USO Okinawa blasts color and fun for the 7th Annual 5K Run at Torii Beach

USO Okinawa blasts color and fun for the 7th Annual 5K Run at Torii Beach

by Cindy Kirkman
USO Okinawa

TORII STATION, OKINAWA, Japan – During the 7th Annual USO Okinawa Color Blast 5K Run, young and old alike ran through blasts of color along the beach of the East China Sea, on Torii Station Army Base. 

Torii Station Garrison Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Gleason, welcomed the crowd of over 400 runners, volunteers, and USO staff members. He gave the audience a quick history lesson of the traditions of throwing the ‘Holi’ color, explaining that the race has its history from India where many religions join in celebration.

“People join together in unity to celebrate the triumph of good over evil,” Gleason said. “So today may you also celebrate these same virtues as you participate in this run.”

The winners of this year’s race were as follows:

Female Division

First Place: Tammy Borsini (26.57)

Second Place: Marshall Hiestard (27.11)

Third Place: Cheri Perez (28.01)

Male Division

First Place: John Warrant (22.31)

Second Place: Brian Psolka (22.41)

Third Place: Colin Wilson (23.41)

Two-time winner Tammy Borsini, owner of Okinawa Yoga Studio and retired marine, said she’s been running this race since arriving on island in 2016.

“The Color Blast is by far my favorite fun run here on Okinawa,” Borsini said. “It is a very well-organized event and their swag bag is definitely worth running for.  The location of the event isn’t one to complain about at all! Thank you again USO Okinawa for putting on a wonderful family event.”

Phil VanEtten, USO Okinawa Director, said that this event was hosted by the USO Okinawa as an activity to strengthen and inspire United States service members by providing a community-bonding events where they spent quality time with their families and friends.  

“Having sponsors at the event like University of Maryland Global Campus – Asia, MBC Internet and Cable TV, Matson, and Billabong was a special treat as we could not do these types of events without them,”   VanEtten said. “We could not have asked for better weather and spending the morning with runners was really fun! We want to thank all of the participants, volunteers, and sponsors who came out to make this such a great event.”

Henry Hughes, Area Operations Manager, worked to organize the event with MWR.

“This event could not be possible without the cooperative partnership of Torii Station leadership.  We are very thankful for the opportunity to work together,” said Hughes. “Holding the event on Torii Station is special for several reasons.  First, the fun run finishes along a beautiful coastline that can inspire any running enthusiast.  Second, this event demonstrates the great partnership between USO Okinawa and Torii Station leadership. We could not hold this event without a great working relationship with installation, MWR, and DPW leadership and support.”

“Every year at some point during the event, I pause for a moment to admire the beautiful scenery that Torii Station provides and think that this must be one of the most unique places to hold a 5K run,” Hughes said. “We hope to see you all next year!”

 

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