Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
The annual 5K educational fun run for Sexual Assault Awareness Month took place at the Combat Center’s Desert Winds Golf Course April 12.
The run was open to all Combat Center units and government employees.
“This event highlights a very important issue,” said Lt. Col. Michael Bowers, commanding officer, Headquarters Battalion. “It also got us out of our offices and makes us compete as a team.”
“Sexual assault is zero tolerance in the Marine Corps. It goes against honor, courage and commitment. Awareness needs to be raised towards this issue,” said Jennifer Husung, installation sexual assault response coordinator.
“We always take care of our own,” Bowers said. “No matter what we are doing, we started together, we are going to finish together. Never leave anyone behind.”
The participants competed in teams of three or four. If a team only had three people, one of the members was forced to carry a sand bag to take the place of the fourth team member. Each team member was asked three sexual assault related questions at the end of the race. Thirty seconds was added to a team’s overall time for every question that was answered wrong.
“We had to work together and finish together,” said Pfc. Christopher Smith, a runner with Consolidated Material Service Center, Team 11. “It is always good to come out to these events and bring awareness to an issue. This is more than just a piece of paper on the wall about sexual assault. This brings together a large crowd.”
Smith and his teammates, Cpl. Robert Garcia, Cpl. David Gonzalez and Lance Cpl. John Miller, took first place in the fun run.
Everyone who attended the run had a chance to enter a drawing for a night stay in Big Bear. The teams with the top three times also won prizes. Each member of the third-place team won a $25 gift card to the Marine Corps exchange and a certificate of participation. The members of the second-place team won $50 gift cards to the MCX, a certificate of participation and a plaque. The winning team of the race won a trophy and a coin from the commanding general.
“It feels good competing in something like this,” Smith said. “I am happy to contribute and spread the word of this problem.”