TORII STATION BEACH, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan --
Marines with a combat assault battalion spent the morning holding the Kids Fun Run for approximately 40 children, on Torii Station Beach, Aug. 15.
The run was designed to help build unit morale among Marines and families of 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This is something for the kids,” said Kimberly Jackson, wife of Lt. Col. Carlos Jackson, the battalion commander. “I wanted them to have a day where they could be the center of attention.”
The run was designed with short distances of approximately 200 yards and courses as long as a mile. Small children ran the shorter distances; parents and older children ran the longer ones.
The pint-sized competitors and their parents had to overcome adversity to finish the race. They endured the subtropical Okinawan heat and humidity, striving to cross the finish line before nap time curtailed their quest. A few tykes toddled into the land of nod rather than across the line, while others strayed from the course as they became transfixed by the toys they brought along. However, the event concluded without any injuries, and all competitors received medals to commemorate the happy, incident-free race.
“Everyone is a winner today,” said the battalion commander, who hails from Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife.
After the race, families migrated to the beach to finish their day by splashing in the waves.
According to Mrs. Jackson, the run was such a success that she anticipates planning to make it an annual event. She has already started unofficially planning the next Kids Fun Run for the battalion.