Overland Park’s Tony Hofmann will take a team to the Leadville Marathon in Leadville, Colo., for a second year to raise awareness for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The marathon, which spans about 26 miles, takes place Saturday.
But the rigor of the marathon is what makes it unique to Hofmann.
“No offense to other races, but (the Leadville Marathon) not just a 5K,” said Hofmann, who was a colonel in the U.S. Army.
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Hofmann hopes him and his team can funnel some attention toward raising money and awareness to help prevent suicide among war veterans.
Last year, Hofmann ran in support of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and led a group of five active servicemen through the Heavy Half marathon in the Leadville Race Series.
This weekend he’s running in a seven-man pack to raise funds for Warrior’s Ascent, which lends a hand to war vets, police and all of the nation’s warriors struggling with PTSD. The organization gives them “the opportunity to learn to heal themselves,” Hofmann said.
Hoffman has run in 32 marathons and kept a long-time goal to qualify and run in the Boston marathon every year, which he has done nine times — eight of them in a row.
Despite his marathon experience, the army veteran knows this weekend’s trail is tough.
“The race isn’t like others,” Hofmann said. “There’s a real requirement for us to be a team for the full 26.2 miles.”
The individuals running alongside Hofmann have all kept up with a rigorous 16-week training program. However, this race puts runners against more than distance — the trail winds through an old mining town and reaches an altitude of 13,000 feet.
“We’ll tackle the race by running flats and down-hills the best we can and walk the up-hills,” Hofmann said.
They’ll also be monitoring each individual’s heart rate to avoid losing oxygen in the thin air.
The team takes off at 8 a.m. Saturday in Leadville. The race cut-off is 8 hours and 30 minutes.