All-American Marathon unites Fayetteville community

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Thousands of runners are expected to compete.

Runners are starting to pick up their packets Friday night for Sunday's All-American Marathon in Fayetteville."

Thousands of runners are expected to compete in the marathon, half marathon and 5K races through Fayetteville and Fort Bragg.

"It's really going to be challenging," said Sgt. First Class Alexander Burnett.

Perhaps that's because Burnett will carry a 50-pound military rucksack on his back during Sunday's Mike to Mike Half Marathon. He says he's used to it.

"I've done 31 miles with a full ruck," Burnett said. The 82nd Airborne Soldier said he enjoys long-distance hikes while carrying weight on his back.

At last year's marathon, a team of British soldiers carried their version of military backpacks, during the All-American 26.2-mile marathon. Again this year, dozens of active duty and retired soldiers expect to join the nearly 4,000 pairs of feet pounding Fayetteville streets.

Burnett said he ran in this year's Krispy Kreme Challenge and a grueling 124-mile march in the Netherlands.

Sunday, he will run the half-marathon with his sister. He said she's a runner, not a rucker.

"Honestly, she have never done long-distance running," Burnett said. "Just started a few months ago. She is doing baby steps."

The good big brother will be with her. With a lot of 82nd Airborne pride.

"It's an amazing chance and to have something like this happen in Fayetteville, it's good not just for the soldiers but the entire community," Burnett said.

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