2008 Army female athlete of the year wins Marine Corps Marathon 


Army Capt. Kelly Calway, first place female finisher, celebrates as she crosses the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon. (Photo Credit: Marine Lance Cpl. Clayton Filipowicz)

Lisa Ferdinando
Army News Service

Capt. Kelly Calway, who won the female division at the Marine Corps Marathon, Oct. 27, said she ran the race for all deployed service members.

Calway said she was proud to run with "Army on my chest," and for the members of her unit who are already deployed and for all soldiers and service members who are deployed.

"It just means the world to me," said Calway, who is based at Fort Carson, Colo., and is preparing to deploy soon.

She said she was "ecstatic" to be the first female to cross the finish line at the marathon.

"It was just amazing," she said.

Her time, 2:42:16, qualified her for the Olympic trials in 2016, she said.

She plans to continue to train and do a marathon or two before that time.

There was friendly ribbing at the race, she said, since it was a Marine Corps race. But her victory, she said, is for all the armed forces.

"We were all out there," she said.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos, who greeted her at the finish line, said the Marine Corps could definitely use her, she said.

"He said ‘we need to get you over to the Marines,’" Calway said.

"I thought: ‘My dad would be pretty upset if that happened,’" she said, referring to her father, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general, I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

While she doesn’t plan to follow-up on the commandant’s suggestion that she join his force, Calway said the Marine Corps has "always had a special place in my heart."

Her grandfather was a marine who fought in the Korean War, and his service encouraged her father to join the Army, she said.

The race was "definitely a tougher marathon" for her, she said, since she didn’t get in as much training as she wanted.

But she said that after she passed a teammate early in the race, the only woman in front of her, she knew she would clinch the top spot for the women.

A great source of strength for her came from the wounded warriors who were participating, she said.

They cheered her on and she encouraged them throughout the 26.2 mile race.

"They have been through so much and they just have this positive, awesome outlook that is so inspiring," she said.

During the last stretch of the race, which is uphill, she was side-by-side with a wheelchair athlete, she said.

"It’s brutal to run up a hill at 26 miles," she said.

Watching him work hard to conquer the hill motivated her, she said.

"I just used his strength to get up that hill and get to the finish line," she said. "It was just really inspiring, especially at that moment, it was really tough."

Calway, who was the 2008 Army Athlete of the Year, and a member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program from 2010 to 2012, said one of her favorite races is the Army Ten-Miler.

She placed first in the female military category at this year’s run Oct. 20.

"I’ll definitely be out there for the next Ten-Miler. I love that race," she said.

Calway said she began running at eight years old. Joining running teams wherever she lived was a great way for her to have a group of friends as she moved around as a military child, she said.

She has received tremendous support from her family and friends throughout the years, she said, and they attend her races and cheer her on along the route.

The 29-year old said flexibility is the key as she balances the multiple roles of being an athlete, a mother, a soldier, and a wife to a fellow Army officer.

Every time she runs a race, she is thinking about her six-year-old daughter, "the coolest kid ever," she said.

Hard work also pays off, she said.

"It’s a lot to juggle, but I don’t think I’d be the runner I am today without all of those things," she said. "I’m so blessed to have an awesome family too that really supports me."