MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Threatening hurricane conditions didn’t stop service members, families, Department of Defense civilians, retired military personnel and a dog from participating in the Marine Corps Community Services’ 5K Labor Day Fun Run aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 2.
“It’s a great way to get the military involved in a different type of (physical training),” said Heidi Fraley, a recreation attendant with MCCS and the race coordinator. “It gives people opportunities to connect with each other, and we can also promote other races that are coming up.”
The participants ran the three-mile course along Camp Lejeune’s main road, Holcomb Boulevard. The event was free, and all participants received T-shirts and water bottles after they crossed the finish line.
Fraley said the five kilometer run was not a competition, but rather a good opportunity to bring the running community together.
“No one wins or loses,” said Fraley. “They just do it for fun and for their own health.”
Kevin O’Connor, a retired gunnery sergeant, said the race gave him and his dog, Maya – who also ran the entire race – a chance to get some exercise before enjoying a long, relaxing weekend at home.
Marathon runners like retired Sgt. Maj. Domenick Irrera, retired Lt. Col. Jim Rider and retired Capt. John Germain, the deputy operations officer with II Marine Expeditionary Force, also sported their running gear and were all smiles as they crossed the finish line.
Rider, who served in both Korea and Vietnam during his tenure as a Marine, said the Marine Corps got him into the habit of running, and he has since been a regular participant in the Marine Corps Marathon, held every year in Washington, D.C. Regardless of the length of the race, however, Rider said it is the camaraderie between runners that keeps him coming to these events.
“I just enjoy running,” said Rider, who also celebrated his 75th birthday the day of the run. “But I (also) enjoy coming out here to meet new friends.”
MCCS’ next 5K fun run is scheduled for Oct. 7, the day before the Columbus Day holiday weekend.
For more information about the 5K fun runs, call 451-5430 or 451-0092.