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Inaugural Base2Base run a success

Runners participate in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

Runners participate in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

Family members cheer on runners in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

Family members cheer on runners in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

In support of Military Appreciation Month the Sumter, S.C., YMCA hosted a 21-mile Base-2-Base Race, starting from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, in Eastover, S.C., and finishing at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, S.C., May 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

In support of Military Appreciation Month the Sumter, S.C., YMCA hosted a 21-mile Base-2-Base Race, starting from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, in Eastover, S.C., and finishing at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, S.C., May 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

In support of Military Appreciation Month the Sumter, S.C., YMCA hosted a 21-mile Base-2-Base Race, starting from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, in Eastover, S.C., and finishing at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, S.C., May 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

In support of Military Appreciation Month the Sumter, S.C., YMCA hosted a 21-mile Base-2-Base Race, starting from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, in Eastover, S.C., and finishing at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, S.C., May 1, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

Long-distance runners support Military Appreciation Month by competing in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward E. Snyder)

Long-distance runners support Military Appreciation Month by competing in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward E. Snyder)

Runners participate in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

Runners participate in the inaugural YMCA-Sumter Base-2-Base Race, May 1, 2016 along Garners Ferry Road, in Eastover, S.C. The 21-mile race began at the front gate of McEntire Joint National Guard Base with the finish line at Shaw Park, near Shaw Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- 61 people participated in the inaugural Base2Base run on May 1 from Eastover to Sumter, SC. Relay teams of two runners as well as individuals ran eastbound along Highway 378 for 21.2 miles. The race started at the front gate at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and finished at Shaw Park on the eastern side of Shaw Air Force Base. The race was sponsored by the Sumter YMCA as part of their Warriors to Wellness program. "It's an opportunity to connect our military with our civilians and show them how much we appreciate our military at the same time," said Missy Corrigan, Executive of Community Health at the Sumter YMCA and the race organizer.

Corrigan said she's been in her present position for about 15 months and has worked at the Sumter YMCA for eight years. She is also married to Lt. Col. Ryan "Rider" Corrigan an F-16 pilot who works for the Aerospace Control Alert mission at McEntire. "My position is to identify needs in the community and try to find resources, partners, programs and services that can help meet those needs and close the gap. It's all about community outreach and making people feel secure and confident and improve their quality of life within our community," Corrigan said.

The idea for the race came from an event she saw in Alabama. "I remembered a race from Birmingham called Statue to Statue which is a 15 kilometer race and I thought it would be really neat if we could do a (Shaw Air Force) Base to (McEntire Joint National Guard) Base race. Quite a few of those who work at McEntire live in the Sumter community," Corrigan said. She explained that after pitching the idea to Col. Stephen Jost, the 20th Fighter Wing Commander at Shaw AFB as well as to Col. David Meyer, 169th Fighter Wing Commander at McEntire JNGB last October, both bases were enthusiastic and the project grew from there.

The Sumter YMCA's Warriors to Wellness program is specifically targeted toward the military and their families, Corrigan explained. "We have quite a few military members and families here at our YMCA and as part of my job of reaching out and seeing what their needs are. Being that I am a military spouse myself, I understand the struggles and challenges that come along with the military life and in talking with a lot of them and them needing to find a place in the community where they could really connect, I was thinking how is there a way that we could provide some sort of services for them and that's why we created our Warriors to Wellness program for them," she said.

While not quite the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles, the Base2Base race covered a distance of 35 kilometers which comes out to be about 83 percent of a marathon's distance.

This reporter ran the entire race and the course and the conditions were in a word, challenging. The weather was warm and humid with intermittent showers and the route consisted of several strenuous hills. Runners ran along the shoulder of Highway 378 or in the right-hand lane where there was no shoulder. Even for a Sunday morning, there was a fair amount of traffic along the way. But thanks to support from Richland and Sumter county law enforcement, the runners were kept safe.

The winner of the Base2Base race on the men's side was Jake Reed from Sumter with a time of 2 hours 25 minutes. The overall female winner was Samantha Wiegand, also from Sumter, with a time of 3:08.

The team "Code Blue" consisting of Alex McDonald and Darrell Brown placed first in the relay division with an overall time of 2:40.

Reflecting afterwards, Corrigan said "I just think from start to finish the overall event was well executed. DOT, both sheriff's departments, our volunteers all were great. I don't think it could have run any more smoothly."

Looking ahead to next year, Corrigan said they may have the race in November during Military Family Appreciation month as well as having the route go from Shaw to McEntire and alternating the direction every year afterwards.