A Really Dry Heat: TEAM USO Runner Trains for Marine Corps Marathon in Kuwaiti Desert

Kuwait is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of training grounds for the 39th Marine Corps Marathon, but that’s what Jason Lewis signed up for when he joined TEAM USO. The former Marine and former USO staff member began training for his 26.2-mile trek while working at USO Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis

“The heat would [get] up to 130 degrees, so it made it very hard to get motivated to get outside and do long miles,” Lewis said, adding that he’s enjoying the cooler Michigan air while finishing up his training. “I adopted the method of doing what I could and took advantage of cool mornings.”

Lewis’ firsthand knowledge of the USO’s impact on troops kept him motivated throughout the training process.

“I believe in what the USO does and want to do anything I can do to help out,” he said, recalling his time in the service. “Every time I passed through an airport, I would stop at the USO center.”

Lewis even recruited friend and fellow Marine, Ryan Taylor, to TEAM USO.

“When I asked [Ryan] to run with me, it was kind of a no-brainer,” he said. “We had been talking about getting out there and doing some runs and fitness stuff. I was like ‘Hey, we can raise some money for a great organization. I’m on the inside, so I know what the money goes to.’ So he was on board as soon as I told him that we should do it.”

Combined, the friends have raised nearly $3,000 for the USO. Lewis and Taylor are not alone in their TEAM USO fundraising efforts. So far, the team of 30 Marine Corps Marathon runners has raised more than $35,000 as part of this year’s marathon.

“I’m proud to be raising money for the USO, and hopefully, I can raise a few more dollars by the end of the year,” Lewis said.

Find out more about TEAM USO and their fundraising efforts for the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon on the TEAM USO Marine Corps Marathon homepage.

–Jessica Battaglia, USO

TEAM USO Army Ten-Miler Runners Raise More Than $30,000 for the USO

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For 30 years, the Army Ten-Miler has been the unifying fitness event for members of the Army family around the world. Since 1985, more than 300,000 soldiers, service members and civilians have traveled to Washington to participate in the service’s signature race.

This year, 50 runners from around the nation dedicated their time and energy to run for TEAM USO, raising more than $30,000 that will go toward USO programs and services.

“It was an outstanding event, and everyone and everything came together perfectly,” said Ginni Guiton, USO Director of Donor Operations and Stewardship.

In addition, some 6,000 runners who couldn’t make it to the nation’s capital this year participated in Army Ten-Miler shadow races held in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Egypt and Africa.

“It is an opportunity for us here downrange to participate and be part of this great event,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Arnel Liwanagan, who is stationed at Kandahar Airfield, was quoted as saying in the Army Ten-Miler program. “It promotes camaraderie between different branches of service in the armed forces and civilians as well. It also helps build good relationships with coalition forces.”

TEAM USO Still has Entries to the Biggest Marathons, Triathlons and Other Races of 2014

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Spring is finally here, and if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to finish a marathon, half-marathon or triathlon, you should be well into the latter part of your final training cycle.

What’s that? You haven’t started training? You haven’t signed up for a race yet? Well have no fear—TEAM USO is here!

With spots still available in the most popular races in the country, TEAM USO can help you select a race, put a fitness plan into place to get you out there in your go-fasters or tenny-runners in no time.

First step? Well, stretch, of course.

Next, visit www.TeamUSO.org/compete and select a race.

You can travel to the Big Apple for the New York City Marathon, swim across the frigid San Francisco Bay in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon or shout along with your favorite grunts at the Marine Corps Marathon. Whichever race you choose, TEAM USO has an online fundraising tool that makes it easy to send emails to friends and family asking them to support the troops by sponsoring you.

Race with TEAM USO to help make the lives of our brave servicemen and women and their families a little bit easier by providing programs and services through our USO centers worldwide.

Race Toward Your 2014 New Year’s Resolution with TEAM USO

Did you set a lofty New Year’s Resolution to lose some extra poundage? Are you willing to raise money to support the troops and their families in exchange for a little help meeting your goal?

TeamUSOIf so, TEAM USO is ready to grant you entry into and help you train for some of the most challenging and sought-after marathons, triathlons and obstacle course races in America.

A new addition this year is the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Set against the natural beauty of San Francisco, this triathlon is a virtual postcard of the City by the Bay and is consistently ranked as a favorite event among triathletes. It features a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the shores of the St. Francis Yacht Club combined with a grueling 18-mile bike ride and an 8-mile run through the trails of the breathtaking Golden Gate Recreational Area.

TEAM USO also has entries for 20 Rugged Maniac obstacle course races near major metropolitan areas around the country. Combined with favorites like the Marine Corps Marathon and the New York City Marathon, the whole family is sure to find a race to enjoy.

“Of course, all of our Team USO events are fun, but the Rugged Maniac events are a great way to get a big group of people outside for some exercise while raising money for troops and their families,” said Team USO Program Manager Kymberly Jordan. “A group of friends can really make a day out of it.”

Whether you want to run, walk or just get dirty, now it is easier than ever to find a way to support our troops. Register now and join fellow TEAM USO members in raising money to make the lives of America’s brave servicemen and women and their families a little bit easier by providing programs and services through USO centers worldwide.

One NYC Marathon Spot Left on TEAM USO

The ING New York City Marathon may be sold out, but you can still run with TEAM USO.

TEAM USO has ONE spot still available in the 2013 ING New York City Marathon.

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As part of TEAM USO, You have the opportunity to fundraise and make your miles count for our troops and their families. As part of TEAM USO, the money you raise helps the USO provide much needed programs and services with our troops and their families, whether they are serving close to home or overseas, in recovery and in remembrance.

Participants receive special benefits at part of TEAM USO, including a guaranteed spots in the marathon, fundraising and training support, exclusive race gear and a free pasta dinner. TEAM USO’s online resources allow individuals to set up their own fundraising page which can be used to reach out to possible donors and spread the word about their efforts and what they can do to contribute.

Time is ticking away. Contact Kym Jordan at kjordan@uso.org to snag the final spot on our team.

And while you’re at it, check out these other TEAM USO success stories from the past year:

–Story by USO Marketing and Story Development

Barbecue for the Troops: Beanie Weenie Quesadilla Wrap from the Frontlines

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? We still have more than two months of grill time left! Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes, like this one straight from the front lines! Our troops may not always have a gourmet kitchen, but they have come up with some ingenious ways to cook up a storm!

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 2.22.15 PMIngredients

  • 1/4 cup condensed bean with bacon soup 1 (8 inch) flour tortilla
  • 1 turkey hot dog
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cooking Instrument: Microwave

Directions

  1. Pour soup into a small microwave safe bowl.
  2. Wrap tortilla and hot dog with a clean, lightly moist cloth.
  3. Place soup, tortilla, and hot dog in microwave and cook on high approximately 30 seconds, or until tortilla is hot and pliable and the soup is hot.
  4. Place hot dog and soup in center of tortilla; sprinkle with cheese and roll.
  5. Microwave for an additional 10 seconds to fully melt the cheese.