JBLM families jump into the first Polar Skip & Dip Race

By Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke on December 17, 2014

Servicemembers and their families braved the cold water of American Lake when they took the plunge for the first JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k Fun Run or Walk at Shoreline Park at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 13.

The JBLM Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation hosted the 5k and 2k run for more than 250 participants, nearly 40 of whom took the plunge into the cold water.

"With this run, the main focus is to bring something different to the families of JBLM; we want to spice it up, we don't want to just run," said Stephanie Parr, the recreation assistant from the DFMWR intramural sports office. "We want to make sure that each event has its own feature, which in this event will be the dip. In between all of our usual fun runs, the best thing to do is to offer something different, exciting and new like this race here. I'm glad to be a part of it."

Col. Charles H. Hodges, the JBLM commander, who brought the first ever zombie 5k run to the base Nov. 1, was pleased to see another unique activity offered to the servicemembers and families that make up the JBLM community.

"This is a new concept and we always want to be fresh in our ideas. This is a chance for people to come out and do something a little bit different than what they've done before," said Hodges. "JBLM is known for innovation and having a great imagination. It's good we can embrace that mindset throughout the entire community."

>>> Kayla Conriquez, 7, high-fives her mother, Amanda Bennett, after her mom braved the cold water during the first ever JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k fun run or walk at Shoreline Park, JBLM, Dec. 13, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke

Several families ran together and some children were experienced enough to run the 2k by themselves. Seven-year-old Kayla Conriquez runs weekly with her mother, Amanda Bennett, and she ran the JBLM Zombie Apocalypse 5k run by herself. So naturally she ran the 2k solo.

Conriquez said the race was fun and plans to do several races next year after completing three this year.

Two brothers, Ari and Eli Vitor, ages 12 and eight, ran the race together and braved the freezing water to complete every event.

"I found it fun even though it's cold, but it's still fun to do. I don't regret going in the cold water," said the older brother Ari.

"I liked the water part a lot and wasn't scared to go in," said Eli with a shivering smile.

Despite the race calendar becoming extremely full for the JBLM DFMWR 2015 race season, they are always looking for new possibilities to add variety, explained Parr.

"There is another race in the works for next summer, but I can't give any information about that one," she hinted. "We want to surprise JBLM with that race, it's going to be great."

For the 2015 race calendar, click here or email usarmy.jblm.imcom.list.dfmwr-sports@mail.mil for further information.

Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke is with the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.

>>> Ari and Eli Vitor, ages 12 and 8, warm up after taking a dip in the cold water during the first ever JBLM Polar Skip & Dip 5k and 2k fun run or walk at Shoreline Park, JBLM, Dec. 13, 2014. More than 200 adults completed the 5k and nearly 50 children finished the 2k and many braved the cold water of American Lake to complete the dip portion after the race. They had several door prizes given away during the dip in American Lake portion with two grand prizes, a Dell tablet and a Great Wolf Lodge gift certificate. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke