Being my first International Marathon Race since I started running in the early ’80s, I was able to preserve the Finisher’s T-shirt of the Inaugural Infantry Marathon held in Fort Benning, Georgia on the third Sunday of January 1984.
Hereunder is the picture of the shirt which I placed in a frame. The back of the shirt is printed with the Badge of the Infantry with the words “Follow Me”.
When I had my schooling at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, I joined the 1st Infantry Marathon which was held on 22 January 1984, on the third Sunday of the month of January. Unfortunately, I did not run well in this race after spending my Christmas vacation with my family in Los Angeles. The route consisted of a two-loop course (half-marathon per loop) which goes around the populated area of the camp up to the landing strips/airfield where airborne/parachute training are being conducted.
I ran the race for four hours plus and the course was a challenging one as it is considered as rolling terrain route and due to the prevailing cold climate at that time.
I have only one evidence that I ran the said marathon. It was a light blue colored long-sleeved finisher’s T-shirt (Hobbie T-shirt) which I framed and displayed in my office during my stint in Mindanao.
After a thorough research at the Fort Benning’s Infantry School’s Website, I could not see anything about the conduct of this yearly Infantry Marathon or as part of the MWR/Sports activities of the camp. However, it was my first time to see the conduct of a Sprint Reverse Triathlon in the said website which was well-attended by officers & soldiers in the said military camp.
The 1984 Infantry Marathon was my first international marathon race!
I attended my Infantry Officer’s Advance Course at the US Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA from November 1983 to May 1984. It took me only one week to orient, get to know the names of all the installations/facilities/roads and go around the vast camp by jogging/running. Because of this talent & quick knowledge of the place, I became the “designated driver” of our group (five officers) in a Volkswagen Rabbit car!
During weekends, I had the chance to run 10K road races inside the camp and to the nearby city of Columbus, Georgia & Phenix City, Alabama. It was winter time when I had my schooling and I had to wear a cap, woolen gloves, and long-sleeved Hobbie shirts for my runs.
One of my sprint runs before the finish line.
Our “group” (Filipino Officers in the class) consists of 3 Philippine Army Officers and 2 Philippine Constabulary Officers. Aside from being the “designated driver”, I was also the “official cook/chef” of the group! The PC Officer on the extreme left became a Brigadier General (one-star); I reached the rank of a Major General (two-star); the officer at my left became the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (four-star); and the remaining officers retired as Colonels.