By Army Sgt. 1st Class Paula Taylor
He’d trained hard for four months, and the day finally had arrived for the 745th Forward Surgical Team orthopedic surgeon to run the 26.2-mile Miami Marathon -- thousands of miles from
amid the concrete barriers and concertina wire that line the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Fenty in eastern Florida . Afghanistan
As he arrived at the start line, a few stars still shone through the clouds and dotted the sky. Soon, the sun would begin to crest over the snow-capped mountains.
As Smock and the other marathoners took off down the dusty hardtop road, they soon came across a group of up-armored trucks getting ready to roll out on a convoy.
“That really puts things in perspective,” Smock said later. “You see that and you think, ‘This [race] is just for fun.’ By the second lap, those guys were already gone, doing their job.”
At the halfway mark, Smock said, he was doing well, but the going got tougher with about five miles to go. “I hit my wall about 21, 22 miles,” he said, “and started to need to take a break -- walk it out and make sure I keep fueling myself up. I used that finish line as my motivation.”
Smock, who lives in
, said he and his brothers, Michael and David, had planned to run the Miami Marathon together for almost a year Liberty Hill, Texas
“We are all doctors, all went to the same school, and are all very active, but have never run a marathon together,” he said. “When I found out that I would be deployed and unable to run with them in
, it was disappointing, but I decided that it would not stop me from running ‘with’ them, even if it was from halfway around the world.” Miami
Shortly after arriving at Fenty, Smock said, he contacted the Miami Marathon race directors and inquired about a satellite run. They were receptive and were happy to sponsor the run. “They also sent T-shirts, medals and several other goodies to pass out to all the participants,” he added.
Smock said he wore out three pairs of track shoes running laps around the airstrip to train for the event. The soles on the pair he wore for yesterday’s race, in fact, were starting to separate.
Though Smock missed an opportunity to be with his brothers when they ran the marathon in
just 10 hours after he finished his, he said he plans on running in future events together with them, barring another deployment. Miami
“I don’t know if we will run
together in the future -- that will most likely depend on how our schedules work out -- but we are already tentatively planning to sign up this summer for the Ironman Triathlon in Miami Lake Placid [ ] in 2012,” Smock said. “Hopefully, no deployments interfere with those plans. I don’t think I could find a place to swim in New York or Iraq .” Afghanistan
The 26.2 miles of the satellite course at Fenty comprised eight laps around the airstrip. Smock finished the race in 3 hours, 27 minutes.
“I crushed my goal,” he said. “I had run two marathons before, and I did each of those in just under four hours. I wanted to run today. I think my official clock time was and some change. I’m so excited right now!”