Service members and civilians from all over Contingency Operating Base Basra turned out for an 8-kilometer run to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention.

"I usually do all the runs," said Sgt. Sue Ellen Herrera, orderly room noncommissioned officer in charge for Signal Company, 1st Infantry Division, the first female to cross the finish line.

Still, the assault prevention message behind this run made it something more significant, the San Angelo, Texas, native said.

"I think it's something we should all stand up for, not allow it, and let people know that we're not going to tolerate it," Herrera said.

With a final time of 38:27, Herrera said she does not concentrate specifically on running outside of normal physical fitness training sessions. Still, she enjoys running and sees it as a form of stress relief.

"It gets you out of everything that's going on around you, takes you to a different zone," she said.

The overall winner, Isiah Mamai, a guard with the security firm Saber International, finished with a time of 27:10. His main goal in running was to see what his time would be, Mamai said, as this was his first 8K.

Mamai is fairly well-known around COB Basra by now for his repeated successes in races, including his winning of the Marathon held in November. Like his past races, there was not another competitor in site behind him when Mamai crossed the 8K finish.

"I had the motivation of winning," he said with a grin moments after the race.

For others, the race was simply a chance to get out and spend time with their comrades in arms.

Sgt. Shain Matthew Hammons, NCOIC of the COB Basra Education Center and native of Kansas City, Mo., said he was "drug out of bed" by Sgt. Brooke Nichole Schiebel, a medic from Auburn, Calif., Headquarters Support Co., Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div., to run the race.

It had been weeks since Hammons had run at all, Schiebel said. Still, Hammons said he was glad he came out and that the experience will motivate him to run more.

"It was fun. I was dying there for a bit, but I stuck through and finished pretty strong," he said. "I'm pretty sure I'll come out for other races; I think she's got me hooked."

Some of the division equal opportunity staff members were out running too.

"We want to be out here and be a part of the event to show people that it's not just about the talk, but that we represent everyone, and we're about the walk," said Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Jordan, equal opportunity advisor for the 1st Inf. Div. and a St. Louis native.

But it was no walk for Jordan or Maj. Christine Pacheco, Equal Opportunity Program manager for the 1st Inf. Div. and a Manhattan, Kan. resident, who ran the race together.

"As much as possible, we try make sure that we all participate in every single event that they have here at COB Basra," Pacheco said of the EO office. "It's all about support and being there to show our faith and let them know that we are here for them."

Being visible is important to their job, Jordan said, so that Soldiers and leaders know who to go to and feel comfortable approaching them.

"We are showing them that we are strong as one," Jordan said. "We are here as one team, one fight, especially when it comes to sexual assault and sexual harassment."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16