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Bataan Memorial Death March
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At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, 25 March approximately 7000 marchers lined up for the 23rd annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, NM. This marathon commemorates the Bataan Death March of April, 1942. The opening ceremony featured a performance by the Army Special Operations skydiving team, the Black Daggers, a roll call of Bataan survivors who were present, and a reading of the names of those survivors who had passed away since the 2011 Memorial Death March. Given the difficulty of the course and the solemnity of the affair most participants are not overly concerned with running their best possible times. In fact, after the official start of the race many marchers (including me) shook hands with several survivors of the Bataan Death March who were seated near the start line. (Some survivors were also seated by the finish line to shake hands with the finishers.) The course itself is rather difficult, being mostly a trail run over some pretty tough hills. (The altitudes which vary from about 4000 to over 5000 feet doesn't help someone who lives at sea level). Marchers received one break in the weather as the wind was not nearly as strong as in some previous years, most notably 2011. However, it was hot, and temperatures rose well into the 80s by the afternoon. I was fortunate to finish in about 5 and a half hours. As the median finishing time for males was around 8 hours, many marchers were subjected to the high temperatures much more than I was. This is easily the most difficult marathon I have done but I strongly recommend it, especially to anyone attempting to run a marathon in every state and who needs to pick up New Mexico. I do recommend the "light" category and not the "heavy" category, the latter requiring a marcher to wear a 35-pound backpack during the event.
 
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