Running for a cause - Special Olympics Torch Run comes to Camp Victory
April 3, 2008
The 716th Military Police Battalion held a Special Olympics 5K Torch Run around Z Lake on Camp Liberty March 30 in support of the Special Olympics Organizations of Kentucky and Tennessee.
More than 300 servicemembers from Victory Base Complex participated in the event said Cpt. Hilary Mann, event coordinator, 716th MP Battalion. The turn out for the even was much more than estimated, "we ran out of numbers," Mann said.
The unit sold all 250 T-shirts that Homer Pittard Campus School, an elementary school in Murfreesboro Tennessee, donated. "All proceeds for the event will go to the Special Olympics," Mann said.
Though it is a new event to VBC, 716th MP Battalion runs the 5K every year back at Fort Campbell, Ky., for the Special Olympics organization. "We wanted to continue our support even though we are deployed," Mann said.
Back in the states, the run, referred to as the "Torch Run," is symbolized by the torch that is carried in front of a formation with the battalion guidon. "Normally the event is solely for the military police battalion but we figured, what the heck, we're in Iraq," said Mann.
The torch was carried by seven volunteer torch bearers from various VBC units. "Each torch bearer carries the torch .7 kilometers," Mann said. "For safety reasons each torch is extinguished and replaced with a new torch at every hand off."
Despite the torch being carried, the Special Olympics 5K was still a race. The top three runners from both the male and female categories received prizes such as gift cards from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and phone cards from AT&T.
Finishing in first place for the males was Staff Sgt. Martin Ventura came in with a time of 18:05. Right on his heels was Navy Lt. Steven Myers with a time of 18:10, and rounding it out was 2nd Lt. William Barnum with a time of 18:27.
Coming in a commanding first for the females was Spc. Amanda Feia with a time of 20:02. In second was Staff Sgt. Rebecca Brodel with a time of 21:59, and third was taken with a time of 22:25 by 1st Lt. Penny Tinker.
"I'm really proud of all of the Soldiers from 716th, especially the rear detachment, they did a great job in coordinating everything back in the states," Mann said.