WADS team runs 491 miles during 24-Hour POW/MIA Run

  • Published
  • By By Maj. Kimberly D. Burke, Western Air Defense Sector Public Affairs

Over 50 members of the Western Air Defense Sector ran a combined total of 491 miles during the 24-Hour POW/MIA Remembrance Run at the McChord Field track Sept. 19-20, 2019.  WADS placed first in the team division with the 1-94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, finishing second with 288.5 miles and the 627th Security Forces Squadron finishing third with 241.5 miles.

The event was hosted by the Air Force Sergeants Association and included participants from Air Force, Army, Washington Air National Guard and USAF Reserves assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The run raised awareness and honored prisoners of war and those still missing in action.  A total of 3,101 miles were completed and over 500 individuals participated in keeping the POW/MIA flag going at all times and at all hours.  The $2,000 raised during the event will be donated to the McChord Field Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 1461 (a 501(c) (3) charitable nonprofit organization).

WADS also placed first in the individual division with retired Senior Master Sgt. Bruce Robie, the National Airspace System Defense program manager for the 225th Support Squadron, completing 81 miles over a 24-hour period.  The next closest competitor was Paul Pazar, 17th FAB (62 miles) and John Spurlock, 17th FAB (59.5 miles).

Robie is an avid long distance runner and has completed multiple ultra-distance marathons all over the United States and overseas.  Robie has been participating in the POW/MIA Run since 2014 where he consistently increased his mileage from 41 miles (2016) to 74 miles (2018) to 81 miles (2019). 

This year, Robie was unsure about participating after completing a grueling 91-mile, 4 day trek around Mt. Rainier during the Wonderland Trail race in August 2019.

“The Wonderland Trail race reminded me that there are some life impacting, amazing adventures out there for the taking – if we’re willing to step (or run) outside our comfort zone,” explained Robie.  “I carried with me this motto into the POW/MIA run…I don’t know how this will end but I know how it will start with me accepting the challenge…1 stride/ 1 mile, 1 minute/ 1 hour.”

Robie feels that participating in the POW/MIA Run is an event that is for a cause greater than one’s self.  “What an honor to run on behalf of those fallen and forgotten and who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Robie. “Having that mission statement as a reminder, provides the fuel to overcome self-doubt, physical discomfort, cold temps, rain or any other challenges that we may encounter, throughout 24-hours of track time. Taking a turn carrying the POW/MIA flag, which must always remain in motion during the event, provides a surge of energy that far exceeds any sugary gel or liquid supplements.”

This year’s run proved to Robie that he is capable of running more than three marathons in 24 hours, and he established a new personal best for most miles ever run in a single year - 1596 (with over three months still remaining in the year).

Contributing significantly to the WADS team running mileage total were:

Bill Cooper, 225th ADS spouse, 37 miles

Master Sgt. Eric Poe, 225th Support Squadron, 25 miles

Maj. Kip Trausch, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 25 miles

Staff Sgt. Christine Cooper, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 24 miles

Master Sgt. Michael Doing, 225th Support Squadron, 20.5 miles

Staff Sgt. Rachel Blevins, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 19.25 miles

Staff Sgt. Kevin Peltier, 225th Support Squadron, 18.5 miles

Col. Brett Bosselmann, commander, 225th Support Squadron, 17.5 miles

Lt. Col. Matthew Venable, 225th Support Squadron, 13 miles

1st Lt. Brian Villanueva, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 10.5 miles

Maj. John Dalrymple, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 9.5 miles

Maj. Daniel McIntosh, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 8.5 miles

Tech. Sgt. Patrick Ilog, 225th Support Squadron, 8.25 miles

Master Sgt. Eric Poe, 225th Support Squadron, 7.75 miles

Maj. David Brown, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 7.75 miles

Col. Brian Bergren, commander, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 7.5 miles

Airman First Class Alice Miller, 225th Air Defense Squadron, 7 miles