Fort Leonard Wood's free 5k fun-run series will kick off April 14, the first of six free running events planned this year on the installation.

The 5k events, which are open to the public, are held the second Saturday of participating months, with future runs scheduled for May 12, June 9, Aug. 11, Sept. 8 and Oct. 14, with all races starting at 8 a.m. at Davidson Fitness Center.

Runners "can just show up" and participate, according to Kirstan Carpenter, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation fitness coordinator.

As with past 5k series, runners can pick up a participation punch card, which they can use to receive a free T-shirt by completing four of the six free 5ks.

Runners can also receive a T-shirt if they complete eight out of the 10 total running events hosted by FMWR in 2018, which include paid races, such as the annual Clover Dash held March 10, the annual Red, White and Blue 5k/10k held July 4 or the annual Turkey Trot 5k/10k held each November. The annual Army/Navy 5k fun run, held in conjunction with the post's flag-football game in December at Gerlach Field, is also part of the punch-card series.

"We actually started with the Clover Dash, which is one of the paid runs, but this year is also part of the fun-run series," Carpenter said. "We decided to include (the paid runs) because the feedback we received last year told us people wanted them included."

FMWR began holding the free 5k events in 2014 as a way to promote two Army initiatives: the Army Performance Triad, which stresses healthy activity, nutrition and sleep, and the Soldier for Life Program, which is designed to help service members prepare for a lifetime of healthy living. Since that time, the events have grown in popularity in part due to their family-friendly spirit, inviting participants to run with strollers and allowing dogs on leashes. Each of the free 5k events -- including those held this year -- is followed by a Kid's Half-Miler, typically held at 9 a.m.

Carpenter said participation by community members and service members has continued to grow.

"We've especially seen a lot of growth because it's an opportunity for the different battalions, brigades and sometimes different classes -- such as classes from the (Basic Officer Leader Course) -- to come out and represent their units as a team-building event."

For more information about the free 5k fun runs, visit the FMWR website leonardwood.armymwr.com or call DFC at 573.563.4359.