Hooah 5K Run celebrates Army birthday
Runners bolt from the starting line during the Army Birthday Hooah 5K and Fun Walk on Saturday morning at Burba Park. More than 300 participants joined the third race of the annual Fort Meade Run Series.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - More than 300 runners stood near Burba Park, stretching or doing jumping jacks while waiting for the signal that would send them speeding.

The group participated Saturday morning in the Army Birthday Hooah 5K Run and Fun Walk, the third in the post's annual Run Series, which features eight runs throughout the year.

Among those competing were Nathan Shelly and his wife, Ashley, and their three children: Joshua, 12, Kailyn, 9, and Gwendolyn, 4. This was their second run for the year; they previously participated in May's Patriot Pride 10K/5K Fun Walk.

"It's a good family activity," said Nathan Shelly, who resides in Potomac Place. "We all like to be outside and enjoy the sunshine and weather."

The run was a celebration of the Army's 236 birthday on June 14.

First Sgt. Larry Johns said the run was a "great" way to celebrate the occasion. "Especially after 236 years of being around, I think it's a great idea to have an Army birthday run," said Johns, who works at the Defense Information School.

Sgt. 1st Class Nelson Miranda, 741st Military Intelligence Battalion, also said the run was an appropriate way to honor the Army birthday, calling the Run Series one of the "best programs to keep the esprit de corps."

However, celebrating the Army birthday was not Miranda's main purpose in competing.

When Miranda competed in last month's Patriot Run, it was the first time he was able to run in four years. The long layoff was due to injuries and a number of surgeries to repair his knees. Prior to his injuries, Miranda ran in numerous events with distances ranging from 10Ks to marathons.

He said it "felt good" to run in a competition again, but when Miranda finished the Patriot Run with a time of 26 minutes, he was still looking to cut his run time.

"Compared to what I used to run before, I was a little bit upset, but I'm getting better," he said.

Miranda's goal for the Army Birthday Hooah 5K was to break 24:30.

When he crossed the finished line, Miranda ended up beating his goal by 20 seconds, with a time of 24:10.

He was within seven minutes of runner Mark Neff, who took first place with a 17:42 finish. Saturday's race was Neff's first in the Run Series and he said he plans to compete again.

"I was running by myself," Neff said. "I didn't really have anybody to push or pace off of, or anything."

Michael Rohlf was second to cross the finish line with a time of 19:16. He narrowly beat Stephen Wills, who followed closely and finished at 19:20.

The first female to cross the finish line was Shannon Corona with a time of 21:07. The runner from Midway Commons participated in the previous two runs and plans to compete in subsequent races.

"I love to run," she said. "It's my favorite thing."

Like the men, the second- and third-place female finishers crossed the finish line only seconds apart.

Debbie Young finished in second-place with a time of 21:23 as Charde Barnes trailed close behind, finishing third at 21:28. For full run results, visit www.ftmeademwr.com.

The next event in the Fort Meade Run Series will be the Fanfare Run 10K/5K on Sept. 24 at Constitution Park.

Page last updated Fri June 24th, 2011 at 13:01