Leadership from both Fayetteville and Fort Bragg came together for the All American Marathon press conference Tuesday afternoon at Festival Park. Col. Kyle A. Reed, garrison commander; and Raymond P. Lacey, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Chief of Police Gina V. Hawkins and Kimberly Thompkins, MWR race director for the All American Marathon, answered reporters’ questions about the events which will have participants representing all 50 United States on Sunday.
Looking to draw sports enthusiasts to the community, they focused on the uniqueness of the races and the experience as a whole for participants. Unlike other military marathons, runners will see first-hand the Soldiers, equipment and places that make Fort Bragg the country’s go-to installation for worldwide military operations.
“The way we view it is: it is not just an island of Fort Bragg or just the surrounding community. We see it as a total, complete picture. So to be able to blend all of the resources, it is a continual interaction and engagement. It is not just specific events such as this, it is day-to-day activities, where we’re interacting sharing information to make sure that we have the best services available for the protection of the community itself whether it’s on the installation or off the installation so that there is a resounding effect of all the efforts coming together at one point or one time,” Col. Reed said.
The current number of registered participants was listed at 3,000, but more are expected by race time.
“A lot of people wait until the very last minute to sign up, so we’re actually still expecting between 500 and 1,000 more runners,” Thompkins said.
The race route will be different than previous years. This year it will begin at Festival Park at 7:00 a.m., runners will run up Ray Ave. and turn right onto Rowan St. The race ends on the installation with an awards ceremony.
Starting at the Santa Fe ramp will be a special mile-long memoriam dedicated in honor of fallen Soldiers since Sept. 11, 2001, known as the “Wear Blue: Run to Remember” mile.
The Wear Blue: Run to Remember organization is “a national nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military,” according to their website. Some runners and volunteers will be participating by wearing blue jerseys or sweatshirts and holding flags. Signs will also be posted in the mile-long area.
“’The wear blue: run to remember’ mile is in honor of the fallen soldiers since 9/11 ... names are actually submitted by members of our community and from the Fort Bragg installation,” Thompkins said.
“Family members and friends are encouraged to submit their fallen loved ones to the ‘wear blue: run to remember’ organization and they’re the ones that print those signs and they get volunteers out to hold the flags and post the signs for us.”