SUWON AIR BASE, South Korea -- Over 300 Soldiers and family members honored their fallen comrades here by running in the second annual Run for the Fallen 5K, May 20.
Organized in 2008, Run for the Fallen began as a collection of runners jogging across America from Fort Irwin, California to Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia as a remembrance of those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has since become a global event involving tens of thousands of participants who have run over a quarter of a million miles.
Participants gathered at the break of dawn outside the gymnasium here, solemn but eager to honor the legacies of fallen heroes.
No stranger to competitive races, the "Iron Horse" 6-52 Air Defense Artillery Battalion was reminded that unlike most runs, Run for the Fallen was not a competition. Instead of recognizing individual achievement, the run focused on remembering service members killed in action. As a result, times were not recorded and no awards were given out to the top performers.
"This run is about remembrance," said Lt. Col. Ladi Hernandez, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade chaplain, during the event's opening remarks. "We are fortunate enough to be here running today because of the service and sacrifices of those who came before us. We should never forget that."
The Suwon Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation network organized the inaugural Run for the Fallen here last year. Organizers were so impressed by the success of the event and outpouring of support, they committed to making it an annual run.
As each participant ran, jogged or walked the 5K course, they were encouraged to think about the friends, loved ones and everyday heroes that have been lost in combat.
"Today I ran for a good cause," said Spc. Chavez Spicer, signal specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6-52 ADA. "I pushed through this run, thinking of those who pushed through all the difficult training and fought for us until their last breath. Those who have fallen before us are the reason why we are able to run today."