THE ARMY MARATHON - We Run With Heroes ®

Command Post

6 Articles

A Few Words About The New “Staff Ride Heritage Series” Marathon Format

by Ed Bandas

Most of you have heard the exciting news of the expansion of the format for The Army Marathon, the restructuring/delay of the “live” event for one year, and may be wondering what is happening–and why.

I will address the “why” below.  First, though, let me lay out the “what” to set the stage:

  • We are creating The Army Marathon – “Staff Ride Heritage Series”. A staff ride is used by commanders all over our military to bring to life the lessons of war to our subordinate commanders.
  • Going forward, we envision having both virtual and “live” races, retaining the traditional race while adding the new digital form.  At this point, we are looking at The Army Marathon IV to return to the traditional format, but perhaps with a revised route.
  • By holding the virtual races, we continue to raise funds and awareness to great non-profits that benefit our heroes.
  • By doing this new format of virtual racing, we also bring our military heritage to life for everyone participating.
  • We will continue the Heritage Series of races.

Many of these plans are already being executed and will be discussed as we move forward.

Now, the “why”:  In order to grow, organizations must be forward-looking.  They cannot stagnate.  They can’t rest on past successes and ignore a changing environment.  And they should be prepared to take advantage of promising initiatives.  Lessons learned from our first three years suggest that the current model may not have all the growth potential we want, partly because of the burgeoning number of races around the country.  But, building on our surprising early success in races The Army Marathon I through III, we are in good position to branch out, to create an even stronger structure. Moreover, advances in the digital world have opened entirely new possibilities for us to consider.  Transforming our structure from a single approach to a multiple one has good promise for the future.

During our discussions with our senior advisors, a couple of very wise general officers, one of them said it succinctly: “Don’t try to glue wings on a caterpillar and call it a butterfly. A butterfly evolves from the caterpillar.” This is exactly what we are trying to do.

So we make this decision to transform our event. We move forward with the faith that our friends will recognize our true mission – to raise funds and awareness for qualified veterans’ charities – and will continue to have fun running with us and bringing friends along who now have the ability to race our event in as many stages as they wish. Our mission is above just having a physical event (although that’s a lot of fun also!).

We look forward to having you join us as We Run With Heroes®!


Just a week away!

by Mark Shilling

We are now one week away from the Third Annual running of The Army Marathon. This year promises to be the biggest celebration yet for our Heroes right here in Central Texas. All of our supplies are coming in, our volunteers trained up, our emergency responders set to go, and the communities ready to come out and cheer runners from at least 40 different states, converging right here in Central Texas!

We wanted to give you all a sneak preview of this year’s program which will be in every runner’s packet and also available at The Army Marathon Expo. In this program, you will see maps of the course and a listing of all the wonderful sponsors who have made this race possible.

Let’s talk a moment about the sponsors. Every Race Director and Event Organizer knows the importance of sponsors and their generosity. Every Race Director will tell you to please consider doing business with those sponsors. Those sponsors truly understand that not only do they help produce an event, they honor our Heroes by their participation. These folks are dedicated to making sure that our military, our veterans, our law enforcement and fire fighters know that they truly care and not just put it on a billboard to sell more stuff. In times when most companies pull back on sponsorships because of the economy, our sponsors stepped up to prove their patriotism. So please take a moment to stop by their booth at the Expo or Finish Line and say thanks!!

Lastly, here are the final thoughts: Pay attention to the parking maps and traffic control on race day. Bring your organization out to cheer these runners. Have fun!!


Veterans Day: Honoring ALL Who Served

by Mark Shilling

As I write this, I am preparing for two Veterans Day speeches I have been invited to deliver. I am reminded of certain memories that no soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine will forget; what is was like on the first day of boot camp, graduation day from boot camp, certain friends and adventures that have become a part of our lives even after our service. Every one of us is forever changed by these experiences regardless of when you served.


Who Are The Heroes That We Run With?

by Ed Bandas

Who are the heroes we talk about?  Why do we even care about helping them? Why start another charity when so many already exist? What do we hope to achieve?

We believe the answers are very simple: The Heroes are those who volunteered to wear a uniform in the service of our country.  Very simple, indeed.  But it goes a little beyond that.  We can’t talk about the heroes without including their families who often bear the burden of the decisions made sometimes not by themselves. Families include children. Families include parents, siblings, spouses, and friends affected by the consequences of decisions made by the Hero to serve his or her country.


Why “We Run With Heroes”

by Mark Shilling

One of the most common questions we get is, “Why did you start The Army Marathon?” A simple question, but one that evokes a lot of emotion from those of us that started this event.

Two of the founders, Ed Bandas and Richard Archer, attended a military appreciation luncheon hosted by one of the local chambers of commerce in 2011. During this luncheon, the guest speaker asked the service members in the audience to stand up and be recognized if they have had at least one tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Welcome To The Army Marathon Blog!

by Ed Bandas

Howdy friends!

Welcome to the first post on our new blog page! Our intent is to share information we think you would find interesting about The Army Marathon. We welcome your input also – just send us an email to and we will either answer you directly if your question is specific to you or we will incorporate it into a blog post since we are sure that other people might want to know the answer to your broader questions as well.