Photo courtesy of Eric Townsend.
On Oct. 11, Veterans’ Memorial Park will be filled with participants in the second annual Family Fun Run and 10K Ruck Challenge, benefitting local veterans’ service organizations.
Family Fun Run and 10K Ruck Challenge
Oct. 11, 7:30 a.m.-noon
4800 Valleydale Road
Thanks to the vision of Mark Ryan, the National Veteran’s Day Parade, which has its origin in the Magic City, has come back in a big way.
But before it arrives in downtown Birmingham on Nov. 11, the second annual Family Fun Run and 10K Ruck Challenge will take place Oct. 11 in Hoover’s own Veterans Park.
According to OIF/OEF Veteran and event organizer TSgt Eric D. Townsend, a ruck challenge is a military style race that incorporates carrying weight throughout the race. Both the weight and team member(s) need to cross the finish line to complete is successfully.
“The ‘Ruck’ involves the longer distance (10K) and wearing a weighted backpack or vest,” Ryan said. “The military term for the backpack is the Rucksack or Ruck, hence the name.”
During last year’s race, Ryan said one of the participating groups, Team Red, White and Blue, carried not only the required gear but also an additional 80 pounds, just for fun.
Ryan started the race to involve younger veterans and to generate support for Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs).
“All proceeds go to a non-profit veterans organization of the winner’s choice,” he said. “The organization must meet these qualifications to be considered. I want to emphasize that there are no administrative costs involved in this event, so all proceeds go directly to veterans charities.”
Townsend also added that the event is open for all who wish to participate, regardless of veteran status or military affiliation.
“There is always room for anyone that wants to donate and/or volunteer,” he said. “Regardless of your reason or ability, come out and join us.”
Townsend said the event was well received among those who participated last year.
“Last year’s event was outstanding, especially for it being the first year we did it,” Townsend said. “My Airmen participated and want to do it again. A great moment afterward was when I got a phone call from one of them thanking me for bringing the event to their attention.”
The Park’s centralized location made it an ideal choice as the race site, along with the layout of its terrain and course.
“Have fun, sweat a little and help raise money for national and local VSOs,” said Townsend. “What better way to support veterans and veterans organizations than to walk 10 kilometers with weight on your back?”