On Nov. 5, 50,000 people will arise at the crack of dawn and saunter down to a chilly Staten Island starting line, where they’ll take off on the 26.2 mile run of a lifetime. These athletes are some of the fastest in the world, who have trained for months to build up the endurance to handle the race.
Each year, a number of military veterans throw their hats in the ring as well. And this year, there are three in particular that have inspiring stories outside the marathon.
Carla Drumbeater, who served in the Army, overcame her diabetes and the sadness of serving as an ICU therapist during COVID-19 to run in this year’s New York City Marathon.
“In order to manage her grief and emotional toll the Pandemic took on her, she joined Native Strength Revolution, an organization that teaches other Indigenous people how to be and live healthy lives,” according to a marathon spokesperson.
Since Drumbeater began training for the marathon, she’s lost 50 pounds.
The pool of octogenarians that run the marathon each year is small but mighty. Among them is Vietnam War veteran Stephen Wertheimer. Now 84 and an orthopedist, he’s running his 39th New York City Marathon.
He will run this year with his daughter, Erin.
“After her finish, Erin will go back to their hotel, shower, and meet him at the finish to show her support, as she has done for approximately 10 years,” the spokesperson noted.
Another Vietnam War veteran, Richard Newman worked as a field surgeon. This is his 26th New York City Marathon, even after suffering a heart attack in 2015.
Now, at 75, he is completing his 75th marathon overall, and he credits his ability to do this to his wife Julie.
She once had to perform 13 minutes of CPR on him, and now Newman has become an advocate for everyone to learn this simple but effective lifesaving measure.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.