Some 200 soldiers and civilians working for the military battled the thin Afghan mountain air, a bumpy track and the threat of attack to run five long laps around the airstrip at Firebase Ripley, a remote military camp in central Uruzgan province.
In the end, First Lieutenant Mike Baskin beat the competition, running the course in three hours, 12 minutes and 15 seconds. Bursting into tears at the finish line, the Army lieutenant said he thought only of his fallen comrades as he crossed the finish line.
Soldiers at the base are operating in one of Afghanistan's most hostile areas. Their most recent casualties were suffered last month when two soldiers were killed by a bomb that ripped through a patrol.
Some information for this story provided by AP.