March 6 deadline for 2013 Bataan Memorial Death March

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Thousands of soldiers and civilians will converge at White Sands Missile Range on March 17 to share the common experiences of blisters, sore muscles and exhaustion as they undertake the Bataan Memorial Death March.

Now entering its 24th year, the memorial march honors the soldiers who defended the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the harbor-defense forts of the Philippines at the onset of World War II. They fought in a malaria-infested region, surviving on half- or quarter-rations, with little or no medical care, outdated equipment and virtually no air support.

On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers surrendered to Japanese forces. They were marched for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles. Thousands died. Those who survived this forced march faced death or years of hardship in prisoner-of-war camps.

The 26.2-mile Bataan Memorial Death March is considered by many to be one of the toughest marathon-length events in the nation. Marchers compete in teams or individually. Some compete in the "heavy" division carrying 35-pound rucksacks. There is also a 14.2-mile noncompetitive honorary route.

Deadline for online registration is midnight March 6. No on-site registration or late registrations will be accepted after this date.

Training recommendations can be found at www.bataanmarch.com.

All registered participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, a commemorative dog tag, a commemorative timing chip, certificate, drawstring sports bag and postevent meal.

For more information about the march, call the White Sands Missile Range Community Events Office at 575-678-1256 or 575-678-2887.