NEW YORK — The Estonian president had four marathons under her belt in 2018 and was determined to add Sunday’s New York City Marathon to that list.
As a foreign leader, however, Kersti Kaljulaid couldn’t run alone.
That’s why a U.S. Secret Service agent and officer had to hit the pavement with her.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, the two were given a full rundown. This job would mean running by her side, up hills, across bridges, through a swarm of more than 50,000 runners and a million spectators for a full 26 miles, all the while armed and carrying equipment.
This would seem like an insurmountable task to many, but, for Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mason Brayman and Lieutenant Bill Uher, it’s all in a day’s work.
Brayman and Uher are, afterall, marathon runners too.
The on-the-job marathon would turn out to be Brayman’s 56th marathon and Uher’s 28th.
The two learned that they would need to make the run only four days before the race, but they fortunately had already started training.
Uher, who won the 2012 George Washington marathon, was tipped off about the possible assignment back in July.
“I said I’d be ready if the Estonian President decided to run the race,” said Uher. “That potential gave me a good excuse to get out there and train.”
Brayman was already getting his miles in ahead of the Philadelphia Marathan set for Nov. 18.
On the day of the race, he had been planning a 16 miles run.
“I just added 10 miles to my training day,” said Brayman with a shrug, according to the news release.
Ahead of the race, the two came to New York City the day before for a briefing from President Kaljulaid’s Secret Service protection detail. They had to know any potential threats, learn the route and establish detail contingency plans should anything go awry.
“A lot can go wrong in 26 miles, even without added concerns about protecting a dignitary,” said Brayman in a news release. “In any race, there could be medical emergencies or physical breakdown due to being ill prepared.”
While they may not have won the marathon, they completed their race and their mission on Sunday with an unharmed Estonian president and a job well done.
Braymen is an Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Office of Communication and Media Relations.
Lieutenant Uher is with the Uniformed Division’s Emergency Response Team.
Both are stationed in Washington, D.C.