Boots For Troops 5K

The Boots For Troops 5K is a race that was done to raise awareness of our veterans and service members.  There were many groups supporting our service members, and these groups ran the 5K.  The Boots For Troops 5K was held at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, TN.  One group, Rescue 22 was standing for the awareness that at least 22 veterans commit suicide a day.  We had many of our cadets run the 5K in honor of many veterans.  Many of the other cadets were along the course and supporting the runners of the race.  Roughly 300 people came to the Boots For Troops 5K.  It was an honor to be supporting and respecting our veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. (Written by SA Alana Hart)

Most of our unit were volunteers, four ran the 5K and four were on a 4-person RUCK team. The RUCK team had to start and finish as a team, which each were in combat boots and carrying a 20lb. pack. Below are the experiences from 2 cadets:

The Ruck
Written by Cody Graves, SN

Being the first time that I have ever rucked, I found it to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Rucking a 5k, with an additional twenty pounds, was very intense and to make it all better I had the chance to go through this race with a four-man team. We started out very strong through the first mile and that’s when the true teamwork began as we all had to come together and push each other; at one point, one teammate said “I don’t think I can go on” – this was simply not acceptable as we all told him to push.
Finally, going into mile 2, we just traveled down a mountain and we kept in our mind that there was only one more mile left. Pushing harder and harder, kicking our legs faster and faster, we came into the final stretch. One teammate feeling the affects of the previous three miles needed an extra push at the finish line, which claimed the title of first place for the youth division. Just like we started, we finished as a team, even with everyone in the group being at different physical levels we all were able to compete in the race and honor Veteran’s day.
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The Run

PO2 Ian Fernandez
This was the first 5 kilometer run I have done in while, it was also  the first cross country run I have done, so it presented many new challenges that I didn’t prepare for. the terrain was hard, at times, to navigate. hydration and preparation was the key to success for this run.  Though my lungs couldn’t get enough air and my legs constantly wanted to stop, I had this constant drive to push harder and to run faster, that was what kept me going as long as I could. I also felt a weight to do well, for this fallen soldier who gave his or her life during service {every racer had a memorial bib, which had the name and rank of a fallen solider}.
Mile one was an easy feat because I only had to run on a little grassy hill at a slight angle.  Mile two was the forest segment. My legs had to keep up with my body as I ran a long section downhill, while constantly watching out for roots and rocks. The uphill segment was almost as hard and challenging as the down hill as I had to take smaller steps but run as fast as I could, again, while watching out for roots and for rocks.  The teammates that I was running with were there to help me if I stopped, and visa versa.  The teamwork and the knowledge that I was representing a fallen soldier, made the run not only easier, but also enjoyable.

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