Nearly 200 members of Fort Belvoir’s youth community, and nearly as many parents, came out to Pullen Track, Saturday to compete in the 2019 America’s Armed Forces Kids Run.
The event, sponsored by Belvoir’s MWR and Child and Youth Services, gives military children a chance to compete each year in a variety of distance runs in different age groups to celebrate Armed Forces Day. President Harry S. Truman established the annual holiday in 1949 for citizens to thank U.S. military members for their patriotic service in support of the country.
Jerry Arrington, CYS sports and fitness director, along with Julie Libert and Rashawd Pope, CYS sports and fitness assistant directors, coordinated the Kids
Run, with help from fitness program specialists and volunteer parents.
Arrington said the Armed Forces Kids Run is a popular event aimed at getting more children actively involved in competition and providing an alternative athletic activity for youth who choose not to participate in the installation’s organized team sports.
“We’ve been doing this for the last 15 years. It’s one of the fitness programs we have to try to get kids involved in running,” he said. “Not all kids play team or individual sports. This is an opportunity for those kids who are not comfortable with playing on a team. This event is in May every year to celebrate Armed Forces Day and it’s just for kids to have a chance to get out, run and enjoy themselves.”
The Armed Forces Kids Run was open to children ages 4-13 and the individual distance runs are geared toward three separate levels of athletic development.
“We have the 4 to 6-year-old run, which is twice around the track, or a half mile. Then we have the 7 to 8-year-old race, which covers one mile. The 2-mile run is for the 9 to 13 year old age group,” Arrington said.
In keeping with the family-centered tradition of the Armed Forces Kids Run, many moms and dads joined their children in the races as well.
For information about the Armed Forces Kids Run call Julie Libert, CYS sports and fitness assistant director, 703-805-9138 or visit https://belvoir.armymwr.com/ categories/cys-services.