MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines, sailors, family members and civilians strapped on their running shoes and gathered at Victory Field for the first Headquarters Battalion Installation Personnel Administration Center 5K Coyote Desert Fun Run here July 2.
As the air horn blared, runners who had been tense with anticipation sprang from their positions down a paved road with no thoughts of a trophy or cash prize at the finish line.
The event raised more than $2,000, which will go toward providing transportation, meals and lodging for junior Marines for upcoming trips, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sandy Alvarez, the deputy director for IPAC here. Registration was set at $15 and included a free t-shirt. Shirts could also be purchased by non-runners for $7.50.
The run kicked off at the intersection of Fifth and Bourke Street, curved left at First Street, extended to the hills beyond Griffin Road, and linked to Mainside again at Sixth Street before finishing at its starting point near Victory Field.
Master Sgt. Kelly Crawford, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team here, entered the race with his EOD technicians for the camaraderie and to help raise money for the battalion’s cause.
“We feel it’s important to support our battalion,” said Kelly, a Corvallis, Ore., native. “We’re killing two birds with one stone – we’re conducting physical fitness while also having the opportunity to interact with members of the battalion we never see.”
The participating Marines and sailors were also invited to bring family members and friends to join in.
Sgt. Savanna Malendoski, a warehouse clerk at the Consolidated Material Support Center, brought her twin sister, Sara, to participate while visiting from Perth, Australia.
“She can participate in this and have fun with us,” Malendoski said about bringing her sister. “She can also experience a portion of what we have to do for score twice a year.”
After all the runners had crossed the finish line, first, second and third place winners were announced in four categories: 30-and-over males, 30-and-over females, 30-and-under males, and 30-and-under females.
The first-place winners in each category were: Cpl. Daniel Thornton, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, for 30-and-over males; Melissa Dowd, wife of SSgt. Brant Dowd, Company A, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, for 30-and-over females; Lance Cpl. Noe Pena, Company C, MCCES, for 30-and-under males; and Sgt. Iris Duran, CMSC, for 30-and-under females.
IPAC will host the race again this time next year.