Tacoma's Sound to Narrows run a military tradition
June 16, 2011
TACOMA, Wash. -- Most neighbors would find being woken up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday by a radio announcer and about 220 runners annoying.
Getting out chairs and cheering them on is another matter entirely.
“We gotta watch the race, we watch it all the time,” Virginia Aird said of the annual Sound to Narrows Military Run, which took place Saturday.
She and her husband, Stephen, live along the iconic Tacoma 12K run’s route, and have been watching the runners for years.
This year’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Military Run, which each year precedes the civilian Sound to Narrows 12K, included about 220 Soldiers and Airmen.
They run in Super Squads of eight to 10 individuals or Standard Units of at least 20, each required to cross the finish line in formation to place.
“This is my favorite race of the year,” FMWR Intramural Sports Coordinator Kathleen Salcedo said.
The race, which started in 1973, is an important tradition in the region. Its hilly route winds through Point Defiance Park, finishing at Vassault Park.
“It’s kind of the kickoff to summer in the South Puget Sound area,” Sound to Narrows Event Manager Danette Felt said.
It’s also an opportunity for military personnel to get out and make an impression in the civilian community.
“During the time of war, it’s important for the community to see that the military is more than just a war-fighting machine,” Spc. Zenon Herrera, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, said.
For Virginia Aird, the best part is seeing the camaraderie. She often watches units pace themselves
on the corner near her house, waiting for the whole group to catch up before crossing the finish line.
One year, two teammates carried an injured friend up the long final hill into the park.
Both sentiments ring true for Pfc. Rudy Sutton, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division as well.
“This is what we fight for,” he said. “This is what we go overseas for.”
Sutton’s Super Squad was the first to cross the finish line, 53 minutes and 37 seconds into the run.
It’s an accomplishment the group trained four weeks for, and they were happy to see it pay off. But more than that, they were happy to be part of a team.
“I’m glad to be running with all these great people,” Sutton said.
Marisa Petrich: firstname.lastname@example.org