Hundreds hit Hood streets for summer fun kick-off run
Dave Larsen, Sentinel EditorDavid Carpenter was one of more than a dozen parents pushing young children for a 5-kilometer fun run at Fort Hood Saturday.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Except Carpenter, a first lieutenant with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was doing double duty this day: pushing his 2-1/2-year-old twin daughters, Heather and Briallen.
“We do this regularly enough so that the girls know what, ‘Run, run, run’ means,” Carpenter said of his participation in Saturday’s Summer Fun Run, sponsored by Fort Hood’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Joining Carpenter on his Saturday morning jaunt with the twins, was his kid sister Molly Jean. She was visiting Central Texas on vacation from her post with the Peace Corps in Morocco. The twins’ mom, Rosie, sat this one out.
“This is great since their mom doesn’t have to deal with them (the twins) today,” Carpenter said of his wife, Rosie, though he said she was up early to get a jump on household chores without the twins underfoot. “She said, ‘I finally get a few hours without them today.’”
Besides dozens of parents pushing buggies, approximately 500 Fort Hood area runners turned out for DFMWR’s annual rite of summer.
“Summer is officially a few weeks away, so we’re getting a jump on it,” Millie Land, a recreation specialist with DFMWR, said. She added that those who take part in Fort Hood-sponsored running events, are also regulars at many of the other fitness offerings by DFMWR.
“About 75 percent are the ‘faithful,’” she said.
Carpenter said he typically runs his Army two-mile run in under 12 minutes, but he wasn’t expecting to break a personal best while pushing his daughters along Saturday.
“With the two of them and the buggy, it’s about 70 pounds,” he said. “My time won’t be anywhere near that fast. This will be more like a ruck march.”
A few minutes after 8 a.m., runners lined up next to the Abrams Physical Fitness Center for the start. Though temperatures would reach up to the mid-90s in the afternoon, it remained in the high 70s to low 80s for Saturday morning’s run.
A starter’s pistol sent the runners, and walkers, on their way. The 3.2-mile course went west on Support Avenue to Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center to a turnaround point, back east on Support to the III Corps running track and back to Support Avenue to the finish line next to Abrams. Top runners completed the course in short order.
Retired 1st Sgt. Juan Colunga of Killeen crossed the finish line first. He ran the 5K in 17:25. The 50-year-old running enthusiast, who retired from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in 2008, finished more than a minute ahead of his nearest competitor. He said he normally runs longer races.
“I just recently finished the ‘Beach to Bay Relay Marathon’ in Corpus Christi,” he said after crossing the finish line.
The first woman to complete the course has also run marathons – most recently in April at Oklahoma City. Meredith Thompson crossed the finish line at 19:03. With a short race ahead of her, the mother of two left her 5-year-old daughter Melissa and 2-year-old son Sam with their dad, Israel.
“I love to run, and he’s a great supporter,” Thompson, whose best marathon time is 3 hours, 3 minute, said of her husband. “The longer I go, the better I seem to do.”
Land said the next scheduled fun run will be the Patriot Run on July 4. She’s expecting an even bigger turnout for the holiday event.
“We like to see unit participation, as well,” Land said. “We encourage units to come out and run with their guidons.”
Land said anyone interested in the Fourth of July fun run or DFMWR’s “Boot Camp” fitness day set for June 23, should check out their website for more details or to register. For Saturday’s event, Land said she had 460 people pre-register.
Carpenter crossed the finish line at 25:11. He’s been deployed twice since arriving at Fort Hood in 2009, and appreciated having his own personal cheering section during the run.
“Heather kept yelling, ‘Faster, faster!’” he said. Drenched in sweat and a bit out of breath, dad could finally take a breather.
“Run, run, run?” the twins asked their dad in unison as he slowed down and walked to a refreshment table.
“No more running today, sweetie,” he said to his twins, having knocked out a grinding physical training session and some quality Family time in the process.