In an effort to reach out to surrounding communities, the Natick Soldier Systems Center will hold a 5K Fun Run/Walk June 23.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by a 1-mile run run/walk at 9 a.m. and a 5-kilometer cross-country race at 10 a.m.

The event, open to the NSSC workforce and the public, is $10 for those ages 10 and older. Younger runners and walkers can participate free of charge.

Trophies will be awarded to the top three individual male and female finishers.

Proceeds will benefit the Natick Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. The first 200 to pre-register will receive race T-shirts.

The event will also feature displays from the Massachusetts National Guard and static displays of the work done at NSSC.

As Lt. Col. Frank Sobchak, Natick garrison commander, pointed out, heightened security in the post-9/11 world has often placed walls and fences between the American people and their Army.

"The objective is outreach to build bridges where, over the past 10 years, we've built fences," Sobchak said. "In the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts), we probably have one of the most supportive populations where I've ever been stationed."

A race seemed like an ideal way to reach out to them, Sobchak added.

"In the military, physical fitness is a big part of our life," Sobchak said. "It's a staple of the identity of Boston and Boston MetroWest. It's home to the mecca of runners -- the Boston Marathon. It's the granddaddy of all marathons. The marathon runs right (through) Natick."

To pre-register, send your name, email address and shirt size by email to Those wishing to volunteer for the registration table or as race monitors should e-mail John Harlow at