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Army officer runs her 100th marathon today at Boston Marathon

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Beofra K. Butler, administrative executive officer to the commanding general, U.S. Army Forces Command, poses with her marathon medals, March 22. Butler has ran 99 marathons since starting with the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008. Around her neck are her medals from her five previous Boston Marathons. She will run her 100th race April 15 in Boston. (Eve Meinhardt, FORSCOM PAO/U.S. Army)
April 15, 2019

A Fort Bragg-based Army officer is running her 100th marathon today at the Boston Marathon, which marks her sixth time running in the event.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Beofra K. Butler, administrative executive officer to the commanding general, U.S. Army Forces Command has run in 99 marathons over the past 12 years, and Monday’s Boston Marathon marks her 100th, according to the U.S. Army.

“There’s something special about running in Boston. It’s the only race you have to qualify for to get in and after working so hard to be a part of it, you really enjoy the moment when you get there. The support of the crowd is amazing and it’s just a great place to be.”

Her first race was in 2008 when she ran 26.2 miles in the Marine Corps Marathon while stationed in Virginia.

She said she has always enjoyed running and it is something she does on a daily basis. Prior to the 2008 marathon, she had participated in shorter runs and marathons but was up to the challenge of a full marathon.

Butler recalled that she had been warned by other runners that around the 20-mile mark she would hit what marathon runners call the “wall”, but she wasn’t worried. The “wall” got its name from runners feeling like they hit a brick wall as their energy becomes depleted and they become fatigued, normally at about 20 miles into the race.

Butler said, “I had never experienced the wall and was feeling pretty great. I saw the mile markers for mile 19, then mile 20, then 21. I was feeling good and thinking to myself that maybe I avoided the wall. Then at mile 22, everything from my waist down locked up — it felt like I really did hit a wall. My muscles were in knots, my toes were cramping and every time I took a step it just hurt.”

“I wanted to cry. I knew it was just four more miles. I wobbled to the finish along with a bunch of other people doing the exact same thing,” she added.

As Butler rested that evening, she entered another marathon. She said, “I just had to do it again for myself so I could figure out how to do it without pain.”

Butler said she is now able to bypass the “wall” by pacing, patience, and practice.

“For the most part, I don’t hit a wall anymore. Now I know what that feels like and I never want to feel it again,” Butler said.

Butler runs 10 miles a day, five days a week. On Saturdays, she runs between 13 to 20 miles, and does speed running on Wednesdays.

“I just love the feeling of running,” Butler said. “It’s freedom. I don’t listen to music. I listen to my heartbeat. My footsteps. My breathing. It’s a meditation and I’m always trying to get better.”

She advises anyone who wants to run in races to find the right training plan.

“Training is a part of learning yourself. It helps you become more comfortable when you’re out there. You need to trust your training and just enjoy the moment,” she said.