CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan --
Members of both the U.S. military and local Okinawa communities, took part in the Kinser Half-Marathon Jan. 12 at Camp Kinser.
The 13.1-mile route took participants throughout the base - starting and finishing at the Kinser Gym.
Many participants arrived at the Kinser Gym hours before the race began. They arrived early to properly stretch, warm up, and maximize their efforts in finishing the race with their best possible time. With many of the participants giving months of training to get a personal record, waking up earlier than usual was the least difficult part of their preparation.
The half-marathon was open to both military and local Okinawa communities. This event is one of many that are open to the public.
“We are here in their home country,” said Mikala Serda, a sports coordinator with Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS). “This gives Okinawans an opportunity to come on base, see how we do things, have fun, and interact with us - building our partnership”
At the start of the race a staff member counted down the minutes, then seconds. The crack of the starting pistol traveled through the air; hearts pounded, adrenaline started kicking in, and the only thing on one’s mind was the journey to the finish - the race had finally begun.
Participants proceeded on their way to the finish line, but they couldn’t help but receive cheers and motivation from friends and families spectating.
As time passed, the challenge that participants had committed themselves to, was finally completed. Everyone that had finished could acknowledge the goal they reached by congratulating each other. People that had never met before then had just ran 13.1 miles together.
“The half-marathon went great,” said Staff Sgt. Jessica Branham, a motor vehicle operator with 3d Marine Logistics Group. “It’s really nice to see how far we can push our bodies and see how much work we put into training.”
The event was coordinated with MCCS - a comprehensive set of programs that support and enhance the operational readiness, war fighting capabilities, and life quality of Marines, their families, retirees and civilians. Their mission is to take care of Marines and their families by providing quality of life programs, products, and services in support of the Marine Corps objectives.