Sound to Narrows: 2 races in 2 nations in 1 day

The 804th Movement Control Team, a U.S. Army Reserve from Tacoma, plans to hold a Sound to Narrows shadow race Saturday at Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield.
The 804th Movement Control Team, a U.S. Army Reserve from Tacoma, plans to hold a Sound to Narrows shadow race Saturday at Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield. Courtesy

On a typical morning at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, Capt. Antoinette Hyres wakes at 7 a.m., eats breakfast then goes to work.

Hyres commands the 804th Movement Control Team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Her unit spends much of the day answering emails, phone calls and attending meetings before their shift ends about 6 p.m.

After dinner and perhaps some time in the gym, Hyres usually can get a small taste of home by calling her husband.

But this weekend, she and about 200 people on base will wake up early to experience a Tacoma tradition: The Sound to Narrows.

The 44th Sound to Narrows will be Saturday at Vassault Park, and this year the race is going international.

Hyres’ unit will stage a version of the Sound to Narrows at Bagram. The race along a loop of base roads will start at 6 a.m. Sunday in Afghanistan, 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tacoma.

The field will consist of runners from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Military personnel from other countries, and civilians and contractors, will participate, too, Hyres said.

“There are numerous virtual runs here in Bagram,” Hyres said via email, referring to a Boston Marathon in April and a Georgia Half Marathon in March.

“I noticed the month of June didn’t have a lot of runs scheduled so I thought this would be an opportunity to bring some Washington spirit to Bagram by hosting the Sound To Narrows 12K.

“It’s the state’s oldest 12K ... and what better way to promote health and fitness (than) by bringing the Sound to Narrows to Afghanistan, especially since our unit is based out of Tacoma.”

Sound to Narrows, which traditionally kicks off with a 6:30 a.m. military race, was quick to embrace the race.

“We’ve had strong involvement from the military in the past so it made sense,” said race director Danette Felt.

Felt didn’t have enough time to mail race shirts to the participants in Bagram, so she shipped them shirts from last year’s race. As of Thursday morning, the shirts had yet to arrive, Hyres said.

“I’m hoping they arrive on time for the race,” she said.

Temperatures are expected to be near 70 degrees at the start of the race. Just as many soldiers do as they run through Point Defiance with fully loaded ruck sacks, Hyres suspects the participants in Bagram won’t necessarily be taking it easy.

“There might be a few that choose to run or walk in their body armor, which I’ve seen in the past,” Hyres said.

One aspect of the Tacoma race they can’t simulate is the Sound to Narrows’ trademark hills.

“The course is fairly flat on the road,” Hyres said.

However, the air will be a thinner for these military athletes. No point on the Tacoma Sound to Narrows course climbs to more than 350 feet above sea level.

The course in Bagram is at 4,895 feet.

Sound to Narrows

When: Saturday

Where: Start at Vassault Playfield, 6100 N. 37th St., Tacoma

Entry fee: $35 for 13 and older, $10 for those 12 and younger through Friday (June 10). $40 day of race. $10 per dog. Registration is free for youths 12 and younger participating in the 2K junior shuffle and Diaper Dash.

Races and times: Military Race, 6:30 a.m.; 2K, 8:10 a.m.; 12K, 8:30 a.m.; 5K, 8:40 a.m. (run with your dog in the 5K Hound to Narrows); Walkers, 8:45 a.m.; Diaper Dash, 10:15 a.m.

Street closures: North Vassault Street will be closed from North 37th Street to North Park Way, and North Park Way will be closed from there to the North Pearl Street entrance to Point Defiance Park until the race is complete. The Mildred Street and Pearl Street entrances to the park will be closed to traffic until 10:30 a.m. Vassault Park will be closed starting Friday (June 10) until race cleanup is completed Saturday.