Tara Carr prepares for Monday's Great Aloha Run with a jog around Schofield Barracks.

Aloha, Afghanistan

They may be oceans apart,
but Tara and Tony Carr
both take part in the
Great Aloha Run

Tara Carr misses her husband's laugh, their daily conversations and the quality time they spent together. Lt. Col. Tony Carr was deployed with the 25th Military Police Battalion in December and will remain in Afghanistan for the next few months.

Family Fitness Expo

Health exhibits in conjunction with Monday's 7 a.m. Great Aloha Run from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium:

Place: Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall
Time: 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $4 general; $3 for 65 and older, military and children 7 to 12
Information: www.GreatAlohaRun.com
Note: The expo is the last place to sign up for the run. The entry fee: $40 general, and $18 for keiki under 12 years old, and those older than 65. Cash payment only.

It is the simple things about coupledom most people take for granted that Tara misses the most, like running together and hopping into the ocean to cool off afterward.

"He would have to get me up in the morning," she said. "Now, it's hard to get out of bed. He left and now I run by myself. I'm buddy-less."

Carr has adjusted her schedule in her husband's absence and now runs during her lunch hour. The routine is comforting. "It kinda keeps you going."

Both Carrs are participating in the annual Great Aloha Run, a fund-raiser for 100 local charitable organizations. The big difference -- the Carrs' races are in separate locations, oceans apart.

Tony ran in the race in Afghanistan late last month. And Tara will run it on Monday, Presidents Day.

Tony did not have the warm and sunny conditions of Hawaii. The Afghanistan race was held in temperatures below zero with wind chill. "(He) said it was the coldest day. He felt like his lungs were bursting," Tara said.

About 2,000 soldiers put away their weapons and ran in formation or as individuals to raise money for Afghan charities, including an orphanage in downtown Afghanistan. "Great Aloha Run -- Afghanistan" banners, lights, medical and water points were set up for the race. T-shirts and numbers were also shipped to participants.

"We decided to do the Aloha Run in Afghanistan because the numbers (of local runners) were down. More than 5,000 soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan," said Kathleen Turner, Army Hawaii public affairs officer.

Soldiers from 125th Military Intelligence Battalion hold their company guidon high as they cross the finish line at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, during the Great Aloha Run. The race took place last month -- in advance of the Hawaii event set for Monday.

Hawaii soldiers and Marines run the Great Aloha Run at Forward Operating Base Salerno near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

"We still wanted to show our support for Carole Kai and the wonderful charities. It also breaks up the monotony for the troops and makes them feel closer to home."

Carr is thankful for the support she has received in her husband's absence. The Family Readiness Groups have really pulled together, she said. "We meet on a regular basis. It's good fellowship ... we have dinners, catch up and play games. It's amazing to see the strength of a lot of these people. I don't have to have a pity party all the time ... I'm not alone."

Teleconferencing also helps bridge the gap between home and the war zone.

"A lot of spouses have bought Web cams," said Turner, whose husband is also in the Middle East. With the Internet, people no longer need to pray for a letter or phone call, she said.

Carr, married for nearly two years and separated by war for a year, maintains regular communication with Tony, including the Valentine's Day call she received during our interview.

"Sometimes I have slow days and just wish he were here. I don't open up the door and let the breeze in. I hibernate until morning," she said, counting the days until his return.

Meanwhile, she continues to make plans for his return. The couple also enjoys bike rides, hiking and other outdoor activities, so she says, "I plan on getting a kayak so we can enjoy that together too."

"He would have to get me up in the morning. Now, it's hard to get out of bed. He left and now I run by myself. I'm buddy-less." --Tara Carr, speaking about her husand, Tony, who is deployed with the 25th Military Police Battalion in Afghanistan

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