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Spicing up the race

By Cpl. Diego Bunuel
First published in
SFOR Informer #93, August 2, 2000

Mrkonjic-Grad - With their usual keen sense of humour, the British named the hills surrounding the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment at Mrkonjic-Grad after the Spice Girls.
But on Sunday morning no one in the camp was laughing.
Drenched in sweat, with sore feet and wobbly legs some 367 runners participating to the fourth edition of the Mrkonjic-Grad Mountain Half Marathon crossed the finish line in what they called one of their most difficult achievements.
Namely because of Scary and Sporty Spice, two formidable hills nearby.
"On that second hill, Scary Spice, most people were walking," said British Sgt. Simon Louis, 28. "I just couldn't feel my feet anymore."
The run looped around two hills on the left and right of the camp totalling about 11 kilometres uphill and 11 downhill.
Sapper Terrence Craig, 20, who wore a curly red wig after crossing the finish line said: "Next time they will have to pay us to do this."
Indeed every runner had to shell out 20 DM to be part of the race.
The fact didn't escape some jokers, who mid-way through Scary Spice made sure to post a sign that read: "You paid 20 marks for this."
But not all went well. Although the race started at 8 a.m., the temperature soon reached 28 C when the race ended around 10:45 p.m. leaving two people collapsed because of heat injuries, said Medical Sgt. Paul Gerber.
"We also had to deal with some blisters, cuts and bruises," he said. "A lot of people have not really trained for it."
But one person couldn't have been better prepared.
Staff Sgt. Mark Carlisle, 32, arrived first by covering the 22k race in one hour and twenty minutes.
"We trained hard for the past couple months," Carlisle said about his Equipment Support team of 15. "We started with six-mile runs and then the last month we did a lot exercises to strengthen ourselves."

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Nations of SFOR: UK