TACOMA — More than 350 service members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord ran in formations during the 46th annual Sound to Narrows event at Vassault Park in Tacoma.
The Military Formation Run took place in conjunction with the 12K race. Teams representing units ran alongside civilians running the 7.45-mile course for individual purposes.
Units competing in three divisions crossed the finish line in a formation — super squads of eight to 10 people, companies of 20 to 39 people and battalions of 40 or more people.
The 17th Field Artillery Brigade team once again proved to be the top team in the Company Division with a time of one hour, four minutes and 10 seconds. It was the brigade’s fourth consecutive win in that division.
“There’s a lot of pressure of us to win,” said 1st Lt. Bentley Bonnell, the brigade’s team captain. “The hard work from training paid off.”
The 17th FA Bde. also had a smaller team in the Super Squad division, finishing first with a time of 55:27. The brigade looks forward to running every year to build esprit de corps and camaraderie.
“Our unit is really good about motivation,” said Spc. Kisada Oudomphong, who ran in his third Sound to Narrows event. “Once we motivate each other, we finish strong.”
It can be a challenge to keep a core group of runners together and get everyone in formation to cross the finish line after more than 7 miles of running. That’s why Lt. Col. Andrew Steadman, of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment team, was proud that his Soldiers dug deep to take the battalion division title — finishing with a time of 1:10:07.
Steadman said although the team wasn’t stacked with runners, it was certainly stacked with heart to tackle the hills near Point Defiance.
“Our big (goal) was to stay together and pass (other teams) on the uphill (portions),” Steadman said. “I’m incredibly proud of the team sticking together and digging deep to take it in the end.”
The turnout for the Military Formation Run event was more than double from last year’s approximately 150 service members. There was a big push from unit leaders to have more of a presence at the event.
Brigadier General James Moore, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command commander, said the unit is a community partner with the city of Tacoma. One of the goals for I Corps and JBLM is to be more visible in community events like Sound to Narrows.
“A lot of our Soldiers live in these communities, so it’s key for us to be involved,” Moore said.
Sound to Narrows has a long history of military involvement. Thousands cheer on the military teams as they form up en route to the finish line.
Private First Class Trevor Walz, with the 1-23 Inf. team, thought the crowd was great to see in his first Sound to Narrows experience.
“It’s pretty nice to see us involved in the community and see everyone else having fun on a Saturday,” Walz said.