34-Mile Memorial Birthday Walk – May 16, 2015

For the fifth year in a row, we will hold a memorial walk in Haleyville on May 16, 2015, in Mark’s honor. This is the same day as the 5k/10k/half race (you can’t do the walk and the race). For anyone who wants to participate, it will begin 6:00 am and will be a continuous 34 miles in honor of Mark’s 34th birthday, which is May 15.

The route will begin and end at Haleyville High School. This is a personal walk for me and it’s not about the money or participants; it’s about remembering our brother on his birthday, and putting myself thru some pain in his honor. We welcome anyone who wants to participate. The entry fee is $40 and supports The Mark Forester Foundation. We will carry the same baton as previous years. We anticipate the walk taking about 13 hours. There will be staging areas every 5 to 7 miles with water. The route will be posted in the coming months, before the walk.

The walk will include a stop at Mark’s grave where we will perform Memorial Push-ups. Then a pass by the flag pole in front of our parent’s house. The flag atop the pole has special meaning because it’s the flag that Lt. Col. Frank Latt had in the cockpit with him while providing Mark air support on his final battle. Frank presented this flag to us shortly after his return from deployment (which was captured on Lifetime’s “Coming Home” show in 2011).

Haleyville High School
2001 20th Street
Haleyville, AL 35565


**NOTICE: online registration has ended. You can still register day of walk, but remember we leave at 6:00 sharp.**

Click HERE to register via Active.com

**Note: Last day to register is May 10. If you register after May 5, you may not receive a shirt. Limited number of shirts will be ordered.**

T-shirts are provided by T-Riffic Tees. We thank them for their support.

The below picture is the group before starting at 6:00 am last year. It was in the 40’s and raining, but finally cleared up and was perfect weather after lunch.

As usual, here are some tips to prepare for the walk, because don’t fool yourself and just show up thinking you can walk 34 miles. You need to train and know that your shoes and socks will work. Walking seems very easy, but I can assure you it’s not if you’re not prepared:

From Mark’s teammate Matt Mueller:

1. Start using the shoes/boots that you plan on using for the Ruck March, NOW!!!!! This also applies to pants, shorts, shirts, cold/hot weather gear you plan on wearing. Don’t let there be any surprises pop-up 10-15 miles into the march. DO NOT SHOW UP TO THE MARCH WITH UNTESTED GEAR, you WILL pay the price if you do.

2. Start using the socks you plan on marching with, figure out what works for you i.e. wool socks with a liner, ankle socks, or two pair of liners. Whatever you like, USE IT, TRAIN WITH IT.

3. BACKPACK. If you plan on carrying one, just as the first 2 tips, start using it during your training NOW. NO SURPRISES.

4. Start putting together a first aid/BLISTER kit, some suggestions include, but not limited to; mole skin, band aids, blister patches, Vaseline, sunscreen, Chapstick. As you continue training you will probably start to think of things to add. Also get smart on blister treatment, you can Google it, there will be a lot of guys that can help you during the march but it’s always nice to be self-sufficient if needed.

5. When training for the march, Never run or jog with your pack. Have fun training, get outside, crosstrain, train your whole body. Slowly work up to the march. Start with lower mileage and work up, 2-3 marches a week at varying distances will be good, once again, HAVE FUN.

6. If you want to get really aggressive about training there are a couple web sites that have some really good workouts for overall fitness: crossfit.com crossfitendurance.com, and militaryathlete.com

7. FOOD; during the march you will want to snack on a variety of food/power gels/beef jerky/snacks, start eating and experimenting with the snacks you like during training, this will identify any bowel problems you might or might not have while walking 34 miles at one time. Diarrhea/upset stomach is not your friend during a ruck march.


Here are a few more specifics and suggestions about the walk:

-To be clear, the Half/10k/5k/fun run race is still on too. The first race doesn’t begin until 8:00 am. You CAN’T participate in the walk and the run. They are completely separate events
-Parking for the walk will be at the Haleyville High School main lot near the electronic sign
-If you plan to participate, please register on line so that we can prepare adequately. Registration link is above
-Begins at 6:00 am at electronic sign at Haleyville High School. Please be there early to get your t-shirt.
-There will be staging areas every 5-7 miles to eat a snack, drink, change socks, etc. We anticipate making each stop at the staging areas as quick as possible–10-15 minutes
-We will have a police escort. If anyone gets too far behind the group, they will need to be picked up by the trailing car and taken to the next staging area. If we get too spread out, the police are concerned for our safety
-We suggest bringing socks to change at every staging area
-If you have valuables and don’t know where to keep them, you can put them in the trailing car, which will follow the group the entire walk
-You need to bring your own blister kit and first aid kit. Also, if you want power/energy bars, you will need to bring your own. We can only provide water, Gatorade, some fruit, and lunch
-The weather this time of year can be very comfortable or hot; but I’d recommend to be prepared for heat and humidity (although last year was in the 40’s and topped out in 60’s)

Below are some pictures from last year:

33 miles–Done.

Video of Johnnie Yellock II leading us in Memorial Push-ups last year, stop 1:

Click file below to view this year’s walk route: