Gig Harbor While the circumstances and motivations of runners were different, sports journalist Kenny Mayne knew that each of the more than 1,600 participants and volunteers had reasons to be at the third annual Race For A Soldier Sunday.
We know why were here, Mayne said.
Whether they were active duty or retired service members, relatives or members of the community, everyone who ran the half-marathon showed their support for those suffering from PTSD.
The annual event started because Leslie Mayne wanted to create awareness and raise money for charitable organizations after her son, Pfc. Kyle Farr, passed away in 2009 after battling with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.
Mayne wasnt sure what to expect in the first year, but the event attracted 1,100 participants. The number has grown each year since.
I just put it in Gods hands, she said. Its very clear this is what Im to do with the last chapter of my life.
According to statistics from the Congressional Research Service last February, more than 103,000 service members had been diagnosed with PTSD since 2002.
Service members past and present commonly know others who suffer from post-traumatic stress and depression.
When they come home, theyre still fighting a war, said Staff Sgt. Adriana Lopez of the 673rd Dental Company at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who knows a few service members currently deployed.
Specialist Rece Calhoun of the 602nd Brigade Support Company was one of the many who ran in support of his military comrades. He was impressed with the non-military communitys involvement in the event.
I think its amazing for something this big to come from one persons idea, Calhoun said.
For many civilians who ran the half-marathon, it was an easy decision to get up early in the morning and go out for a nice jog with grey clouds and light rain.
Its the least we can do, said Alexa Shanefelt. This is one opportunity we can help.
Apart from the common cause, awareness and money raised for Maynes nonprofit Permission to Start Dreaming foundation, there were plenty of impressive times for the half-marathon.
Jesse Stevick of Olympia had the fastest overall time, finishing the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 57 seconds. The second fastest runner, Kevin Fischer, trailed by less than eight minutes.
Mary Kate Bailey was the fastest female runner with a time of 1:25:31.
If you gain the respect of real runners who select what races they run, you have something, Kenny Mayne said.
With successful fundraising in the first three years, Kenny Mayne said he doesnt see why there wont be more events throughout the year being established in addition to the Race For A Soldier half-marathon and the inaugural Swing For A Soldier golf tournament Friday at Eagles Pride Golf Course.
If youre helping a little, why not help them a lot, he said. Race Results
Top male participants
1) Jesse Stevick, 1:13:57
2) Kevin Fischer, 1:21:28
3) Kyle Norris, 1:22:48
4) Michael Stinson, 1:24:34
5) Kevin Jones, 1:26:11 Top female participants
1) Mary Kate Bailey, 1:25:31
2) Jennifer Ford, 1:29:31
3) Jamil Ellinger, 1:30:03
4) Mary Lynn Zastrow, 1:33:37
5) Elizabeth Lewis, 1:34:29