Santa's sleigh team runs on post
December 13, 2011
Holiday cheer came out in full force Dec. 2 as 125 runners gathered at the Fort Myer Fitness Center for the fourth annual Reindeer Stampede fun 5K run hosted by the Directorate for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
With some runners opting to wear reindeer antlers handed out by fitness center staff, bystanders on base could watch as herds of reindeer ran by them. One runner had personal illuminated antlers while another wore two pairs making him a four-antlered reindeer.
The run, held in conjunction with the Operation Santa Toy Drive, encouraged participants to bring games and toys to donate for the event.
"Operation Santa Toy Drive is our opportunity to give to the Army Community Service toy basket program which benefits military Families and their kids," said Brandon Lamberson, a sports specialist at the fitness center. "I think we'll probably give well over 500 toys."
"I think it's a great idea, [if] everyone brings in a little toy, that's 100 extra toys," said Sgt. 1st Class Ray Matthews of the Fife and Drum Corps.
Starting off behind the fitness center, runners bounded across the start line toward Forrest Circle, running behind the Caisson Stables before running on Sheridan Avenue in front of the fitness center.
Making a left onto Pershing Drive, runners could next be seen galloping on McNair Road before making a sharp left onto Marshall Drive, working their way up "Cardiac Hill" on Jackson Avenue and making their last turn onto Sheridan Avenue before finishing in front of the fitness center.
Holiday music could be heard throughout the race coming from large speakers the fitness center staff set-up prior to the run. However, upon completing the race, Staff Sgt. Michael Creadon of the Fife and Drum Corps provided his own music, playing the trumpet at the finish line.
"It's a lot of fun," said Creadon. "I get a lot of great reactions. It motivates people to run a little faster at the end."
DFMWR awarded first place to seven age groups split into five-year ranges, from 18-24 all the way up to 50 and above. The overall male and female winners were Matthews and Staff Sgt. Cassandra King of the National Guard Bureau.
King said she's been trying to place in the runs on post for the past couple of years but hasn't been able to do so. She didn't expect to take first place but exclaimed, "It's a big accomplishment for me."
The run was just one of three events held for Operation Santa Holiday Toy Drive. Folks were also asked to bring toys out to a senior fitness assessment and three-day basketball tournament.