News: Dawning new start for '101 Days of Summer'
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - The new season of the "101 Days of Summer" sports program blazed onto Marine Corps Base Hawaii with a fun run around Nuupia Ponds held May 22.
The fun run is one of the opening events of the annual sports series encouraging Marines and sailors to lead a safe, substance-free lifestyle. Marine Corps Base Hawaii units will compete through August, earning points from sporting events and other competitions to win cash prizes for their discretionary funds.
“We took second place last year (in the large unit division),” said Staff Sgt. Elton Yu, the substance abuse counseling officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24. “We’re trying to get a solid start this year. The commanding officer is especially motivated for us to win, but also getting people to think that if something feels wrong, don’t do it.”
Yu’s unit both raced in the fun run and provided volunteers to help at the finish line.
Racers began near Pollock Field at 7 a.m. and continued for more than 3.5 miles, using a trail twisting around Nuupia Ponds to return to where they started.
Many racers appreciated the scenic highlights of the outdoor course as they ran it.
“The view is beautiful,” said Cpl. Crystal Lucero, a fiscal clerk for the Supply Division of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. “Seeing the sunrise as you run and being close to the water is great. You get two views of nature at once.”
Lucero was the fourth individual runner to cross the finish line and said her unit is hoping to participate in all of the events scheduled.
The "101 Days of Summer" program features a few changes this year, with fewer four-player tournaments due to appropriated fund budget cuts, said Neil Morgan, the health promotions coordinator
with Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii.
Units are still able to earn points by participating and volunteering for "101 Days of Summer" events like the recent Nuupia Ponds run and for Commanding Officer’s Series races like the Sprint Triathlon.
“They can earn points by scheduling and attending health promotion classes like tobacco prevention, sexual health and responsibility, nutrition, physical fitness, chronic disease prevention, injury prevention, and alcohol and drug reduction,” he said. “They can also earn points by going on line and taking the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Centers Health Risk Assessment.”
With fewer four-player team events scheduled this year, some smaller units may be able to participate more without worrying about getting a required number of people for an event.
The new schedule allows smaller units, like Wounded Warriors Battalion West — Detachment Hawaii, to focus on individual sports that can help with their fitness. They won first place in the small unit division last year, and unit coordinators said the "101 Days of Summer" season is something they look forward to every year.
“This series and other sporting events assist in getting service members actively doing things on base and in local community,” said Gunnery Sgt. Curt Collins, the operations chief with Wounded Warriors Battalion West — Detachment Hawaii. “This helps recovery and helps them transition to the civilian community and helps with the overall appearance of Marine Corps in the community.”
Units are especially keeping their eyes on the prize this year since coordinators added a new jackpot for third place in both the large and small unit divisions. Morgan said coordinators plan to offer the new third place prizes next year as well, made possible by non-appropriated funds and a first-time corporate sponsor.
The competition for the top prizes is on, but many participants at the Nuupia Ponds fun run said they joined up to send a bigger message.
“This is nice, participating for a good cause,” Lucero said. “We need to support the effort against alcohol and drug abuse.”
The next event offering points is a bowling tournament at K-Bay Lanes scheduled for June 5 at 5 p.m., rolling into the rest of the “101 Days of Summer.”