Commentary: More running events possible with unit partners
October 8, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Oct. 7, 2010) - It all began with some questions in April.
Why doesn't Fort Leavenworth conduct a half marathon' Why are other camps, posts and stations across Installation Management Command conducting them and not us'
These questions were asked of Glenn Hewitt, acting director of Fort Leavenworth's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
His answer to his staff, "Go for it."
On Oct. 2, runners ages 9 to 61 set out to attack the grueling, first-ever Combined Arms Center Special Troops Battalion/FMWR Half Marathon 5k and 10k race.
Lt. Col. Tory Scott, commander of CAC Special Troops Battalion, whose staff partnered with FMWR for the event, said in the opening ceremony, "Welcome to history."
The event also points out an IMCOM and Fort Leavenworth "best practice." This is summarized as FMWR establishing partnerships with military organizations as partners to our running events. These partnerships are of great value as they have allowed FMWR staff the ability to facilitate a greater operational tempo with less non-appropriated funding.
Our partnership vision was for FMWR to provide the technical expertise - three or four staff members - to conduct an event; staff the event with necessary personnel and organizations, allowing the costs to run the event to be reduced without compromising the safety or quality; and conduct planning meetings with the partner to ensure a unified effort.
The partnered organization provides the personnel for setup, execution and recovery of the event, which could be up to 25 personnel, depending on the size of the event. Additionally, the partner organization establishes a legacy event with FMWR staff and is able to "shape" the event to the needs of the organization.
To provide some background, in fiscal year 2009, FMWR executed four run events. Only one - the Command and General Staff College Triathlon - was partnered with a military organization. In the fall of 2009, the Garrison commander provided his commander's intent, which included seeking out partnerships to help create a "cost culture."
Using the 2009 Great Escape run as a model, FMWR staff began to liaise with military organizations. We quickly found the Battle Command Training Program was looking for an event to host.
In FY 2010 FMWR executed nine run events and increased our event partnerships to seven.
Here are a few examples of success:
In November of 2009, BCTP hosted the Turkey Trot. The partnership with BCTP allowed a 40 percent growth in the event participation over the previous year.
In August of 2010, Army Corrections Brigade hosted the Great Escape Run. This event grew from 176 runners in 2009 to almost 400 in 2010.
As we enter the planning cycle for our 2011 running season, we are now able to take our newly established legacy events and build upon them - from nine run events in 2010 to 12 in 2011.
Grow each event. More participants, more activities.
Editor's note: Ben Fonte is the FMWR plans and operations officer at Fort Leavenworth.