By Jim Dresbach, Pentagram Staff WriterApril 15, 2014
FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. - A group of a dozen volunteers from the Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall assisted 162 runners at the first-ever Fort Myer Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation-supported road race at the Washington, D.C., Army base April 4.
The Myer MWR staff packed its gear and crossed the Potomac for the inaugural Cherry Blossom "Along the River" 2.5k Run and one-mile walk and plans are being formalized to return to McNair for another run in September.
Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington career counselor Commander Sgt. Maj. Willene Orr, who is based at Fort McNair, was originally planning to run the race, but she took to volunteering instead and became a flag person directing runners on the course.
"[This race] bridged the [Fort Myer and Fort McNair] communities together," Orr said. "To have the race here was a wonderful experience. There was a lot of enthusiasm by the folks that were there. There was a lot of energy."
While Sgt. Will Marshall ran the course with a 45-pound rucksack in less than 20 minutes and War College employee Kevin Kropp was the overall winner with a time of 12 minutes and 27 seconds, Fort McNair Installation Coordinator Barbara Virag also served as a flag person. She was impressed with the turnout and is anticipating the next MWR race.
"I'm excited about another race," Virag said. "I'd volunteer again. [Fort Myer Recreation Specialist] Todd Hopkins contacted me asking for some [volunteer] help. This was a great way to start off the Cherry Blossom [Festival] weekend."
In the women's division, MWR race regular Yuko Whitestone was the first female to cross the Fort McNair finish line.
The JBM-HH MWR race series continues May 2 with the Cinco de Mayo 5k, while the Fort McNair Army Air Operations group will conduct an informal wellness run and breakfast May 15.