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Runners find luck of the Irish

St Paddy's race a fun tradition

Gina Wadleigh, of Olympia, and her dog Chow near the finish line during the annual JBLM Shamrock ‘n Run 5K on Lewis Main Saturday. (JBLM PAO photo)

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More than 600 runners, dressed in a variety of Irish green attire, participated in the annual Shamrock ‘n Run 5K just outside Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Fest Tent on Lewis Main on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Saturday.

More than 40 of the newest members of the United States Army from the Seattle area got to see a different side of being in the military. After learning about training, missions and jobs available to Soldiers, the trip to JBLM presented another side — community.

The run was just part of a day trip, but it was a big part of what the folks from the Seattle Recruiting Battalion wanted to show the new Soldiers. The 5K fun run brought together families currently stationed at JBLM, along with veterans and civilians running together.

“They get to see the MWR side that you don’t always see in the recruitment,” said Capt. Daniel Galgano, Seattle Recruiting Battalion. “It helps them see it’s a big community atmosphere and one big (military) family.”

The Shamrock ‘n Run is the first race of the year on Family and MWR’s calendar and is usually one of the most well-attended events. The themed run celebrates the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday and encourages people to creatively dress up.

Many people wore different shades of green; some wore leprechaun costumes. Others had orange hair — whether naturally or with the help of a wig. Some added their own little flair, including Susan Hohstadt, a military spouse. She wore fuzzy rainbow leg warmers with a matching rainbow umbrella.

Hohstadt has taken both to previous Relay for Life events. She’s a cancer survivor who was first diagnosed in 2012 and finished treatment in 2014.

“To me, it’s about the magical spirit of fun,” Hohstadt said. “Just live life to the fullest. You don’t know what life’s going to bring, so have fun.”

Aside from the 5K run and the 1K Kids’ Run, Family and MWR’s Fest Tent also provided some activities for runners of all ages. An inflatable bounce house was open for children to exert any energy they

may have had left over from their 1K.

Adults were able to enjoy Irish beer in a custom pint glass provided, and children had root beer, green popcorn and cotton candy.

“It’s nice because the kids are involved, too,” said Angela Anderson, a military spouse.

While the JBLM Shamrock ‘n Run was considered a fun run with activities for families, it also provided a warmup for the upcoming running season.

Hunter Aman, a JBLM family member, was the first to cross the finish line in under 19 minutes. He is preparing for the cross-country season at Timberline High School.

“It’s alright, but it’s not my best,” Aman said.

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