MILLINGTON, Tenn. – The 8th Annual Navy Ten Nautical Miler will feature more opportunities for wounded and disabled veterans than ever before.
The race has worked with a group from the Veterans Affairs offices in Memphis since 2011 providing complimentary race entries to veterans who would not otherwise be able to participate.
In past years a variety of participants with limitations like visual impairments, PTSD, amputees, and limited mobility were able to run in special categories for wheelchair, hand cycle & recumbent bikes. Additionally relay teams have been established and volunteer guides are available for the vision impaired.
To increase participation in these categories, the NTNM is partnering with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to provide more opportunities for veterans to participate.
“Starting in 2017 we are expanding our number of hand cycle participants and working with the Paralyzed Veterans of America Racing Team to engage even more of our disabled veteran community,” said Stephanie Blakey, race director.
The individual needs of each veteran are assessed by the team to determine the right category fit.
“Some of our participants can complete the entire course; however, many cannot,” said Blakey. “We work with our VA staff to assess the abilities of the participants and form relay teams so they can all complete the event as a team. Each participant receives a full runners package with shirt, goody bag & other perks; and each member of the team receives their own finisher medal.”
When needed, the NTNM works with volunteer active-duty servicemembers to escort participants from the VA hospital. They assist in completing the course safely, as well as offer encouragement from a fellow servicemember.
“When you are used to the camaraderie of active duty, it can be hard to leave that behind when you retire or are medically separated,” said Blakey. “Providing these opportunities is one small way we can thank these veterans for their service and let them know that they are still a part of the military family.”
Naval Support Activity Mid-South is home to approximately 6,000 military, civilian and contract personnel. Additionally, the installation provides regional support to a 6 state area and approximately 45,000 military retirees.
“This race draws participants from all over the country and even from overseas,” said Capt. David Bryson, commanding officer, NSA Mid-South. “But I am most proud of the work that this team does to include our veterans, no matter their abilities. It is the Navy family that everyone is uniform is so grateful for during and after their service.”
Also new the race this year is the addition of pacer runners to help participants better pace their runs for their desired finishing time.
The NTNM will once again feature the Mini Miler for kids ages 5-12.This race is 1 Nautical Mile and includes a kid friendly goody bag and a medal for each participant.
The NTNM Expo and Mini Miler will be held on Saturday, June 3. The NTNM will be held on Sunday, June 4. The Expo, Mini Miler and start/finish lines for the main race will be at the NSA Mid-South N-82 Gym at 7915 Memphis Ave., Millington, TN 38054.
Registration for the race continues online through 11:59 on Monday, May 29. A limited number of on-site registrations will be available at the expo on June 3.
All proceeds from the race go back into the NSA Mid-South Morale Welfare and Recreation programs which benefit Sailors and their families.
This article originally appeared as a press release from NSA Mid-South Public Affairs