Paul Tormey plans to run this year’s TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K road race no matter what.

“I’ve run in two previous Beach to Beacons and had a lot of fun,” Tormey wrote in an e-mail. “I wanted to make sure I did it this year, partly for fun, and partly to show support for the bank and for the race.”

One small problem, though: Tormey is stationed at the Al-Faw Palace complex in Iraq with the 415th Military Intelligence Battalion, based out of Louisiana.

Still, Tormey plans to wake up at dawn on Saturday (in Iraq) and run a 10k he says is similar – sort of – to the course being run by 5,500 runners in Cape Elizabeth.

“The course has two similarities to the Cape race, the length and the water,” said Tormey. “Here, the water is a series of man-made lakes and canals surrounding the Al-Faw Palace complex. This course is very flat, and even at dawn, the temperature will be around 90 degrees.”

As a civilian, Tormey is a vice president at TD Banknorth in Maine. He first ran in the race in 2003, and again in 2004. Last year, he broke his string, though, as he was deployed to Fort Dix, N.J., before being sent to Iraq.

“Prior to being recalled, I was in the Individual Ready Reserve,” said Tormey. “I had transferred into this after ten years of reserve service.”

The IRR, said Tormey, is a pool of soldiers who do not have any training requirements, or pay or benefits, but still have time on their enlistment contracts and are subject to recall at any time.

Being attached to a unit out of Louisiana, Tormey was ribbed for never having eaten crawfish.

“They can’t believe I never ate a crawfish,” said Tormey. “I tell them we prefer the grown-up ones in Maine. They have made crock pot after crock pot of red beans and rice, so once I had my wife send down all the fixings for Maine baked beans. First, they put them on rice and then they put hot sauce on them. ‘No, no noooo!’ was all I could say.”

As far as running is concerned, Tormey still manages to train. He runs in the mornings, maybe four times a week, four miles or so at a time.

“I used to go at lunchtime,” said Tormey, “but it started getting too hot, so now I go in the morning.”

This race will not be the first run on the grounds at his attachment’s base.

“A number of ‘local’ races get run over here, some organized events, others less so,” said Tormey. “For instance, there was quite a group running the Atlanta Peachtree 10K, which was started via cell-phone by the race director in Georgia.”

The course Tormey will run is not in any immediate danger, or so Tormey says.

“I would not say imminent danger, as the whole course is ‘inside the wire’ of the post, behind (mostly) high walls,” said Tormey. “Once in a while, some rounds, small arms, rocket or mortar make it over the wall, but whoever is shooting, it can’t see what he’s shooting at, so they are not terribly accurate. Sometimes a vehicle or building is hit. You kind of put it out of your head after a while.”

Tormey’s family – his wife and two children – won’t be at the Beach to Beacon in his place, though Tormey said his daughter “is quite a little runner.” His son, Tormey said, has also taken up the sport.

“It’s been very difficult to be away from my wife and children,” admitted Tormey. “I am extremely lucky to be at a base with telephones and IM and Web cams, but still, adding them all up is still a far cry from being there. I hope to be back with them around the beginning of October.”

For now, though, the Beach to Beacon 10K, Iraq style, will have to do.


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