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Bomb-suit clad Navy officer finishes grueling half-marathon

The Bomb Suit Half Marathon

The Bomb Suit Half Marathon

It’s now in the books: Navy Lt. Daniel Glenn finished a half-marathon in four hours and fifty-one minutes — wearing an 85-pound bomb suit — and then got down and did 26-pushups.

Yeah, that’s right — the 28-year-old Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer and distance athlete and former world record holder in running a mile in a bomb suit accomplished the feat May 15 during the at the Marine Corps Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VirginiaVa.

Glenn undertook the grueling run to set out to accomplish the feat to benefit wounded warriors and as such, says he never doubted his mental resolve to finish the race — but he says those 13.1 miles weren't a walk in the park. acknowleges as the time went on, he was worried others might try to stop his grueling attempt as he struggled along the course before he’d be able to complete it.. 

"It was pretty hellish, to be honest," Glenn told Navy Times three days afterwards. "As the race went on, my body was trying to shut me down and very much trying to veto my decision to keep walking in an 85-pound bomb suit."

Wearing the suit, Glenn says his total weight was over 300 pounds and early on in the race, that extra weight and the heat he was generating in the suit didn't make it a very comfortable race.

With the suit, my combined weight was 300 pounds and a lot of that was on my shoulders which were locking up rather seriously.

"I was basically out of breath the whole time," Glenn recalled. "My middle back was sore from the exertion of just breathing, as breathing had become so difficult and I had been breathing so hard for so long — at one point I just had to focus on breathing."

He said that he’d started the race walking at a pretty good clip, but over time he said his pace got slower and slower — but he never let his will to push on wane at all.

"It was never a question whether I was going to finish. It never occurred to me that quitting was even an option."

At one point in the race, a man approached Glenn with an offer. Glenn said that approached him as he took a break or as Glenn described it as he was "slumped over, hanging onto a wall and breathing heavy and just trying to catch my breath and just generally in a lot of pain."

But what the man had to say, Glenn didn't want to hear.

"He said that we could turn this into a relay because I was having a tough time," he recalled. "I pushed him away from me and told him not to say that again — don't suggest that quitting is an option. It wasn't a thought in my mind on Sunday. I knew I was going to finish."

And after he crossed the finish line he was asked what was tougher for him — finishing an Ironman triathlon or this race.

"Are you kidding? This was WAY harder than the Ironman," Glenn recalls saying. "This definitely ranks up there as one of the most difficult things that I've ever done."

Having once set the world record for running a mile in a bomb suit, at 8minutes and 30 seconds he said he didn’t yet have a way of comparing the two feats, yet

"The mile was a different kind of hard — running it in eight minutes 30 [seconds], that was brutally tough, but it was so acute," he said.  "This was certainly was a marathon and was just so grueling and some part of me wanted it to be over so badly it was all about finding a way to keep stepping, don’t stop. That was my mental talk track — just keep going, don’t stop just push."

Though quitting wasn’t an option in his mind, As the hours dragged on, he was afraid the might be forced by race or law enforcement officials to abandon the effort. because he was taking too long. 

"I told myself that the only way I'll be stopping is if I'm arrested by the police or passed out in ambulance," he said.  "That's the only way you'll get me off the course without me completing it."

Though there were physical factors, He had a team that kept him supplied with fluids and periodic ice packs inside the suit to cool him. His mind was a battleground., he said keeping going was a constant mental battle with himself.   

"Towards the end, my world was getting very small, my focus was very intense as I was telling myself that I just needed to keep walking, keep moving," he said. "I was setting little goals — to the end of a block or the top of a hill and then I can rest a bit — It was getting very challenging to keep going. Sweat was just pouring out of the suit's sleeves — I was waving hi to people and shooting little jets of sweat out."

In the end, he found himself channeling his thoughts and thinking about the EOD wounded warriors for whom he had raised money. was racing money by making this attempt.  

"I was channeling that strength thinking about when many of my brothers were coming home in such harder and spiritually difficult circumstances," Glenn said. "They were injured, with Purple Hearts and many having experienced amputations  — I saw those guys being so unflappable about it."

Watching them work to recover, he said, had taught him perseverance and what it meant — now he was using that to finish his race.

Watching the video of Glenn's finish, you'd never know he had a tough moment — and that, he said, was because of the reception that came as he approached the finish line.

"At the end I was coming in way over their time limit, they gave me dedicated medical support because they weren't sure I was going to make it," he said. "As I got closer to the finish, I had an entourage, other finishers came back out on the course and walked me in from the aid stations. It was just incredible and phenomenal — that's the military brotherhood right here."

In the video, Marines at the finish run towards the plodding Glenn, who takes and American flag from someone and trots starts trotting to the finish as cheers erupted from the crowd. 

"I was running in with the flag and there were probably 30 or 40 Marines behind me, as well as other supporters and my medical support crew," he said. "We were all just running it in and it was awesome it was a dynamite feeling."

But he wasn’t done, yet

As a ritual personal tradition when he finishes distance events, Glenn removed the jacket and helmet and dropped in place to do pushups. Many Marines encircled Glenn and followed suit.

"The Marines always say it's 25 for Chesty," Glenn said. "I have my own reasons, but mostly I do it as  a reminder that no matter how tough it's been or how tired I am, I can always do more."

Unofficially, He believes he's set a new world’s record and plans to petition the Guinness Book of World Records to recognize it. 

"I don't think anyone else has done this," he said. "So, for now, 4:51 — that's the record because there was no record before."

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