The war in Afghanistan is about as far as you can get from the annual springtime Redbud Classic through Nichols Hills. And that is exactly why soldiers say they are doing it.
Some of Oklahoma's Finest will be running the Redbud Classic this year while they are in Afghanistan. For the first time, around 50 soldiers from four bases across Afghanistan will be running the mirror race. Soldiers say it's a big morale booster for those serving and their loved ones.
"Just something to remind us of home," said Sgt. Chad Beals, who came up with the idea. "We're getting through the halfway point of our tour. We're getting homesick, so we're trying to do things that remind us of home,"
So Beals sent an email to Redbud organizers.
"At first I was like ‘You get on-line,' and then I was like ‘You're in Afghanistan? Well yeah, let's help you out here'," said Redbud Executive Director, Patty Anthony.
From there the idea blossomed. Patty Anthony and her crew have sent soldiers T-shirts, bibs and race day starting line banners, and of course waved all race fees. So even though the race course may be a lot different, race organizers have tried to make it as much like home as possible.
"Personally it's just kind of touched my heart to know that this is something we can do for people who are over there risking their lives every day," said Suzanne Chew, Redbud PR Coordinator.
And now even some of the soldiers' wives and girlfriends will be running the race too.
"I'm excited for us to be able to do something simultaneously, essentially you know being close to 7000 miles apart," said Capt. Jonathan Naber.
Those soldiers are supposed to come home this fall. The Redbud is set for April 6 and 7, and there's still time to register.
Learn more about this year's race.