Each year, Fort Leonard Wood’s Run to Honor allows area runners and walkers to complete a 5K race in memory of a service member. This year, with COVID-19 precautions still in place, the run is being conducted virtually.
The “Run to Honor Virtual 5K” will take place May 4 through 16, and is open to all Department of Defense ID cardholders.
“So many have been unfortunately affected by the loss of a service member. This (is) our way of allowing their memory to be the reason for the run – a small way to honor their lives,” explained Katy Carter, Chief of Business and Recreation for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Those who wish to participate can run or walk a 5K course anywhere they choose during the 13-day race window, including around their neighborhoods, at a nearby park or even at home on their treadmills. After completing 5 kilometers – which equals 3.1 miles – participants can post photos to the Fort Leonard Wood MWR Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mwr.ftwood/.
Those who submit photos are eligible for a drawing for prizes, Carter said.
“There is no sign-up necessary,” she explained. “MWR will create an event page on our Facebook account. Once participants have completed their run, they simply post a photo of their fitness tracker or treadmill on the discussion board of the event page. That will automatically enter the participant into the drawings for prizes.”
The Facebook site, as well as the event listing at leonardwood.armymwr.com, will also have a pre-made banner that participants can download, print out and write the names of those they are memorializing to include in their submitted photo.
FMWR will feature all photos submitted from the race in a video compilation that will be posted over Memorial Day weekend on its social media pages.
Carter said the idea to hold the run virtually came from MWR programs worldwide sharing ideas to serve their communities with activities and programs that fit within current health and safety guidelines.
“We heard of another Army garrison doing something similar, and the FMWR Fitness Team came together to put our Fort Leonard Wood spin on it,” Carter said. “Physical activity is important to our mental wellness, and we wanted to promote a healthy lifestyle while maintaining social distancing.”
During the most recent virtual town hall April 22, Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, voiced her support for the virtual run.
“I encourage you to participate in MWR’s Virtual Run coming up in May,” Martin told viewers. “You can get outside and run or walk in your neighborhood – or you can even run in your home on your treadmill.”
Carter indicated that, if successful, the Run to Honor Virtual 5K may be followed by other virtual 5K runs or similar events.
“Please stay tuned for more virtual runs,” she said.