Soldiers run National Guard Marathon

Staff Report

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This years team was made up of (back row left to right) 1st Sgt. Jim Wallace, 202nd Army Band; Staff Sgt. Steven Richardson, Joint Force Headquarters; Sgt.  1st Class Michael Embury, 202nd Army Band; Chief Warrant Officer Allen Davis, 149th BSB FMC; (front row left to right) Spc. Bernice Anaya, 149th BSB; Maj. Varinka Ensminger, KY MED DET; Sgt. Angela Sullivan, KY MED DET 2; and Sgt. 1st Class Amy Parker, HHC 149th BSB (MEB).

LINCOLN, NE. – Kentucky National Guard Soldiers competed in the Lincoln National Guard Marathon in Lincoln, Ne., on May 4, 2014. This was the largest group of female runners in history that Kentucky has ever sent to compete. Since 2007, Maj. Varinka Ensminger has been the solo female runner. This year the men and women represented evenly. Kentucky placed 9th overall amongst the teams, just 19 seconds behind 8th place Arkansas.

Just a mere three weeks before the marathon championships, several runners dropped from the team and rookie marathoners Sgt. Angela Sullivan and Spc. Bernice Anaya stepped up to the challenge.

To see all the race coverage, please click HERE.

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Sgt 1st Class Amy Parker, from HHC, 149th Brigade Support Battalion participates in the Lincoln Nebraska National Guard Marathon May 4.

These ladies were recruited by Sgt 1st class Amy Parker and all three ran their first marathons just two weeks prior to the National Guard Marathon at the Kentucky Derby Marathon in Louisville, Ky. The females were mentored and coached by Chief Warrant Officer three Allen Davis. Anaya even came away with a National Guard Marathon Award: 3rd place in the 20-24 age division.

“It was wonderful to have our veterans back on the team this year, but it was more symbolic to have a large crew of women'” said Ensminger, the team’s captain and a National Guard Elite Marathon team member. “I am so proud of these ladies. They are great guard running ambassadors and set a great precedence to continue having a female presence. It is very encouraging for the future. I can’t wait for next year! ”

Kentucky was led to the finish by Ensminger in 3:07:05, a time that earned her second place amongst guard women, second only to Tech Sgt Emily Shertzer of Pennsylvania.

Sgt 1st Class Michael Embury and Chief Warrant Officer Davis rounded out the scored positions in 3:11:33 and 3:18:03, respectively. Davis ran his fastest marathon to date at the age of 49.

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Chief Warrant Officer three Allen Davis, 149th Brigade Support Battalion, participates in the Lincoln Nebraska National Guard Marathon May 4.

“I felt strong and rested going into the marathon,” said Davis. “My training had been exceptional this year and was pleased achieving a personal best at such a momentous race.”

“Maybe next year I will secure a spot on the All Guard Team as a grandmaster.” Davis is also the longest serving Kentucky Guard marathon team member.

The race covered 26.2 miles through the city of Lincoln and ended on the ever famous fifty yard line in the University of Nebraska ‘Corn Husker Stadium.’

The Lincoln National Guard Marathon serves as the National Guard Marathon Championships. More than 12,000 marathoners registered for this year’s marathon, making this year’s race the largest in its history.

Among those athletes, 184 from the Army and Air National Guard representing 39 states and two U.S. territories tackled the grueling 26.2-mile challenge to compete for a position on the National Guard Elite Marathon Team. They will now represent the National Guard throughout the year in various competitions nationwide.

Team members train independently with their home states and meet up at the duty location of the competition. Their mission is to advocate for the National Guard through local and national media, host booths at event expositions, support and offer advice to local athletes, and gain leads for future recruits and potential athletes. Ensminger and Embury will be representing Kentucky again this year on the All Guard Marathon Team.

“This year was tough. My training took a real hit with the winter weather. I am proud and thankful for making the team this year,” Embury of the 202nd Army Band. “I couldn’t be prouder on how the team performed this year. This event is such an honor to be a part of. I get so excited when rookies experience it for the first time.”

1st Sgt. James Wallace summed up the experience this way: “It’s my favorite marathon and even if I wasn’t on the team, I would run the race anyway’.”

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Maj. Varinka Ensminger, from the Kentucky Medical Detachment participates in the Lincoln Nebraska National Guard Marathon May 4.

“There is something really special about running a race with with those that serve. The energy is like no where else.” added Ensminger.

Kentucky’s uniforms were designed by State Recruiting and Graphic Design Team. The marathon team can be spotted throughout races in the local area.
For more information about the Kentucky National Guard Marathon Team, contact Major Varinka Barbini Ensminger at varinka.t.ensminger@us.army.mil or at Kentucky National Guard Running Group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kentucky-National-Guard-Running-Group/175747732497313
Kentucky Team Results:

2014 Kentucky National Guard Marathon Team
9th Place Overall Guard Team
9:36:41 Total Time
3:12:14 Average

1 3:07:05 MAJ Varinka T. Barbini Ensminger (F34) KY MED DET
2 3:11:33 SFC Michael Embury (M40) 202nd Army Band
3 3:18:03 CW3 Allen Davis (M49) 149th MEB FMC
4 (3:38:26) SSG Steven Richardson (M35) JFHQs
5 (4:14:32) SFC Amy Parker (F37) HHC 149th BSB (MEB)
6 (4:35:51) 1SG James Wallace (M59) 202nd Army Band
7 (4:49:39) SPC Berenice Anaya (F24) 149th BSB
8 (4:55:29) SGT Angela Sullivan (F34) KY MED DET 2

2014 Lincoln National Guard Marathon Award Recipients
9th Female Overall
MAJ Varinka T. Barbini Ensminger (F34) KY MED DET

2014 National Guard Marathon Championships Award Recipients
2nd Female Overall
MAJ Varinka T. Barbini Ensminger (F34) KY MED DET

3rd Female in 20-25 Age Division
SPC Berenice Anaya (F24) 149th MED BSB

3rd Male in 40-45 Age Division
SFC Michael Embury (M40) 202nd Army Band

2nd Male in 55-& up Age Division
SGT James Wallace (59) 202nd Army Band

2014-2015 National Guard Elite Marathon Team Qualifiers
MAJ Varinka T. Barbini Ensminger (F34) KY MED DET
SFC Michael Embury (M40) 202nd Army Band

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