Way To Go, TEAM USO!

A TEAM USO member at the starting line. (USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan)

We would like to applaud all members of TEAM USO who participated in the Marine Corps Marathon and 10k yesterday.  It truly was an amazing day and your support of our troops and their families is to be commended.  Altogether the team raised over $34,000, with 36 runners participating.

We’d also like to send a big thank you to all who came out to support the runners.  We know they wouldn’t have made it through 6.2 or 26.2 miles without family and friends cheering them on.  And we’re already looking forward to doing it all over again next year!

Check out more photos from the day on TEAM USO’s Facebook page. If you are interested in joining TEAM USO and running the Marine Corps Marathon in 2011 please email athleteinfo@uso.org.  TEAM USO registration for the marathon and 10K will open in early 2011 and we are always looking for new teammates.  Hope to see you out there!

The first group of TEAM USO runners pose for a group photo before heading to the start line. (USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan)

The second group of TEAM USO runners pose for a group photo before heading to the start line. (USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan)

Team Captain Tracey Holtshirley looks strong as he heads out with 26.2 miles ahead. (USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan)

TEAM USO member Nikki Etxegoien proudly wears her marathon medal, surrounded by the supporters who cheered her along the route! (USO photo by Neshan Naltchayan)

Meet Team USO’s Tracey Holtshirley

Tracey Holtshirley runs in the Marine Corps Marathon "shadow race" on Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, October 2009. (Courtesy photo)

Who are you? I am Tracey Holtshirley, a reserve Marine Corps Major and civilian lawyer.  I have served in the Corps for 14 years and deployed to Iraq twice in support of our nation’s efforts to assist the Iraqi people. I live in Chicago with my wife of eight years.

Why do you run? Running has been a tremendous source of solace and recommitment to succeed in the face of life’s challenges. Running keeps me healthy, fit and sharp. Though my running has not always been fun or easy, but the rewards are inexhaustible.

Why do you support the USO? The USO has been a wonderful friend to me as I have served in the Marine Corps, whether I was deployed or at home.

For those on the fence about joining the team and running the MCM, what encouragement/advice would you give? I would encourage those who are on the fence to join the team because of the double blessing they will receive and the untold blessing the servicemembers and their families will receive from that effort.  As a Team USO runner, you will be helping to support a proven organization as they support our nation’s brave men and women in uniform; you will also reap the benefit of healthy living and help to inspire others to live healthy as well; and don’t forget that you will strengthen your inner resolve to tackle life’s multitude of challenges with the confidence that you can prevail.

Holtshirley is all smiles after completing the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon. (Courtesy photo)

You have run the Marine Corps Marathon before. What advice would you give to those running it for the first time? Don’t underestimate the challenge, but don’t shy away from it. Like anything in life you must prepare…TRAIN! The MCM course is a beautiful course, steeped with history. The more trained you are, the less time you’ll spend with your eyes glued to the pavement. You can look around and enjoy the scenery and the awesome crowds that have come out to support you.

What is your favorite post-run snack/meal? Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I’ve run many a long race and can get by post-race with some Gatorade, bananas, and something salty! I’m never too hungry initially, but a few hours later it hits me. I definitely try to grab a protein shake as soon as possible and then chow down that evening on the traditional meat and potatoes (and veggies)!!

What is your most memorable race experience and why? Topping the list has to be the MCM in 2009. I was deployed to Iraq and had the “pleasure” to coordinate a shadow race on Al Asad Airbase. I have a new found appreciation for those that put these great events together. I had a great group of volunteers and colleagues to make this happen. Then I had to race and then I got to support and recognize the participants and volunteers. Amazing time!

If you could send one message to our men and women in uniform serving around the world, what would it be? Stay true to your corps values at all costs. Challenge yourselves daily and challenge those around you to be better than they were yesterday!