Marines, soldiers joining Paul Smith's College fun run - in Iraq - 2008-10-16
MARINES, SOLDIERS JOINING PAUL SMITH'S COLLEGE FUN RUN – IN IRAQ
Maj. Shawn Swanson '89 leading Camp Taji shadow run of Pumpkin Muffin 5K
CONTACT: Kenneth Aaron, director of communications, (518) 327-6297
PAUL SMITHS – When Maj. Shawn Swanson '89 joins the Pumpkin Muffin 5-kilometer race on Saturday, he's going to have a nine-hour head start.
But that's OK – because Swanson, and six other Marines and U.S. Army soldiers, will be running the race while stationed at Camp Taji, a military base about 15 miles from Baghdad. Swanson and his colleagues will run the 3.1-mile race at 7 a.m. Iraq time (midnight here); runners at Paul Smith's will start their race on campus at 9 a.m.
Swanson, a Marine who graduated from Paul Smith's College with a forestry degree, said joining stateside races, known as satellite or shadow runs, is a real boost for him and his colleagues.
"Participating in these satellite runs not only builds morale and unit cohesion, but also does a great deal to give those that participate the feeling that they are still tied into the active lifestyle that they enjoy when they are home," Swanson said.
Swanson is working at a camp called the Phoenix Academy, a part of Camp Taji that helps train transition teams. Those units work alongside Iraqi security forces. The transition team members take classes in counter-insurgency, language skills, cultural awareness, technical classes on radios and other communication systems, and other topics.
Jim Tucker, the college's recreation and intramural coordinator, has stayed in touch with Swanson for years. "It's extraordinary to know that Shawn is running this event alongside us while he's in the Persian Gulf," Tucker said.
This isn't the first time Swanson has joined a Paul Smith's race: Last month, he and two others ran the college's Spud Harvest 5K. Their times were competitive with runners here, but the Taji team had a big hurdle to deal with - the 99-degree desert heat. (They won't get much of a break this Saturday, when high temperatures are expected to reach the 90s.)
The desert runners received T-shirts and maple syrup from the college's own sugarbush, which Swanson said will be used at a pancake breakfast later this month.
This is the 15th year that the Pumpkin Muffin race is being run. The college's snowshoe-racing team, the Striders, are hosting the race. Prizes are awarded to the fastest finishers, as well as the man and woman who guess closest to their time. The race is open to the public; registration will be the day of the race from 8-8:45 a.m. at Lambert Hall. Members of the Paul Smith's College community pay $2 to register; others pay $15. The first 30 to register will receive a T-shirt. Pumpkin muffins and cider will be served after the race.
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. The college, whose campus is on the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake, is the only four-year institution of higher education in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park of New York State. Our programs, in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship, the sciences, and many others, draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere.