.

The US Army Ranger open house, which consists of displays and demonstration, starts at 9:30. There are many opportunities to shoot machine guns, observing WWII soldiers, trying night vision goggles and the highlight of all, seeing the Blackhawk helicopter and ambush demonstration at noon. It is a rare opportunity to observe and have a first hand experience of the high profile military equipment this close, and we saw it all at the Open House.

Many thanks to Jon Ross who always encourage us to do more outdoor activities and trail running training, and put together the SRSSA Ranger Run team. Also thanks to Carla Fernandez, who has good eyes taking the pictures (© photo credit).

The REAL Marathon is about to come!
May 17, 2006 - Wed
And an additional news. I *officially* signed up for the USMC Marathon, which will kick off on October 29, 2006 in Washington, D.C. So, there will be five months training of the marathon, in the middle of the hot
An ambush demonstrationAn ambush demonstrationAn ambush demonstration

Red smoke for an ambush demonstration.
and humid Georgian summer. Wish me luck.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Combat demonstrationCombat demonstration
Combat demonstration

A hand-to-hand combat demonstration.
Blackhawk HelicopterBlackhawk Helicopter
Blackhawk Helicopter

The choppers are about to take off.

Literally, shoot!

A kid is about to shoot a rocket launcher.
5k start5k start
5k start

The 5k starting point.
Girl teamGirl team
Girl team

Carla, Fatima and Elaine. They all received awards in their age group, respectively.

My lucky race number.
Finish lineFinish line
Finish line

I'm about to finish the 15k course.
Glad it is overGlad it is over
Glad it is over

High five with Aaron.

Team SRSSA, minus several people.

11th June 2006

Hi again! Jon sent me the email, and I loved your blog about the day and your experience at the run. I am so proud of you for planning on the will have a tough training in the summer heat and humidity, but I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. I am so glad that you and Jon are friends. Being up here in the mountains of PA, I think of him often, and knowing that he has a quality, genuinely nice guy such as you as a buddy, makes me smile. Someday when you are a dad, you will know that your child is always just matter how old. So, go Halef......please let me know how things are going in your training efforts and send me a picture as you finish the marathon. Hugs, Susan Bradley (Jon's Mom)

Tot: 2.22s; Tpl: 0.182s; cc: 13; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0981s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb