Hanscom lieutenant races for veterans, crosses home base
By Meredith March, 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 03, 2010
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Racing to home plate at Fenway Park is just a daydream for most baseball fans, but for more than 2,000 runners on Sunday, it became a reality.
The Run to Home Base 9K race, which began on Yawkey Way, crossed the Charles River, then wound back across the river and into Fenway Park, was organized by the Home Base Program, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital that offers treatment and support to veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom who suffer from traumatic brain injuries and deployment-related stress disorders. Each runner raised or donated $1,000 for the opportunity to run in support of U.S. military members and their families.
Among the race's estimated 2,020 runners was a group of Hanscom Airmen. The first Hanscom finisher was 1st Lt. Ronald Jenkins, 350th Electronic Systems Group executive officer. Lieutenant Jenkins placed 14th overall, with a time of 35:13 (a 6:18 pace).
Lieutenant Jenkins, who had previously run mainly in preparation for the PFT, began running in earnest last spring after winning a 5K race that Col. Mary McRae, Electronic Systems Center chief of staff, encouraged him to enter. He currently runs in Hanscom's 5K races whenever his schedule allows, he said, and has committed to running in September's Air Force Marathon with his sister, a 2nd lieutenant at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
"I had promised my sister at the start of her Intel class in mid-2009, that if she made it through her eight or nine months of training, and wanted to do the Air Force Marathon, I'd do it with her," Lieutenant Jenkins said.
In addition to running's energizing and stress-relieving benefits, running provides an opportunity to get away from distractions and test the physical limits, Lieutenant Jenkins said.
"My favorite thing about running is the ever-present mental competition that exists to decide whether to keep pushing yourself or to give in to the weakness and stop short of really finding out what your body is capable of," he said.
For Lieutenant Jenkins, the Run to Home Base 9K race was special because in addition to testing him physically, it inspired him as a sports fan and as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
"I was excited about the prospect of getting to run inside Fenway Park and getting to cross home base," he said. "Any sports fan will tell you that Fenway Park and the Green Monster are icons in the sports world.
"As an Air Force officer, I was excited about the opportunity to represent the Air Force to the community in a race that was raising funds to provide care to the thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who weren't fortunate enough to return whole," he said. "Even though I'm not over there, my heart and mind go out to all those serving in harm's way, hoping that they're able to return home safely."