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Race for a Soldier

Participants run for good cause at annual race

Published: 01:13PM October 3rd, 2013
Participants run for good cause at annual race

Dean Siemon/Northwest Guardian

More than 1,600 runners took part in either the half marathon or two-mile run at the third annual Race for a Soldier Sept. 29 at the Tom Taylor Family YMCA in Gig Harbor.

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 we’re 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 wasn’t 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 God’s hands,” she said. “It’s very clear this is what I’m 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, they’re 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 community’s involvement in the event.

“I think it’s amazing for something this big to come from one person’s 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.

“It’s 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 Mayne’s 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 doesn’t see why there won’t 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 you’re 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