Participants take on downpours to "Run With the Warriors"
Hundreds of runners braved the elements in support of the “5th Annual McLean 5K Run with the Warriors” in Mclean, Va., Oct. 3.
According to the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation, a co-sponsor of the run since 2012, temperate weather conditions could not dampen the warrior spirit of approximately 585 participants.
Sponsored by Vinson Hall Retirement Community, Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation and Century 21 New Millennium, the purpose of the run is to benefit the Wounded Warrior Transitional Housing at Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean.
The runners included veterans, wounded warriors, active duty service members of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy and local corporate sponsors who raised more than $55,000, with expectation of incoming matching gifts for corporate teams. Overall, last year’s donations were exceeded by $2,000.
Kathleen Martin, CEO, Vinson Hall Retirement Community and Executive Director of Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation, explained, “These funds will support wounded warriors who are detaching from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, still in rehab, but still not detached from the service yet, who are leaving housing up at Walter Reed and are in need of finding an apartment or house somewhere in town.”
“So they’ll still be going back-and-forth for treatment and therapy at Walter Reed. They will be housed in transitional apartments we have available at Vinson Hall, which are all set up, totally furnished, all utilities are provided and we welcome all Wounded Warriors. We’ve been working with the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Detachment at Walter Reed and thus far we’ve had only Marines in our apartments,” said Martin.
“Vinson Hall’s independent living has veterans who have honorably served in all of the services, as well as, the Department of Defense, Department of State, Defense Foreign Service and CIA,” said Martin. “So our residents are elders who live here and have served our nation in one way or another. So it’s kind of like old warriors taking care of young warriors and it’s a wonderful blend,” Martin noted.
“Our mission is to provide housing and services for seniors, and we have extended our mission somewhat to include those who are wounded,” Martin added.
At the conclusion of the race, first place winner in the female category belonged to Emme-Cate Heilbrun, 12-year-old daughter of retired Marine Mark Heilbrun.
“I ran this race before when I was 10,” said Heilbrun, who crossed the finish line with a time of 21 minutes flat. “I do a lot of triathlons, so I get a lot of run training,” said the 7th-grade student at South County Middle School.
“I feel really good about supporting this Wounded Warrior run. I plan on doing it again next year,” Heilbrun added.
“We are very thankful to the race sponsors who support the military personnel and veterans. I was never wounded, but my thought is that the last 15 years have been very difficult times for individuals who choose to support our country and are coming back with debilitating injuries,” said Mark Heilbrun.
“Emme gets a lot of encouragement from the troops, but also a lot of passion and joy out of running,” said the Lorton resident. “I was very proud to be watching the race and seeing all the Marine spirit,” Mark Heilbrun said.
The winner of the male category was Miles Kloer from Albuquerque, who welcomed the rain and fresh air, in comparison to the higher elevation and hot, arid climate of New Mexico. “
This was my first time running this race and it was a huge amount of fun. I didn’t have to worry about taking a shower today,” said Kloer, joking about the rain downpours throughout the course. “It’s benefitting a good cause for the Wounded Warriors; who doesn’t want to support that. But it also gave me a chance to come out and visit family and enjoy running in a lower elevation of 5,000 feet,” said Kloer, placing first with a time of 16:55.
His father, Rick Kloer of Reston, noted, “I’m proud of my son for running in this event. I think this is an excellent project to support,” said the former Marine.
According to the NMCGRF, at present, the McLean 5K has raised more than $214,000 for Wounded Warrior Transitional Housing through registration and corporate sponsorships since its inception in 2011.
Among the other sponsors, Under Armour joined in this years’ sponsorship by donating weather resistant T-Shirts for participants, as well as Bank of Georgetown, Citibank, JBG, P.F. Changs and Thundercat Technology.