Halloween 5K fun run

Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 699th Maintenance Company out of Fort Irwin, Calif., sponsored the Halloween 5K fun run at Holt Memorial Stadium Oct. 31 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

The first finisher was Dennis Opacan, a Ugandan Army Soldier with a time of approximately 16 minutes 30 seconds.

First Lt. Douglas Pelletier, with the 887th Engineer Support Company, 37th Engineer Battalion, and company executive officer finished closely behind with a time of approximately 16 minutes 45 seconds.

The times of the first few runners were slightly off because they turned the wrong way into Holt Stadium which caused them to have to turn around and go the other way.

Pelletier, a Wells, Maine native, said he was confused when nobody was at the entrance to the gate to direct the runners but was pleased with his run time.

Sgt. Moises Herrera, armament repair specialist with the 699th Maint. Co. said he has run almost all of the 5k runs here.

“I had a lot of fun this morning,” said Herrera. “I wish we could of worn costumes, but we did get candy and water at the end of the race.”

Herrera, a Fresno Calif., native, said he had set a goal for him to finish in less than 20 minutes.

“My time was 19 minutes 55 seconds, so I achieved my goal,” said Herrera.

Spc. James D. Gregory, wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 699th Maint. Co. said he runs the 5Ks to boost his morale.

“It also helps me max out my run time for the Army physical fitness test,” said Gregory.

Gregory, a Kansas City, Mo., native, whose company is ready to redeploy in less than 50 days said he also ran the 5K to support for his company.

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph A. Eckley, technical inspector with the 699th Maint. Co. was the coordinator for the event and said it was a lot of work but also received a lot of support.

“All the external assets were provided by Morale, Welfare and Recreation,” said Eckley. “They basically had all the speakers and sound system set up; we just had to worry about the last minute things.”

All finishers of the 5K received candy as they crossed the finish line.

“The candy came from our rear detachment family readiness group,” said Eckley. “We had a small detail to fill the candy in bags and distribute them to the participants.”

Approximately 500 shirts were given to the runners who finished the race.

Eckley said it would have been nice for all the people to be able to wear costumes.

“That was something that came from higher, whether it is safety or force protection,” said Eckley. “I totally understood though and I respect that decision.”

Eckley said the event was an overall success.

“The weather held up, everybody looked like they had a good time, and everything worked out,” said Eckley.

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Spc. Rolonda Green, shop office clerk with the 699th Maintenance Company hands out candy to one of the participants in the Halloween 5K fun run Oct. 31 at Holt Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Green, a Hopkins, S.C., native, received the candy from their Family Readiness Group back at Fort Irwin, Calif.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. John Stimac 139th MPAD)

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Participants begin the Halloween 5K fun run held at Holt Stadium Oct.31at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. All finishers received a treat bag upon completion of the run.

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Dennis Opacan, a Ugandan Army Soldier finishes in first at the Halloween 5K fun run Oct. 31 at Holt Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Opacan ran the 5K in approximately 16 minutes 30 seconds.

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First Lt. Douglas Pelletier, executive officer 887th Engineer Support Company, 37th Engineer Battalion finishes second at the Halloween 5K fun run Oct. 31 at Holt Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Pelletier, a Wells, Maine native, ran the 5K in approximately 16 minutes 45 seconds.