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Kadena supports Okinawa Marathon

Kadena Air Base supports the 2020 Okinawa Marathon

Runners participate in the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena AB has supported the Okinawa Marathon every year since 1993. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster)

Kadena Air Base supports the 2020 Okinawa Marathon

A runner exchanges high-five with Team Kadena members during the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena AB has supported and strengthened relations with the local community through the Okinawa Marathon for the last 28 years. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster)

Kadena Air Base supports the 2020 Okinawa Marathon

Volunteers offer water to marathon participants during the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena AB has supported and strengthened relations with the local community through the Okinawa Marathon for the last 28 years. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster)

Kadena Air Base supports the 2020 Okinawa Marathon

Team Kadena members cheer on runners during the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena hosted a two-kilometer section of the marathon route, providing cheer stations, water stations and medical support. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster)

Kadena Air Base supports the 2020 Okinawa Marathon

Participants pass through Gate 2 during the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Participants ran a 1.7-mile portion of the marathon through KAB by entering at Gate 2 and exited through Gate 5. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster)

Kadena Air Base, Japan --

Team Kadena supported the Okinawa Marathon Feb. 16, 2020, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Every year thousands of people train to run the Okinawa marathon, and Kadena AB has been there to support the athletes each year.

Despite the rain, hundreds of smiling service members and their families came out to cheer on the runners that passed through KAB. The volunteers offered water and fruit to the participants at designated stations along the path.

“The volunteers that turned up at the event represented the thousands of members who make up Team Kadena and provided a positive image of U.S. service members that will last for years to come,” said Akihiro Sotsuka, 18th Wing community engagement specialist.

More than 500 military members and their families living on Okinawa volunteered at stations along the base route to encourage the runners.

 “It was a great experience being able to cheer on the runners,” said Senior Airman Bryant Bulla, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations dispatcher. “Despite the weather, it was a great way to bring the communities together.”

The Okinawa Marathon was established to help promote fitness throughout Okinawa, as well as bring communities together through a common event and create an atmosphere that encourages everyone on base to come out and support this major community event.

During the race more than 10,000 participants ran the 1.7-mile portion of the marathon that extended from KAB’s Gate 2 to Gate 5.

This marks the 28th year that service members stationed on Okinawa have supported the marathon all starting in 1993.

“This is the largest community engagement event for Kadena Air Base for the entire year and fosters a positive relationship with the host nation and U.S. military in Japan,” said Sotsuka.