Pennsylvania, District of Columbia National Guard runners dominate Lincoln National Guard Marathon

Story by: Tech. Sgt. Jason Melton
Posted: 5/8/2017
National Guard Marathon 2017
The first wave of runners at the 40th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon stand ready to begin the race at the starting line in Lincoln, Nebraska. More than 13,500 marathoners registered for this year’s marathon including 150 marathoners from the Army and Air National Guard representing 40 states and two U.S. territories. (Nebraska National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes)

The Pennsylvania National Guard Marathon Team successfully defended its national title – its third title in four years – while National Guard runners from the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania cruised to individual victories during yesterday’s at the 40th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon.


The Pennsylvania National Guard Marathon Team – including qualifying runners Troy Harrison, Matthew Stern and Emily Shertzer – won its second consecutive team crown with a combined average time of two hours, 54.01 seconds, barely defeating National Guard runners from Puerto Rico, which registered a combined average time of 2:45:50 over the 26.2-mile Lincoln, Nebraska, course. The Indiana National Guard Marathon Team finished third with a combined average time of 2:57:17.


Finishing first in the National Guard men’s division and eighth overall with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 47 seconds was 1st Lt. Kenneth Rayner, commander of the District of Columbia’s Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 74th Troop Command.


I am really excited about running on the All Guard Team again this year,” said Rayner who secured a position on the team for the fourth time. “I was hoping for cooler temps, but I’m used to this weather,” he said citing similar weather at the Boston Marathon he competed in three weeks prior.


Staff Sgt. Javier Torres Rolon from the Puerto Rico Army National Guard finished second in the National Guard men’s division and 12th overall in 2:47:23.


Winning the individual Guard women’s title and finishing third in the Lincoln Marathon’s overall women’s division was Staff Sgt. Emily Shertzer, an instrumentalist with the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast, with a time of 2:55:24 putting her well ahead of the second place finisher, 1st Lt. Meg Landymore from the Maryland Army National Guard, who finished with a time of 3:11:28 and 10th overall in the women’s category.


“I did better than I thought,” said Shertzer, who made history in 2014 by becoming the first female Guard Member to win the overall women’s division. “I actually thought I was running the half [marathon] when I came out, but my team guilted me into running the full. I feel good now that I am done. Normally I don’t like running in the wind, but this year it actually helped.”


More than 13,500 marathoners registered for this year’s marathon making it the largest yet in its 40-year existence. Among those athletes, 150 marathoners from the Army and Air National Guard representing 40 states and two U.S. territories pounded pavement for 26.2 miles in 80-degree weather to compete for one of the 61 position on the All Guard Marathon Team.


The Lincoln National Guard Marathon has a long history of Guard and local community cooperation, said Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, the adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard.


“It’s a good opportunity for the Guard to interact with the community and get our brand out there,” Bohac said. “It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. It has grown from a handful of runners in 1978 to over 13,000 today. That’s an amazing journey to be on.”