Military veterans prepare for annual ‘Relays for Heroes’ race

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan -- Two women -- military veterans -- are gearing up for a 12-hour marathon relay run this weekend for a good cause -- to raise funds for traumatic brain injury research and treatment, the most prevalent injury impacting veterans of the Iraq war.

Amanda Burrill is a Navy veteran who suffered two brain injuries requiring a total of 16 surgeries in all. Finally out of rehab, she's excited about being able to take part in this year's relay.

"I haven't been able to race for three years," Burrill said. "Coming out to do this for a brain injury cause .. with some fellow lady vets .. makes it that much more special."

Burrill is part of a special group of female veterans who call themselves 'Runaway Rosies.' There are eight of them, and they're all participating in the 5-mile relay for heroes.

Carolyn Petschler served a 4-year stint in the Navy and participated in flight missions.

"The 8-member team is a mix of women veterans who have served from pre- 9/11 and post- 9/11," Petschler said. "There are woman who suffered from brain injuries to veterans like myself who served and did not injured."

Another member of Runaway Rosies is Jessica Apgar, who believes you have to climb before you run, works out hard to get in shape for the 12-hour relay -- which is now in its third year.

For these intrepid runners, it's a race for a good cause, but not one whose success is measured by crossing the finish line

We're not racing this to try and win, we're doing this to bring awareness to brain injuries, and also to have some camaraderie as female veterans," Burrill said.

These Runaway Rosies will begin their relay at 8 am. Saturday from the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Their goal is to raise $150,000 for traumatic brain injury research and treatment. If you want to sponsor a team or a runner, or simply want more information, go to

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