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Pease Relay garners record number teams, runners

Eighteen teams and more than 140 runners kick off the 7th Annual Pease Relay Race on base Oct. 18. Winning this year's relay race was the 157th Medical Group with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 2 seconds. The win is the third year in a row for the medical group. (U.S. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt)

Eighteen teams and more than 140 runners kick off the 7th Annual Pease Relay Race on base Oct. 18. Winning this year's relay race was the 157th Medical Group with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 2 seconds. The win is the third year in a row for the medical group. (U.S. National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt)

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --

More than 140 runners from the New Hampshire Air National Guard participated in the 7th Annual Pease Relay Race that occurred throughout the local area Oct. 18.

The relay race is the brainchild of Senior Master Sgt. Mike Davis, who devised the idea shortly after being appointed as the wing fitness monitor in 2008.

"I was on my way to a 5K road race off base and wondered how I could bring that same enthusiasm to the men and women of Pease Air National Guard Base," said Davis, who is an avid runner. "The first year we had nine teams, this year we had a relay record 18 teams."

The annual event began on base at Missions End, but most of the course is located through the neighboring town of Newington. The race concludes at Mission's End for a post-race awards celebration.

The 157th Medical Group successfully defended its title, the third in a row, topping a field of teams from the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

The winning team posted a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 02 seconds in the 25.6-mile race.

"Whether you finished first or last, it's the effort that counts," said Col. Shawn "Rob" Burrus, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander and course volunteer this year, during closing ceremonies.

Davis echoed that same sentiment during the awards presentation to the top three teams.

"I don't care if you are competing for first place or last place, all the competitors this morning ran with their heart and that's all that matters," he said.

Each team included a maximum of eight runners, all of which were either a Defense Department employee or family member of an employee.

Davis, who is in his final year as race director, highlighted the many volunteers at the closing ceremonies after the race.

"You can't do something this big, this good, without the dedication of volunteers," said Davis. "We had great volunteers again this year stand out in the cold to ensure runners remained safe - my heartfelt thanks to those who volunteered this year."

Burrus took time during his remarks to recognize the man responsible for making the event an annual success.

"Thank you to Mike Davis for the passion over the last seven years," said Burrus. "Thanks for all you have done to make this the great event that it is."

Rounding out the top three was a team from the 157th Maintenance Group finishing second with a team time of 3 hours 2 minutes and 27 seconds. Finishing third was a team from the 157th Operations Group with a team score of 3 hours 6 minutes and 29 seconds.

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