YONGSAN, SOUTH KOREA --The stamping out of sexual assault began during the early morning hours of April 8 at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Collier Field House as the 65th Medical Brigade and the USAG Yongsan Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation joined forces once again to host the 4th Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month Austin Half-Marathon Shadow Run, considered to be the only one of its kind in the Department of Defense.
This year, 725 participants and volunteers came out to raise awareness for Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention.
Col. Wendy Harter, 65th Medical Brigade commander said, "This venue was a way to bring the public out to participate in something fun and healthy and at the same time bring awareness to the program with an opportunity to show public support as we stamp out sexual assault."
Upon conclusion of her opening remarks, Harter went on to complete the 13.1 mile course with her ruck sack.
Headquarters, Headquarters Company 65th Medical Brigade 1st Sgt. David Ruiz explained that many places have a regular five or ten kilometer race that honors SHARP, but the one in Korea is the only one that has an actual half marathon of 13.1 miles.
"Through this community wide event, in conjunction with the Austin, Texas Marathon, we have continued to improve this half-marathon every year by allowing participants to run, walk or ruck," said Ruiz. "This year, exceeded our expectations once again as we had a lot of soldiers ruck the course for time qualifiers for the upcoming Expert Field Medical Badge."
Continuing to improve over years past, the Brigade added additional hydration stations along the route, on-line registration and music along the course.
As the Army continues its campaign of "Not in My Army and Not in My Squad," the annual SAAPM/Austin Half-Marathon proved to be a big hit with the community.
"If we can touch one person and one life in an event like this; that reaches out to the entire peninsula and Korean community, we can make a change in the world we live in," said Ruiz.