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Cianbro Runners Take Part in American Odyssey Marathon

It’s billed as “A Race Through History,” a 200-mile relay marathon from the Gettysburg battlefield to Washington, D.C. 

Cianbro Engineers Mack Susi and Len Janssen joined one of two teams organized by the owners of The Wharf on the D.C. Waterfront, where Cianbro is in the midst of a multi-year revitalization project. Each member of the 12-person teams ran an average of 17 miles apiece against more than 100 other teams from around the nation. The route took competitors west from Gettysburg, then south to the Antietam battlefield, across the Appalachians for a spell, and eventually onto the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Tow Path (a section of which Cianbro repaired in a recent landmark project) before reaching the finish line at The Wharf. Two charities were beneficiaries of the effort. 

“There were two vans of six people for each team,” Len explained. “Each van-load of team members would run their respective legs then jump ahead to their next starting position. Each leg amounted to some intense hours of running followed by rest, sleep, and sore limbs.”

“It was a very unique experience, and it really gives us an appreciation for everyone else that we work with,” said Mack.  “It was a good way to bond with the people we are working with and to get to know them away from the jobsite.”

The Cianbro runners came in at a respectable 50th out of the 105-team field, but were most proud of having finished ahead of the other Wharf team in an example of a friendly rivalry. When asked if they would re-enlist for the race next year, Len and Mack had different perspectives.

“I had the opportunity to run through Antietam battlefield at 2 a.m.,” said Len. “That was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But the race is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. About halfway through, I told Mack, ‘I don’t think I’ll do this next year.’ As soon as we finished, though, I started looking forward to it for 2016.” 

Mack’s chuckling response: “I’m still sore, so that’s still up in the air for me.” 

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