About a month after representing Joint Base Lewis-McChord and I Corps in the 2011 Army Ten-Miler race, Aaron Catlin deployed to Afghanistan.
The avid distance runner and Soldier with the 595th Military Police Company returned home this month and proved he still has what it takes by winning JBLMs annual Turkey Trot 10K/5K race on Lewis Main Saturday. Then again, Catlin never lost it.
While deployed Catlin ran and won 16 Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation races, including a Boston Marathon shadow run and the Army Ten-Miler shadow run.
In his first race since returning home, Catlin led the 10K Turkey Trot field, crossing the finish line in 33 minutes, 47 seconds.
It felt great running at sea level, he said.
Catlin competed Saturday in a field of 334 athletes in the 10K run, 10K inline skate or 5K run. The annual run took place five days before Thanksgiving.
You get a few pounds off before you put some more on, JBLM Intramural Sports Coordinator Kathy Salcedo said during the pre-race briefing.
Three participants competed in the 10K inline skate race the only one of the year. Top performers took home Thanksgiving turkeys and all participants were congratulated at the finish line by a pet turkey named Chive.
Some runners chose to dress the part and wore turkey hats, including Army spouse Stacey Barnes and her 12-year-old daughter, Jordyn Barnes. Barnes finished the 5K in 28:31, while Jordyn finished in 25:05. Its the Turkey Trot so we had to have the turkeys, Barnes said.
Jason McKennon is training for his 24th half marathon this New Years Eve and ran his first Turkey Trot 5K as a training speed workout. The Soldier with JBLM Dental Command crossed the finish line in 17:59, nearly a minute faster than the second place 5K finisher.
I probably should have done the 10K, but I have a soccer game to coach in a little bit, McKennon said.
McKennon ran his way onto Salcedos Army Ten-Miler team radar. After the race Salcedo, the Ten-Miler team coordinator, talked to the runner about competing with JBLM in next years race.
Yesenia Byrne was the first female finisher in the 10K race with her time of 45:27. Tyler Isreal led the female 5K field with a finish time of 20:22. Ylar Oustimoyitch led the inline skaters with a time of 26:22.
The 2012 JBLM race calendar wraps up next month with the annual Santas Reindeer Dash Dec. 8 at Eagles Pride Golf Course. Take Exit 116 off Interstate 5 south of JBLM and turn right into the golf course parking lot.