JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Nearly 500 service members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord ran in the 47th annual Sound to Narrows 12K military race at Vassault Park in Tacoma June 8.

The Sound to Narrows race is considered one of the premiere kickoff events to summer in the south Puget Sound region and is the longest-running 12K race in Washington state.

For the second year in a row, Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, I Corps commanding general, participated in the run.

"This gives us the opportunity to really participate in what is one of the key events in Tacoma and really show we are a part of the community," Volesky said.

Military teams, representing different units within I Corp and units on JBLM, ran alongside civilian competitive and recreational runners in what is considered one of the most difficult courses in the country because of its extensive hills and dips.

Units competed in two divisions to cross the finish line in a formation; super squads of up to 10 people and unit teams of at least 20 service members.

The 17th Field Artillery Brigade team won the unit team division for the sixth consecutive year, with a time of 1 hour, 4 minutes, 14 seconds.

"This was my first year participating in the Sound to Narrows Run," said Spc. Eric Ramirez, 1st Battalion 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th FA Bde. "I did it because I really like to challenge myself in competitions and wanted to help bring the first place title back for our brigade. In order to get ready for the race, I ran a lot. Especially during physical training hours, I would push myself to do faster timed runs, however even after all the training, no one tells you how heavy that brigade guidon gets when you're running!"

The 17th FA Bde. also won the Super Squad division for the third consecutive year, finishing with a time of 52:28.

"I knew we had won for Super Squad in previous years, however, this was my first year running in the Sound to Narrows," said 1st Lt. Joseph Cowen, 5th Battalion 3rd Artillery Regiment, 17th FA Bde. "Placing first in both Super Squad and the Unit Formation run is a true testament to the brigade and how much we put forward to train, be a part of our community programs and show our unit pride."

The race is sponsored and organized by MultiCare and the JBLM Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"We would like to thank MultiCare and our community partners that put on such a great race for our Thunderbolt Soldiers to participate in," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Carlan, Command Sergeant Major for 17th FA Bde. "We look forward to participating in this event next year and continuing to support our communities that surround JBLM."

The race also took 165 volunteers many hours of organizing, putting up the site and cheering on the runners.

"The support we get from the local community - we couldn't do what we do without," said Volesky. "This is a demonstration to our commitment to the community and for them to really get to know the people in their Army."