INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. Air Force Captain William “Billy” Boland has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after winning the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Satellite Race in Afghanistan.
|Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Brandon Pomrenke
Boland (Mendota Heights, Minn.) beat an international field of more than 120 service men and women from different branches of the military to win in a time of 3:19.
“I’ve always been a big runner,” Boland said. “But I’ve never done a marathon and people don’t seem to think you’re a serious runner unless you’ve done one. I figured now is a better opportunity than ever.”
Instead of running through the streets of the Windy City, the Kabul edition of the Chicago Marathon was held on a NATO base in Afghanistan. Instead of skyscrapers and tree-lined parks, the 10-lap Kabul course featured concrete barriers and armored military vehicles. While competitors in Chicago and Kabul wore the same bibs, t-shirts and medals, the Kabul entrants had to contend with an extra 5,000 feet of elevation above sea-level and notoriously bad air quality.
Executive race director Carey Pinkowski notified Captain Boland that he will be offered an elite bib number for the next Bank of America Chicago Marathon that takes place after his deployment.
The satellite race was organized by Army Captain John Zimmerman (Apple Valley, Minn.) and raised more than $12,000 to support St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Zimmerman has also been offered to join the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as a visiting race director after his deployment.
Now in its tenth year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
Winners: January 5, Bill Tribou; January 12, Tyler Sorensen; January 20, Josh Cox; January 26,Ben Shorey; February 2, Ashton Eaton; February 9, Ashton Eaton; February 16, Bernard Lagat; February 23, Ryan Crouser; March 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams; March 10, Bill Collins; March 16, Miles Batty; March 23, Shalane Flanagan; March 30, John Nunn; April 6, Aries Merritt; April 13, Gunnar Nixon; April 20, Desiree Davila; April 27, Nolan Shaheed; May 4, Emma Coburn; May 11, Willie Gault; May 18, English Gardner; May 25, Kibwé Johnson; June 1, Khadevis Robinson; June 8, Carmelita Jeter; June 15, Lukas Verzbicas; June 22, Aisling Cuffe; June 29, Trevor Barron; July 6, Aldrich Bailey; July 13, Jillian Camarena-Williams; July 20, Johnnye Valien; July 27, Bernard Lagat; August 3, Marcus Krah; August 9, Leo Manzano; August 17, Magdalena Lewy Boulet; August 24, Brigetta Barrett; September 7, LaShinda Demus; September 14, Kasie Enman; September 21, Galen Rupp; September 28, Max King; October 5, Kathryn Martin; October 13, William Boland