Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- Despite cloudy skies and light rain, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune families came together for a morning sprint during the Funny Sunny Hat Run at the Tarawa Terrace Community Center drew, Aug. 17.
TTCC hosts free, themed fun runs monthly, where members of the Camp Lejeune community can run alongside their family, peers and leashed four-legged friends.
The Funny Sunny Hat Run was a two-mile course, with a three-mile option, through the streets of Tarawa Terrace.
Volunteers, including Marines, served as safety officers throughout the course and led participants through warm-up exercises.
Arelis Cruz, a recreation assistant with the community center, provided early morning motivation to participants.
Throughout the last leg of the course she encouraged participants with a megaphone to push themselves across the finish line.
“Everybody is so excited, especially the kids,” said Cruz. “Come down and have some fun, there’s no pressure.”
Fun runs are nothing like running for the Marine Corps, said Staff Sgt. Maxy Brown, a maintenance chief with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
He encourages other Marines not to think of it as another three-mile run, but rather as a way to begin an enjoyable weekend with their family.
“It’s not the same,” said Brown. “It’s not a competition. It’s fun. It’s about coming out and doing something healthy with the family.”
Brown’s wife, Antoinette Hemingway, said events such as fun runs are also a way to motivate children to lead healthier lifestyles.
“It’s a way to get them in shape so they can learn about fitness,” said Hemingway. “It’s also builds family morale by doing things together.”
The run provided a lot of firsts for the Brown-Hemingway family.
It was Hemingway’s first run in more than five years, and it was the children’s first experience with running a long distance.
Brown’s son, Kendall, ran the entire three-mile option with his father.
“He didn’t think he was going to make it, but he did,” said Brown.
Many families attended the run.
Veronica Madrid, a military spouse, and her family attended to support an organization that helps provide equipment, such as jogger chairs, and support for disabled children, teens, adults and veterans so they can participate in endurance events.
Madrid’s daughter, Alyssa, has special needs. Her family and friends took part in the run to support her and other children like her.
“The runs help us focus in a positive way as a family,” said Madrid. “We get to be together, and we get to be her legs.”
Madrid said her family finds support through the organization and community events like the fun runs.
“In a military community other families become a part of yours,” said Madrid. “This is a great way to meet others.”
The community center is scheduled to host the Pirate Run Sept. 14. Themed attire is encouraged, but not required.
September’s run is scheduled to begin promptly at 9 a.m.
The community center staff asks participants to arrive early for free registration.
For more information, visit www.mccslejeune.com/community or call 450-1687.
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