With the help of USA Track and Field, Olympia resident Bryan Hoddle’s vision is now a national reality.
Hoddle’s “Run with a Soldier” program was launched by USATF on Tuesday, motivating runners to connect in person and on social media with men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The event encourages runners to identify soldiers in their communities and run with them in local races.
The inaugural date of the race, which was chosen by Hoddle, is the weekend before Veteran’s Day on Nov. 8-9.
“It’s a great lead-in to Veteran’s Day,” Hoddle said. “This thing will take off … I hope it stays a tradition all over the country.”
Hoddle said his inspiration for the event came after the Captain Kyle Comfort Memorial Foundation 5-kilometer run this past Veteran’s Day in Alabama.
His mission is to help battle-injured soldiers recuperate. He recently was honored by the state House of Representatives for working with disabled soldiers and athletes with disabilities, and he was the head U.S. track and field coach for the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece.
Hoddle is looking ahead to what the race could be in the South Sound. He said he envisions the race starting or ending at Marathon Park.
“We’re a running community,” he said.
In a prepared statement, USATF CEO Max Siegel said, “This program provides an opportunity for all Americans, including USATF and the U.S. running community, to honor the brave men and women who risk their lives for our country. We can all be a part of a national demonstration of support, using our sport as a platform.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick