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WADS team runs 491 miles during 24-hr POW/MIA run

Teams raise $2,000 for the McChord Field Air Force Sergeants Association

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(Photo: Retired Senior Master Sgt. Bruce Robie, the National Airspace System Defense program manager for the 225th Support Squadron, runs 81 miles during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord 24-Hour POW/MIA Remembrance Run Sept. 19-20. Robie placed first in individual standings.)

More than 50 members of the Western Air Defense Sector ran a combined total of 491 miles during the 24-Hour POW/MIA Remembrance Run at the McChord Field track Sept. 19-20.

WADS placed first in the team division with the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, finishing second with 288.5 miles and the 627th Security Forces Squadron finishing third with 241.5 miles.

The event was hosted by the Air Force Sergeants Association and included participants assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from Air Force, Army, Washington Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. The run raised awareness and honored prisoners of war and those still missing in action.

A total of 3,101 miles were completed and more than 500 individuals kept the POW/MIA flag going at all times and at all hours. The $2,000 raised during the event will be donated to the McChord Field Air Force Sergeants Association, Chapter 1461.

WADS also placed first in the individual division with retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bruce Robie, the National Airspace System Defense program manager for the 225th Support Squadron, completing 81 miles over a 24-hour period. The next closest competitor was Army Spc. Paul Pazar (62 miles) and Army Staff Sgt. John Spurlock (59.5 miles), both from 17th FAB.

Robie is an avid long-distance runner and has completed multiple ultra-distance marathons all over the United States and overseas. He has participated in the POW/MIA Run since 2014. Since then, he has consistently increased his mileage from 41 miles in 2016, to 74 miles in 2018, to 81 miles in 2019.

This year, Robie said he was unsure about participating after completing a grueling 91-mile, four-day trek around Mount Rainier's Wonderland Trail in August 2019.

"The Wonderland Trail race reminded me that there are some life impacting, amazing adventures out there for the taking -- if we're willing to step (or run) outside our comfort zone," Robie said. "I carried with me this motto into the POW/MIA run ... I don't know how this will end, but I know how it will start with me accepting the challenge."

Robie said participating in the POW/MIA Run is for a cause greater than one's self.

"What an honor to run on behalf of those fallen and forgotten and (those) who made the ultimate sacrifice," he said. "Having that mission statement as a reminder provides the fuel to overcome self-doubt, physical discomfort, cold temperatures, rain or any other challenges that we may encounter throughout 24 hours of track time.

"Taking a turn carrying the POW/MIA flag, which must always remain in motion during the event, provides a surge of energy that far exceeds any sugary gel or liquid supplements."

This year's run proved to Robie that he is capable of running more than three marathons in 24 hours. He established a new personal best for most miles run in a single year: 1,596 to date in 2019.

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