By Jim Dresbach, Pentagram Staff WriterApril 30, 2015
Close to 300 instructors and cadets called cadence and ran through the streets of the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall April 25 during the 2015 JROTC 5K Anniversary Run.
Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps units from nine high schools and universities from throughout the Military District of Washington joined Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Command Sgt. Maj. Randall E. Woods at the start/finish line at the Summerall Field parking lot to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the corps, which prepares high school and college students for leadership roles in the military and civilian life.
The race's purpose was twofold: To celebrate the corps' milestone and to leave a lasting legacy in the record book. Roughly 400 JROTC races around the globe were simultaneously started at noon Eastern Time in an attempt to break a world record for the most 5K races running at the same time.
"Kids over in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain will be running about 6 or 7 o'clock," said race organizer and former Military District of Washington Soldier Terry Wilfong, who at one time was stationed at Fort Myer. "Thirteen thousand runners in California will start around 8, and there is a big race at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and those in Guam will be starting at 3 a.m."
"We picked [Fort] Myer because of its great representation of all the armed forces," he continued. "This is an all-service activity, and we were be streaming video worldwide from here on social media."
After all the domestic and international cadets were counted, the JROTC joint runs did not set a world record, but 28,144 young adults ran the race from 425 high schools and 23 college ROTC units.
Before the run during remarks to the cadets, Woods encouraged the young adults to be observant of the base's history and to make a bit of racket when calling cadences in the middle of the midday 5K.
"After the run, go ahead and go around and take a look; there's a lot of history here at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall with The Old Guard (The U.S. Army 3rd Battalion) and The U.S. Army Band, 'Pershing's Own,'" Woods told the runners. "During the run, you're going to go [out of the parking lot] and make a right [on Jackson Avenue]. You're going to be going past some quarters. Those quarters are all general officers. Get loud and let them know you're here to represent your organizations."
The units taking part on the run adjacent to General's Row, Arlington National Cemetery and Old Post Chapel were from Oxon Hill High School, Silver Spring's John F. Kennedy High School, Mount Vernon High School, South Lakes High School in Reston, Woodbridge High School, Alexandria's West Potomac High School, Howard University, Georgetown University's Hoya Battalion and St. John's College High School.