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scared me to death. It is a missile range, after all, in the desert. Part of the participant information packet reads, “Those who are driving to White Sands Missile Range by themselves, it is recommended you have a plan in the event you are medically evacuated.” The day started out windy. Not just

a light breeze that ruffled my hair but a gale that threatened to push me over before I even made it to the starting line. I was freezing and nervous but managed to pass the time before the start by talking to other marchers and getting last-minute tips on how to survive: Change your socks. Eat snacks. Stop at every water stop. One woman kindly gave me a baggie of dried fruit. She was with a woman whose husband was teasing her about not finishing. She said, “If Poppy did it, so can I.” “Was your father a survivor?” I asked. I had already met many who were marching in memory of a survivor. “Yep, he was.” She said no more and

didn’t need to. The opening ceremony of the march helped me to forget the merciless wind and cold temperatures. A short description of the Bataan Death March was read, along with the names of the remaining survivors, and fighter jets from nearby Holloman Air Force Base came tearing across the dawning sky. Soon, we were off. The first seven miles were a piece of cake, even with the wind. I felt optimistic about finishing strong. Then we turned a corner and from behind me someone said, “Well, now comes the hard part.”


Bataan March Survivor Glenn Frazier signs copies of his book, “Hell’s Guest,” for march participants.

It’s my own fault for not studying the map more closely. I would have noticed the intense gain in elevation... straight up for five miles...into 30 mile-an-hour winds. I wasn’t the only one who had to walk that part. In fact, I didn’t see anyone running up that hill. So, we all slowed down and chatted. I met people from all over the country who were repeat marchers, back for more punishment, and I met others like me who had grand plans for these 26.2 miles only to realize that the desert mountains are no laughing matter.

It was about this time that my right leg started to hurt. Four years ago, I had the third tumor removed from my leg after several weeks of radiation. I had been battling cancer for almost four years at that point. Four surgeries, six months of chemotherapy and two rounds of radiation have left my leg less than normal. I’m not complaining. It is since that first tumor that I became a serious runner and triathlete. That leg has taken me to some great places. But, it is weak and susceptible to injury. By

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