35th ADA Brigade Soldiers run Peyongchang in freezing temperatures

by Capt. Jonathon Daniell
Osan Air Base

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea - Eighty-two 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Soldiers braved the freezing temperatures of the South Korean winter to run the 26th annual Peyongchang naked 5 km and 10 km race Feb. 11 in Peyongchang, South Korea.

Despite the namesake, Soldiers dressed in layers and huddled around patio heaters like arctic penguins to stay warm in the 8 degrees Fahrenheit weather. However, many locals embraced the race's theme in stride and bared their chest as they corralled the starting line.

Peyongchang is located along the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula and home to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"We arrived nearly two hours early and the temperature was -8 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill," said Staff Sgt. Erin McKee, a medical noncommissioned officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th ADA Brigade. "Despite the cold weather, it was fun to be out there running with so many Soldiers and Koreans together."

The 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, made up the majority of the brigade's participation with 72 runners travelling from Camp Carroll, South Korea, approximately 150 miles south of Peyongchang.

Kyong Pok Yi, the 2-1 ADA Battalion community relations officer, coordinated the registration for all 35th ADA Brigade participants. The entry fee was waived for all Soldiers as a gesture of goodwill to build cultural understanding and strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance.

Soldiers could choose between running a 10 km or 5 km race.

Spc. Adrian Vigil, a Patriot fire control enhanced operator/maintainer for 2-1 ADA Battalion, ran the fastest 10 km time among all 35th ADA Brigade Soldiers, completing the race in 44:15.

"I enjoy running, so I got a handful of my friends to sign up with me," said Vigil. "With the wind chill it was freezing, so it was difficult to run. I set a goal to just keep passing people and that's what I did until I finished."

Spc. Steven McMilllan, a nodal network systems operator/maintainer with 2-1 ADA Battalion, finished ninth among all 5 km runners with a time of 24:08.

After the race, some Soldiers took advantage of the location and explored the Olympic village. Just the night prior, the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony were held in the vicinity of the race.

All runners received a medal to commemorate their participation.

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