Locals participate in Bataan marathon at White Sands

From left to right: Randy Smith (Village of AF IT person), John Matula (Village of AF police officer), Rhonda Hicks (hard working mom and volunteer) and Tom Hicks (State police officer). Not pictured: Steve Mulkey (State police officer). (Photo provided)

By Jeannie Smith

Five Moreno Valley residents participated in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands last Sunday (March 20). All finished.

Steve Mulkey ran the 26.2 miles (light category) while Randy Smith, John Matula and Tom Hicks walked carrying a 35+ pound rucksack (heavy category). Rhonda Hicks also completed the 26.2 miles.


There are two individual categories (“light” and “heavy”) and one team category, and two divisions: civilian and military. In the light category, runners may wear standard distance-running apparel; in the heavy division they must carry a minimum of 35 lb (16 kg) in rucksacks or backpacks in addition to any consumables.

According to Wikipedia, the Bataan Memorial Death March,, held at White Sands Missile Range, is an annual commemoration of the Bataan Death March {from WWII} and is attended by survivors of the march, along with thousands of supporters from around the world. Held annually since 1990, this is a full marathon, with a 15 mi (24 km) run for those who do not wish to run the full course, covering paved road and sandy trails. It is regarded by Marathon Guide as one of the top 30 marathons in the U.S.[1][2]

Several surviving Bataan prisoners usually await the competitors to congratulate them on completing the grueling march. Many injured veterans including some amputees attend to march as well.