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When Kathryn Lindquist raced the Currahee Challenge in 2013, she tackled the 6-mile course and came in second. The 23-year-old from Cary, N.C., was aware beforehand that the race took place on World War II training grounds featured in the book Band of Brothers—but she didn’t realize how strongly the experience would impact her.
A self-described “history buff,” the race sparked a mission for Lindquist. She knew she wanted to do something to honor WWII veterans while helping to preserve Camp Toccoa at Currahee. So she went from following soldiers’ footsteps on U.S. soil to retracing their battle steps in Europe.
After less than a year of planning, Lindquist took a hiatus from her job at running stores in the Raleigh area to cover 850 miles from the beaches of Normandy all the way to Germany. She called her journey and fundraiser “Run for Currahee” as she went public on her website (runforcurrahee.com).
In preparation, Lindquist worked up to running 80-mile weeks. She also started researching the European route. Due to the combination of roads and different trails, she says, “I had a whole arsenal of shoes.” She ran mostly in Hokas (Bondi and Stinson Lite), but she also rotated in the Brooks Launch 2, Salomon S-Lab and Saucony Kinvara.
It took 58 days to run to Kehlstein mountain in Berchtesgaden, Germany, via the same route as Allied troops, including the 101st Airborne Division and men from Camp Toccoa. Seventy years after they seized the mountain in April 1945, Lindquist is the first person known to retrace the entire route on foot.