GIG HARBOR, Wash. (10/31/2011) - Leslie Mayne transformed
her personal tragedy into a celebration of life. She founded
a half marathon that raises money for soldiers recovering
from mental and physical injuries while serving in the
Runners cross the finish line Oct. 16, 2011 at the Inaugural Race
for a Soldier half marathon. The marathon was founded by Leslie
Mayne who tragically lost her son in 2009 due to Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder suffered from a deployment to Iraq in 2006. Proceeds
from the event will go to support programs for soldiers to include;
the Puget Sound Area USO, Hearbeat Serving Wounded Warriors, Horses
For Heroes through Rainier Therapeutic Riding, and Canines and
Heroes for Independence. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Teresa Adams
Mayne's son, Pfc. Kyle Farr, passed away in 2009. Farr suffered
post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury during a
deployment to Iraq in 2006.
More than 1,400 civilians,
soldiers and their families participated in the inaugural 13.1 mile,
Race for a Solider, and a two mile walk run and kid's fun run Oct.
16 at the Youth Men's Christian Association of Gig Harbor.
Mayne is founding a nonprofit organization, The Permission To Start
Dreaming Foundation. She believes that this is what PSTD should
mean. Currently her organization is operating under the umbrella of
the United Service Organizations.
Proceeds from the race will
go to support programs for soldiers to include: the Puget Sound Area
USO, Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors, Horses For Heroes through
Rainer Therapeutic Riding, and Canines and Heroes for Independence.
The sponsors of the race included Evergreen Asset Management
of Gig Harbor, the USO and more than
a dozen other sponsors. All sponsors set up displays around the
stage near the start and finish line.
Mayne's brother, Kenny Mayne of ESPN announced the start of
the race by paying tribute to his nephew. His family members
then joined him on stage singing the national anthem to the
group, symbolizing the participant's support for their
“This whole event was born with another
death from one of our wars,” said Kenny Mayne of ESPN. “We
turned it into all of this life here today.”
began with a gunshot and the runners and walkers navigated
the 13.1 mile route through the beautiful Canterwood
community and experienced magnificent views of Gig Harbor.
Hundreds of volunteers, including members of the USO,
soldier's from the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and civilians from the local
community, handed out water, specially designed dog tags and
space blankets to the race finishers.
Stearns, a supply specialist assigned to Headquarters and
Headquarters Company, 109th Military Intelligence Battalion
at JBLM, volunteered at the event.
volunteering, it is nice to interact with the community,”
said Stearns. “You get to come out and celebrate the fact
that we are here because of what our soldiers have done.”
More than 300 active duty soldiers ran the race;
ensuring a better future for their comrades in arms.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Bloom, a reconnaissance platoon
sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division,
3rd Brigade at JBLM, marched the route in his Army Combat
Uniform with two American flags proudly displayed from the
top of his heavy ruck sack. He is aware of the importance of
“It is important to never forget the
fallen soldiers,” said Bloom. “Without the sacrifices made
by them, we wouldn't be the country we are today.”
Capt. Zenin Hamaguchi, commander of Bravo Company, 502nd
Military Intelligence Battalion, JBLM, placed twelfth with a
time of 1 hour and 32 minutes.
“I am here to support
our soldiers and their families,” said Hamaguchi. “It's
touching to see the leaders from Joint Base Lewis-McChord
supporting the soldiers.”
In the men's category,
Thomas Betterbed took first place with a time of 1:13:42,
and James Roach and Joseph Churchill placed second and
Tana Kornachuck took the women's category,
finishing in 1:27:05, with Ali Spies trailing behind her by
only 23 seconds. Amanda L. Hoskins placed third.
Post Race Celebration recognized Leslie Mayne for her
efforts and attributed the memory of her son as the
motivation for the inaugural Race for a Soldier half
Kenny Mayne announced the winners of the
male and female categories of the race while Col. Paul
Norwood, commander, 201st BfSB presented the top 40
finishers with military coins.
“We are out here
supporting our community, our families and our soldiers,”
said Norwood. “Our nation owes our soldiers their support
for all of their contributions.”
concluded with performances from the Rockaraoke Band and
American Idol Season 6 finalist Sanjaya Malakar.
More photos available in frame below
By Army Staff Sgt. Teresa Adams
28th Public Affairs Detachment
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