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Armed Forces Kids Run

Annual Kids Run draws hundreds

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:22PM April 20th, 2017
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Northwest Guardian

Participants begin the 2-mile race for 9 to 16-year-olds during the annual Armed Forces Kids Run at Cowan Stadium Saturday.

More than 400 military youths — ages 5 to 16 — participated in half-mile, 1 mile and 2-mile runs Saturday at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Armed Forces Kids Run.

Near the final stretch of the 1-mile run, Everett Roberson, 8, was setting the unofficial pace well ahead of the pack.

His father, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dennis Roberson, was running alongside him as the course brought runners back into Cowan Stadium on Lewis Main. Everett finished with a time of 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Roberson knew this as he cheered him on with alternating looks between Everett and his wristwatch.

“He loves to run up to 2 or 3 miles per day,” Roberson said. “So it’s awesome to see his progress and see how fast he’s become.”

None of the kids were officially timed. Although some parents wanted to track the progress of their young athletes, other parents wanted to take advantage of a sunny day activity after a few days of rain.

“Here (in the Pacific Northwest), you have to take advantage of every opportunity,” said Maj. Will Spence, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade. “It’s also about creating memories.”

His son John, 7, was excited to be in the 1-mile run — enough to wake up on a Saturday morning at 6 a.m. So was his daughter Genevieve, 5, for the half-mile.

Spence said they were sucked into attending partly because he’s into ultrarunning — a form of long-distance running.

“They like to run whenever they can,” Spence said.

The JBLM Armed Forces Kids Run wasn’t just for athletic kids who play a variety of sports. Children of all different fitness levels were cheered on as parents lined both sides of the track.

Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Miller, 504th MP Bn., 42nd MP Bde., brought her three children — Alex, 11, Maria, 10, and Corina, 8. The event is intended to be fun and family-oriented. It also helps gets children involved in something important in their parents careers — physical training.

“Being in the military, being in shape is part of the job,” Miller said. “That translates into events like this. (Children) see their parents working out all of the time.”

This year’s event adopted the theme of “Purple Up Day” to support military youths during Month of the Military Child.