Marathon looks to break record and help veterans

Posted: 11:07 PM, May 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-07 04:07:24Z

A Green Bay man is trying to break a world record while helping veterans.


William Kocken’s backpack weighs in at over 100 pounds. He’s wearing it on his back during the Cellcom Green Bay marathon, and it could be his ticket to setting a Guinness World Record, as long as he finished the 26.2 miles In less than six hours, 47 minutes and three seconds.

“It's not about me breaking the world record; it's about what we can do in our community, how we can help veterans and how we can help our fellow brothers and sisters in our community,” Kocken said.


Kocken leads a group called "Fourth Hooah Wisconsin" which raises money to help local veterans. It brought in over $200,000 last year, but this year is a different approach.


"This idea came about over probably more cocktails than you're supposed to have. We were sitting up one night after one of the ruckmarches and discussing the fact that some of these records might be breakable,” said friend, Jason Braun.


That challenge is what got these two men thinking about running.

"The Military acts like a father or mother figure where they provide you meals, lodging, and clothing, so when you come off of active duty and you have to buy those things for yourself, your finances become a struggle, and that's where we find that most veterans struggle initially,” Kocken said.


The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates close to 40,000 service members are homeless. Fundraisers like these can help cut down on that number, even if it's a struggle.


"It's miserable, there's nothing about it that's fun. A lot of people ask me why do you do this and is it even healthy and the answer is probably not, it's really challenging and everything hurts, but to be able to do something for the cause, raise awareness, it's all worthwhile,” Braun said.


"It's inspiring to see and it moves people and it's not just the people that are running with the hundred pound packs that are moving, but it's every single person out there,” said Tammy Vandenbusch, communications manager of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.


After weeks of preparation, the group says, it can't wait for the race to start.


"This marathon in many ways is a metaphor in life, because there's going to be times in life for both of us where we're both ready to break and we don't want to continue, but there's no other choice,” Braun said.


The group is still raising money ahead of the Cellcom Marathon on May 20. You can still donate to help the cause.