|Stroller Warriors Running Club|
The 1st Lt David “MEZr” Schmitz Memorial 5K took place yesterday at Shaw AFB, SC. Our family took part in this meaningful run on the base flightline, along with approximately 300 other Shaw AFB Airmen and family members. There were runners, strollers, walkers, dogs, and a large group of kids on bikes and scooters leading the pack.
This morning included a full spectrum of emotions as fog blanketed the base and breaking immediately before the run began. Like all 5K runs, there was the buzz of excitement as friends and families gathered near the start line, however this run displayed an added touch— all participants wore red race shirts representing the 77th Fighter Squadron’s official color (this was 1st Lt Schmitz’s squadron).
This sea of red assembled in the grassy area between taxiways to hear remarks from 1st Lt Schmitz’s family, Wing leadership, close aviator friends, and to unveil a memorial stone located on the spot where he tragically lost his life when his ejection seat failed.
As the fog lifted, the justifiably somber ceremony also lifted into excitement in celebration of 1st Lt Schmitz’s life and legacy as everyone positioned themselves at the start. The kids took to their bikes and were busy boasting over who was going to win, while the parents watched this youthful peloton race down the runway just like the F-16s during takeoff! Parents, Airmen, base personnel, and retirees tried to keep up with the kids; however, they were simply too fast. Everyone still gave it their all nonetheless to commemorate the meaningful purpose of this 5K run.
Though runways on Fighter bases are typically full of the thunderous roar of the jets, today was different—it included the rhythmic sound of feet striking the ground, the slight wind rustling through the tall grass, the chirping of crickets, and the happy chatter of friends running together, specifically, Stroller Warrior Elsewhere friends
Most interesting, though this race was designed to be a 5K, the race ended unintentionally a bit short at 2.77 miles…a poignant connection directly back to 1Lt Schmitz’s squadron, the 77th.
Proceeds from the 5K support the Lt David Schmitz Foundation which you can read more about through last week’s blog post: https://www.strollerwarriors.com/blog/running-to-honor-1st-lt-david-mezr-schmitz.