ANCHORAGE – In a first-of-its-kind effort for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half-Marathon, members of the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from nearby Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson successfully ran the event concurrently with the real race, while on deployment in Southwest Asia.

Forty airmen from the elite squadron – nicknamed the Dicemen Raptors – hit the dirt at their undisclosed location for a timed 5-kilometer race on June 18 at 9 pm Gulf Time, with the winner clocking 18 minutes, 58 seconds.

“We had great participation out here despite the mid-90s temps and (high) humidity,” said Lt. Col. Dave ‘Zeke’ Shalicky, who finished third. “Three of my pilots were running at the exact time their wives were running in Alaska. It was a great way for us to feel connected with everyone back home.”

Deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Dicemen Raptors are one of the longest continuously serving squadrons in the U.S. Air Force, with a lineage that dates back to World War I. Sporting the second-highest heritage score among all Air Force units, today the squadron flies the highly advanced F-22.

The UAA Athletic Department – which has coordinated the marathon since 2001 – sent race t-shirts and medals from the actual race, while a U.S. flag that was flown on a Raptor combat mission was presented during the National Anthem at the Delaney Park Strip on race day.

“In all of our years of putting on this marathon, this is one of the coolest things we have done,” said longtime race director Michael Friess. “It was an honor to work with our friends at JBER and witness the kind of coordination and cooperation that makes our military so special.”