MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
The Iwakuni Roadrunners held the first Couples and Lonely Hearts Race to commemorate the romantic season of Valentine’s Day while staying healthy here Feb. 12.
Forty eight racers, coming from all over the air station, participated in the race.
“We wanted to do something different for the up and coming Valentine’s Day, but we realized not everyone has a romantic partner so we tried to make it open to everyone,” said Haley B. Singler, club founder and race organizer.
To change up the usual style of a 10 Kilometer race, the Iwakuni Roadrunners decided to make it a relay race with your partner.
“It’s a 10K race and the competitors can run it as a ‘lonely heart’ or find someone to run with,” said Singler. “It doesn’t have to be your spouse it can be anyone of the opposite sex and then run 5k in relay form.”
With the new style of race, the winners had to be chosen by looking at more than just their times.
“At the end we will combine the times and ages to find our winners of each category,” said Singler.
The first place winner was awarded with a box of a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and an official Iwakuni Roadrunners medal.
The overall winner and first place finish in the Mens 10k division was 1st Lt. Joseph A. Pacentrilli, Marine Aircraft Logistics Group 12 supply officer-in -charge.
The winner of the Womens 10k division was Cpl. Kirsten L. Battocchio, Marine Aircraft Group 12 aircraft maintenance administrative specialist. The winners of the couple’s portion of the race, each of whom ran 5k, was Marie Jules- Byrd and Gunnery Sgt. Jamie L. Byrd, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 bulk fuel specialist. The Iwakuni Roadrunners don’t always think of every event as a competitive race, but an enjoyable experience with other people who enjoy running and staying fit.
“Everybody here is friendly, it’s a great group and everybody is pushing themselves,” said Pacentrilli.
During the race, it was clear to everyone there was a wide variety of skill levels.
“After the turnaround point, when I was running back, I noticed a lot of these women who were pushing their strollers with one, two, and three kids,” said Pacentrilli. “It was really motivating to see all the people out here enjoying themselves.”
The motivation of uniting everyone for a Valentine’s Day run ended up bringing people together and allowed families to race together.
“It was a little cold and there was a bit of wind but it was a good run,” said Meeghan Ertwine and her son, Colby Ertwine, 13, couples runners and club members.
The Roadrunners come together every month for a unique race and allow anyone to come out and join or just run.
“I love this running club and I like doing races,” said the Ertwines. “It keeps us motivated.”
The next race is scheduled for March 17 and will be unique to St. Patrick’s Day.
This will also be replacing the annual Run on the Green race due to the construction on the golf course.