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NEWS | Oct. 21, 2010

Base readies, sets for run

By Patrick Desmond 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

Registration numbers for the Gateway Half Marathon are snowballing, as the second annual event fast approaches Oct. 23.

A week prior to the run, 95 total runners had signed up to hit the installation roadways during the 13.1-mile, the 10K and the 5K runs.

Hearing of plans for squadrons to register together and the Defense Language Institute English Language Center's offer to sponsor any of its members, varsity sports and program manager Dwayne Reed is anticipating a crowded starting line on race day.

"They're coming in 20 to 30 a day," he said. "There will be a lot more coming in (this) week."

Responding to runners' advice and borrowing a format from the Air Force Marathon, Mr. Reed implemented a separate start time for the event's three distances.

"When you have one group, they all follow the same route," Mr. Reed said.

Arrows and larger signs along the routes will also aid staying on course during the second annual event.

Hoping to foster a more inclusive environment before and after the races, the start and finish is located at the 37th Training Wing parade grounds parking lot along with vendors, organization information booths and spectators.

The 59th Physical Therapy Group is operating one of the information booths, while free spinal screenings, massages and a disc jockey are also available. Vendors, such as Domino's Pizza, Red Bull and Powerade, will hand out free samples.

For the runners on the course, five water stations are spread out at two-mile intervals along the 13.1-mile run, as well as portable and permanent restrooms.

In addition to a T-shirt and a medal, the registration includes the pre-race pasta dinner tonight at Mitchell Hall, Bldg. 2300, from 5-8 p.m.

The dinner serves as a chance to load up on carbohydrates, pick up race information packet and mingle with fellow runners.

"We want people to come out and have a good time," Mr. Reed said. "We're not here to make money, just for people to come out and enjoy a safe course and have fun."

A crowd-pleaser last year, the distinct military sights of troops of trainees and the sounds of jodies will again fill the 5K run.

Last year, roughly 1,000 trainees ran the 5K.

Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis, 502nd Air Base Wing command chief, will lead the run and medal presentation afterward.

Trophies are awarded to the top male and female finisher, and top runner in each age group.

Mr. Reed said October was specifically chosen for the Gateway due to its position between the Air Force Marathon and the Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon.

"It's a great event," Mr. Reed said. "Compared to the other events like the Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon, it's the same thing only half the price."

Mr. Reed said the base population, from the 802nd Civil Engineer Squadron, 802nd Security Forces Squadron, 559th Medical Group, and the 737th Training Group to permanent party members, all helped to organize the run.

"We're ready. We were ready (last) Saturday," Reed said. "I have a great team here."

And without the people from the base community, many of whom have volunteered to serve as road guards at intersections, Mr. Reed said the race wouldn't be possible.