On Tuesday, July 4 in Portsmouth, hundreds will take part in the 5th annual Pack & Boots 5K Run/Walk, which features a certified 5K course, a 1-mile Survival Run and a Kids Fun Run.
Two of the races at this year’s event are new. For the Kids 5K, which will be run with the Adult 5K, kids — ages 14 and under —are encouraged to run or walk for a fun challenge of their own. For those with very young children, ages 5 and under, the Fun Run is 150 meters.
As for the course for the 5K Run/Walk, it kicks off at Peirce Island and loops around Portsmouth. The most unique aspect of this popular annual event, however, is the 1-mile Survival Run, in which participants are asked to run in boots and wear a backpack that contains approximately 10 percent of their body weight. Participants can also sign up for a combined race that includes both the 5K and Survival Run.
“The Survival Run is a lot of fun and is a great way to symbolically show support for our veterans,” said race director David Hampson, who has also run the race in prior years. “The crowds are great — it is one of my personal favorite races. It is challenging, scenic and festive.”
Aside from cash prizes for overall top finishers in the 5K and great race “swag” for all participants, the race is particularly appropriate for July 4 given that proceeds will be used to support Veterans Count.
Founded in 2006 as “a voice for veterans struggling to adjust back into civilian life,” the organization provides everything from emergency aid to financial assistance to veterans and their families.
“This is an incredible program that provides critically-needed services,” noted Hampson. “The race is a chance to show your support for the men and women who help ensure the liberties we enjoy every day. It is a wonderful family event with a very important mission.”
For Hampson, the race also underscores the “true importance” and meaning of July 4.