Approximately 100 people participated in the 2023 Northern Strike 5K Run/Walk/Ruck at Camp Grayling Sunday, August 6, raising money for three different military-related causes.
Jennifer Caverson, Camp Grayling Community Relations Specialist, said the field in this year’s 5K was “a nice mix” of community members, military personnel, and people of all ages, including several “patriotic” entries “dressed in red, white and blue.”
Event organizers said the event – sponsored by Paddle Hard Brewing, Matt LaFontaine Automotive, Kodiak Group, and Q100 radio – helped raise money for the Camp Grayling USO Center, the Camp Grayling Wellness and Recreation Program fund and the National Guard Association of Michigan scholarship for leadership and service.
“We’re splitting it three (ways),” Caverson said.
Camp Grayling hosted a similar 5K event last year – Run for the Roses – during its Kentucky Derby Gala. This year, organizers opted to conduct the race during the opening days of Northern Strike in order to give people a closer look at Camp Grayling’s largest training event of the year. The 5K started and ended at the Camp Grayling parade field.
“I have people request tours all the time,” Caverson said. “This year, I thought it would be cool to bring people in during Northern Strike.”
Col. Scott Meyers, Camp Grayling Commander, said this summer’s Northern Strike will feature approximately 7,700 soldiers, including personnel from 25 different states, representing several branches of the armed forces.
Kent Smith, Garrison Command Sergeant Major, said Northern Strike has a “huge impact” on the community and Camp Grayling wanted to offer “an opportunity for people to see the impact and get a little bit closer look” at the troops as they move through the facility and train.
“The community is a part of Northern Strike. We’re trying to do a better job of getting them more ingrained,” CSM Smith said.
CSM Smith said the troops were scheduled to leave for the field Monday, August 7.
Finishers of the 5K received Northern Strike medals. Fun Promotions – a company that has helped organize many races at Hanson Hills over the last several years – conducted the timing for the race.
Brent Walk of Fun Promotions said the 5K at Camp Grayling offered a unique atmosphere with its “patriotic” theme and salutes to the military.
“It is special. It truly, truly is. It’s just beautiful to see,” Walk said. “It really celebrates the camp. It’s awesome.”
Col. Meyers said the event went well overall.
“I think it was great. Great weather, great community support and everybody getting a little PT in,” Col. Meyers said.
According to results provided by Fun Promotions, 94 people – runners and walkers – posted finish times Sunday.
Event organizers said they would like to continue hosting the 5K event during Northern Strike in the future.
“There’s so much more action for people to see here,” Caverson said. “I like it at Northern Strike,” Col. Meyers said.