Service Members compete in Ginowan Traffic Safety Relay Race
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Service members and local residents gathered on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Jan. 21 for the start of the annual Ginowan City Traffic Safety Relay Race.
Thirty-five teams from Ginowan City along with teams from MCAS Futenma and the U.S Naval Hospital Okinawa competed in the 14-kilometer race around the perimeter of MCAS Futenma. Marines compete in the race yearly and the air station does its part by featuring the start and finish line inside Gate 4.
“The teams ranged from children to senior citizens,” said Atsuchi Sakima, the Ginowan City mayor. “By each team running this race and passing their colors, they are building rapport and friendship. My favorite part of this event is that they’re running toward the same goal and to accomplish that, they must work as one.”
Participants followed crosswalk and traffic signals during the race in an effort to raise awareness for traffic safety. Race officials were stationed at each crosswalk to ensure participants complied with the rules.
“The Marines and sailors really enjoyed themselves and the opportunity to interact with the local community,” said Lt. Col. Robert Sweginnis, executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacfic. “Events like this are a great opportunity to showcase the strong bilateral relationship we have with our Japanese hosts.”
Teams from the Ginowan City Fire Department came in first and second with the Marines placing third, sparking a friendly competition for future races.
“Watch out next year,” said Sweginnis, “because we’ll be taking the trophy home with us.”