News>Feature: Deployed Airman, wife span distance to run Disney marathon together
Lynette Traynor reacts to seeing her husband, Maj. Devin Traynor, 46th Operations Group, on a huge screen at Disney World Jan, 8. 2011. She had just completed a half marathon with him via GPS while he was serving in Iraq. They were able to see each other at the end through a video link. (Courtesy photo)
Maj. Devin Traynor, deployed to Iraq from the 46th Operations Group, speaks to his wife Lynette via a huge screen located at Disney World Jan. 8, 2011. He had just completed a half-marathon with her via GPS, while serving a year deployment in Iraq. (Courtesy photo)
by Minty Knighton
96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2011 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Major Devin Traynor, an engineer for the 46th Test Wing's Operations Group, and his wife Lynette just completed Disney's half marathon together while 7,000 miles apart Jan. 8, 2011.
Through Disney's and the United States Forces Iraq's audio visual technology, Mrs. Traynor was able to begin and finish this year's race with her husband who's deployed in Iraq.
Mrs. Traynor started her race at Disney's Epcot Park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., while Major Traynor began his in Baghdad.
"All I know, is that when I stood on stage in front of over 20,000 other runners, and was able to see and talk to my husband, that this experience will always be a highlight in my life," said Mrs. Traynor.
Major Traynor, who has been deployed for several months, participated in Disney's half marathon last year with his wife. He knew he wanted to do it again.
"In January 2010, we ran the Disney half marathon together, finishing hand-in hand," said Major Traynor. "It was an amazing experience."
The Traynors made plans to run the 2011 race until military duty put a glitch in the plans. Major Traynor wouldn't allow a 7,000 mile distance deter him. In an effort to race once again with his wife, he contacted Disney and proposed a Disney race in Baghdad.
"Getting military runners to participate was the easy part," said Major Traynor. "It's tough work rebuilding a country from the ground up ... so given the opportunity to experience a little Disney Magic and run with 27,000 great Americans back home, soldiers and civilians alike jumped at the opportunity."
After making some initial calls, it didn't seem as though Iraq's Disney marathon would happen, but Major Traynor finally got Disney's attention.
"I figured if I could get a live video link between the races, it would be a tremendous opportunity for Disney to show their support for the troops, while at the same time getting the word out to the American people back home that the military is still here defending freedom and helping rebuild a democratic Iraq," said Major Traynor.
With USF-I Public Affairs providing the video uplink and coverage, Disney agreed and provided shirts, race bibs and medals for the runners.
More than 450 runners from all services participated in the run and the Traynors fulfilled their quest in running the Disney marathon once again, maybe not hand in hand, but together.
Using their GPS watches to keep in time with one another, Mrs. Traynor finished with a time of 1:58 just ahead of her husband with a time of 2:01.
"It was an amazing experience to 'run together,'" said Mrs. Traynor. "Even though we were 7,000 miles apart, I just imagined him there with me the entire time."
1/13/2011 2:39:04 PM ET So proud to count this wonderful couple among our military family. We love you Sparky and Lynette and are so incredibly proud of you both.