Army veteran finally gets to run
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 14, 2006
By Josh Petrie
During a military career that spanned 20 years, Eddie Hahn registered twice for the Crater Lake Rim Runs marathon. Both times, he was called to duty right before the race.
But now that his service in the U.S. Army is complete, Hahn, 40, finally had his chance to run Saturday morning.
He completed the marathon in 5 hours, 17 minutes and 57 seconds, but the time was irrelevant.
What was important was finally being able to compete at a race he had wanted to run for years.
“It was beautiful. Probably one of the most scenic courses I’ve ran,” Hahn said. “Aesthetic would probably be the word for it. You earn your views.”
The first time Hahn entered the race, he had to pull out because he was working as a recruiter in Eugene.
“It was really like 24/7 because you’ve got to talk to kids on the weekends and stuff like that, especially if your numbers are low,” Hahn said. “That was the only job in the Army where I could show up at 9 in the morning every day, but the catch was I had to be in there until 9 at night.”
The next time, he had even more pressing issues.
Hahn was sent to Fort Polk, La., to prepare for the possibility of being sent to battle in Iraq. However, Hahn stayed in the states.
“We had to go to this joint readiness training center,” he said. “Stuff like that comes up, and you’ve got to do your training.” When he retired in May as a supply sergeant, Hahn contacted Rim Runs race director Bob Freirich and inquired about competing in the marathon.
“Eddie had e-mailed me first. He told me he was trying to do this run,” Freirich said. “He had entered it two times, but something always comes up.
“He sent me pictures of his family, and it was a nice thing. Two people tend to hook up over strange things.”
Freirich not only made sure Hahn was entered in the race, but he also waived the entry fee and gave him number 1.
“He sounded very sincere and really wanted to go,” Freirich said. “The guy was saving our way of life, so come on, we had to do something.”
After getting into the race, Hahn drove about 1,000 miles from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
“I get this envelope in the mail about a month and a half ago with the pre-race instructions and the number 1,” Hahn said. “I was like, ‘The guy went way out of his way, he issued me number 1, I’m coming up here and I’m going to do this, no matter what.’
“I said, ‘Look, I’ve got a reputation. I’ve got to at least finish the race.’ “