After first meeting the Danish Team Veteran at the Marine Corps Marathon in DC last year, I, along with other members of Semper Fi had the opportunity to run a marathon with the Danish in Copenhagen, Denmark. While in Denmark I was able to meet up with friends I have known for awhile and also meet new friends that are a part of Team Semper Fi/Semper Fi Fund. Going to Denmark was not only about running a race, it was also a learning experience by gaining insight into their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. I got to learn how they faced similar challenges that we faced in terms of the Iraq/Afghanistan war campaign. Sharing stories with their wounded service members and learning about their veterans who never made it home was touching. We had the honor to visit their memorial sites also which was moving. They hosted us and treated us to the Danish history by going to the military academy, a few castles, and we even got to stay at the barracks.
Just as I am trying to make a difference by running these races and raising awareness for our wounded and recovering service members, Stefan, who is part of Team Veteran is doing something similar. I became good friends with Stefan who I met last year and was reconnected this year, who he himself is retired from the Danish army, and I learned that he is also dedicating his time to helping others. Stefan is raising awareness by making and selling jewelry at jewelry shops where the proceeds benefit their wounded veterans. What I am doing here, Stefan too is doing the same there by donating his proceeds to help their wounded. He too is an advocate for recovery through sport. Team Veteran out of Denmark is composed of veterans who served and deployed to fight the war on terror. It was really great to see and hear from one continent to another our ideals and viewpoints are comparable. It was great to hear and see his perspective of recovery through sport and how they are not much different no matter what country we are from.
The race overall was phenomenal! The countryside was beautiful and the people were very welcoming. The terrain was a bit different because at least half the course was run on cobblestone which was challenging! I shouldn't complain because everyone ran the same course, it’s just the cobblestone makes for a different experience. Even with the tough terrain and having just completed a 70.3, I was still able to run a 3:16. I even slightly held back because I knew I had another race the following weekend. I hope to return there to do the marathon once again or possibly the Ironman where Stefan and others from Team Veteran would love to see me come back again.