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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Airman to run half-marathon in full uniform, 168-pound pack

by Ed Godfrey Modified: April 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm •  Published: April 24, 2012
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photo - Memorial Marathon runner Brendan Brustad poses for a photo with his weighted backpack at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Monday, April 23, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Brustad will carry 168 pounds in his pack as he runs that marathon. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Memorial Marathon runner Brendan Brustad poses for a photo with his weighted backpack at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Monday, April 23, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Brustad will carry 168 pounds in his pack as he runs that marathon. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

All of Brendan Brustad’s friends think he is insane for what he is about to do.

“They think I am crazy but a lot more people are worried,” said the 26-year-old Air Force staff sergeant. “All of the crazy stuff I do, I do for the (bombing) memorial.”

On Sunday during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Brustad will run the half-marathon in his Air Force uniform, including boots, carrying a 168-pound pack on his back in memory of the 168 lives lost in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

And that’s not all. Beginning Tuesday, Brustad will begin a quest to break 19 world endurance records by Sunday in memory of the 19 children who perished in the bombing.

A recruiter in Oklahoma City for the Air Force, Brustad loves physical fitness and loves a challenge. But he is pushing himself to the limit for one simple reason.

“I just want to make sure no one is every forgotten,” he said.

A native of New York, Brustad joined the Air Force out of high school because of 9-11. He was assigned to the Altus Air Force Base where in 2007 he ran for the first time in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

The day of the race was Brustad’s first visit to the memorial and the bomb site. The experience overwhelmed him, from the 168 moments of silence at the beginning of the race to the woman who hugged him at the finish line. She thanked Brustad for helping keep her father’s memory alive.

Brustad has been running in memory of the 168 bombing victims ever since.

In 2008, he ran from Altus to Oklahoma City in the week before the marathon, averaging 35 miles today. By the time he finished the marathon, he had ran a total of 168 miles.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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