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Maj. Megan McClung Memorial Race Ran in Afghanistan

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan-Service members and civilians at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, register for the Maj. Megan McClung Memorial Race, Aug. 14. More than 425 runners participated in the race., <b>Sgt. Heidi Agostini, 8/14/2010 1:52 AM</b>

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan-Service members and civilians at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, register for the Maj. Megan McClung Memorial Race, Aug. 14. More than 425 runners participated in the race., Sgt. Heidi Agostini, 8/14/2010 1:52 AM

8/14/2010 By Sgt. Heidi Agostini, I MEF 

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan  — United States service members, British troops and civilians at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan ran a 5k race in memory of Maj. Megan M. McClung, Aug. 14.

More than 425 runners participated in the first ever satellite running of the event in Afghanistan.

“My inspiration to have this race came to me during one of my morning runs,” said Maj. William Conner, race coordinator. “I think it’s important to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

McClung, who served as a public affairs officer with I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD), was 34 years old when she was killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq, Dec. 6, 2006. She was the first female Marine officer to be killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 1995 Naval Academy graduate was known to her friends as an avid runner and six-time Ironman competitor. In October 2006, McClung organized and ran in the Marine Corps Marathon’s satellite race in Iraq’s Camp Al Asad. One year after her death, the casualty assistance officer for the McClung family spearheaded the first Maj. Megan McClung Memorial Race at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Wash. McClung’s father, Dr. Mike McClung and her mother, Dr. Re McClung, continued the event to honor their daughter and raise funds for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

“What we get to do with this race is keep her memory alive,” Re McClung said. “We’re carrying out the things she wanted to do, which was contribute to the health and welfare of her fellow Marines.”

Conner, McClung’s Naval Academy classmate, contacted her parents in early August to ask if they would be interested in having a shadow race in Afghanistan. The race would be held on the same day as the race on Whidbey Island.

“Our operational tempo is very high right now, and we’re all very busy,” Conner said. “But there’s always time to honor one of our fallen comrades, in my case a friend. Megan gave her all to the Marine Corps and to her country. It’s important for us to remember her.”

McClung’s parents gave Conner permission to organize a shadow race in Afghanistan. He had two weeks to coordinate and advertise it. The response was overwhelming.

“When Maj. Conner told me he wanted to do this I was thinking he might get 40 to 50 people,” Mike McClung said. “When he told me he passed 300 and was on his way to 400 I asked him if he was going to have enough Marines left to guard the perimeters.”

In a befitting tribute to a fallen Marine, the same unit McClung deployed with to Iraq in 2006, sponsored the first memorial race in Afghanistan. Several Marines who were privileged to serve with McClung ran the race in honor of their fallen comrade… Read more here

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