Soldiers in Kuwait will join annual Thunder Rumble race in Tumwater

Hundreds of soldiers and civilians will run together in the second annual Thunder Rumble 5K/10K race, which takes place “simultaneously” in Tumwater and Kuwait.

All proceeds benefit the 17th Field Artillery Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Some of the brigade’s soldiers in Kuwait have already run a 5K “shadow race” that will be shown on two video screens during Saturday morning’s event in Tumwater.

The deployed soldiers competed early because of the time difference and extreme desert heat in Kuwait, said Capt. Tania Donovan, the brigade’s public affairs officer.

“It’s a big morale booster,” said Donovan, adding that the race helps soldiers stay connected with the public. “It shows that the community cares.”

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of 78th Avenue Southwest and Center Street Southwest in Tumwater near the Olympia Municipal Airport. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Cost is $30 to run in the 5K race or $40 to run in the 10K race.

At least 200 soldiers and 300 civilians will participate in this year’s local race, said organizer Margie Hansen of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Olympia-Tumwater chapter.

The chapter will use the proceeds to host pre-deployment meals for soldiers and their families. This year’s goal is to raise $6,000. Since November, the AUSA chapter has provided meals for 1,800 people, Hansen said. The chapter also sends holiday care packages to soldiers deployed overseas.

“The brigade has a number of troops deployed all over the place,” said Hansen, an Olympia resident. “We don’t read about that, but it’s what soldiers do. It’s their job.”

The public is welcome to attend Saturday’s event, which will include music and promotional giveaways from sponsors. Col. Tim Kehoe will address the crowd from Kuwait before a cannon starts the race. The first 100 feet of the course will be lined with U.S. flags.