Deployment No Obstacle For Marathon Champ

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 27, 2012
  • Updated Dec. 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM UTC
Captain Varinka Barbini Ensminger. Photo:

The oppressive heat and inherent dangers of the mission aren’t stopping her.

For soldiers serving in war zones overseas, the concept of marathon training may seem completely unreasonable.

But not for Captain Varinka Barbini Ensminger. The 32-year-old from the Kentucky National Guard is a medical services officer supporting the Kandahar Agri-business Development Team in Afghanistan.

And when she’s not putting in long hours there, Captain Ensminger is doing something else: running.

At the Forward Operating Base, or FOB, Pasab, she puts in between 30-40 miles per week.

At this year’s FOB’s Army 10-mile shadow run, Ensminger won it outright in 64 minutes, 46 seconds.Earlier in April she ran a marathon, by herself, in 90-degree temperatures in order to raise $1,500 for the Team Hoyt Foundation.

“The money raised will go toward buying specialized equipment and voice-operated wheelchairs for other athletes,” she said.

Captain Ensminger was recently named to be one of the 2013 coaches for Team Hoyt at the annual Boston Marathon.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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