Fort Bragg hosts fun walk/run event for Families
Soldiers, Family members and civilians start the Fort Bragg Family Fun 5K Walk/Run at 8 a.m., Saturday at Hedrick Stadium. More than 200 people participated in the event, co-sponsored by the Fort Bragg Suicide Prevention Program.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 200 joggers, bikers, runners and strollers lined up at Hedrick Stadium to participate in the first Fort Bragg Family Fun 5K Walk/Run at 8 a.m., Saturday. Families and individuals participated in the non-competitive event.

"I think it's wonderful. I think it's a great way to instill the fitness culture for people who live and work on Fort Bragg. No competition, you come out and see friends. You can walk, you can run, you can walk and run. Bring your babies, strollers, dogs, everything, so it's kind of neat," said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg commanding general. Helmick and other senior leaders also joined in the fun.

The run was co-sponsored by the Suicide Prevention Program, said Larry Holland, Suicide Prevention Program manager. The program is under the Directorate of Human Resources Army Substance Abuse Program.

"We got to be lucky and especially since this month is suicide prevention month, we got to be a part of the first one," said Holland.

Other agencies will sponsor the 5K Walk/Run every fourth Saturday and different units will be responsible for the logistics, he added.

Brian Andes, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Judge Advocate Office, was the first one to cross the finish line. "The route is great," he said. "I'll be back, it's good training."

Jose Cruz, XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters and Headquarters Company, ran next to his wife, Yezenia. His son, Ian, 4, got the prime spot, sitting on Cruz' shoulders during the run. "It was a great opportunity to have Family time," said Cruz.

Contestants could replenish their energy with drinks and fruit in tents in the middle of the stadium. The Suicide Prevention Program also had a booth set up with information about how to help troubled friends and Family.

Angelica Conbesaagedra, along with her daughter, Anamaria Bailey, 8, and son, Isaiah Bailey, 9, rested on the grass, watching runners and walkers cross the finish line.

"That is the longest run I've ever done in my life," said Isaiah, who is about to turn 10. Anamaria said her favorite part of the event was the start. Her brother's favorite part was the finish "because of victory." Robert Bailey, a Soldier with United States Army Special Operations Command, said he enjoyed the morning with his Family.

"It's great that they're getting the (units and) Families together."

Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg command sergeant major, also thought the event was a success.

"I thought it would take over time to build to this (number) and more. We started one at Fort Benning, Georgia. We started with 14. We continued them every month and built it up to 400 a month," he said.

Rice said there's no reason for anyone not to participate since strollers, children's bicycles and dogs are allowed and encouraged to come and have fun.

"One of the Families I ran with thought it was a great opportunity for their Family to do something together. Bring your Family out and have some fun. We're promoting health and fitness. More importantly, it protects them," said Rice.

The next Fort Bragg Family Fun 5K Walk/Run will be Oct. 30. For more information, call 396-1217.

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