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Civilians urged to join Megan's run at NAS Whidbey

Major Megan McClung - File photo
Major Megan McClung
— image credit: File photo

The father of a fallen hero hopes the fourth rendition of the Megan McClung Memorial Run will attract a broader group of participants.

Set this year for Saturday, Aug. 14, at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, in the past the run has included mostly military participants.

"We're trying to boost the numbers," said Mike McClung, a retired Marine officer who lives in Coupeville, inviting civilians to participate. "It's wide open, not just for military."

Major Megan McClung was deployed to Iraq as a public affairs officer in 2006. In October of that year she died when an improvised explosive device destroyed McClung's Humvee, killing her and two other occupants.

McClung was popular and widely known, having escorted many journalists around Iraq, and she was the first female officer killed in Iraq. He family recently established a Facebook page for her to help keep her memory alive.

"We have people pop out of the woodwork to write us and call us," McClung said of the impact of his daughter's Facebook page. "And a lot of surprised people get an email from Megan."

The run is another way to keep Megan's memory alive, and it's an appropriate event. She loved to run and set up the first marathon to be held in Iraq.

This year's running event features a 5K run/walk and a 10K run.

Civilians wishing to participate should appear at the NAS Whidbey Saratoga gate between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to register and for base access. The cost is $25 and includes a t-shirt and commemorative poker chip.

Proceeds benefit the Semper Fi Fund, which helps injured Marines and Navy Corpsmen.

'Semper Fi helps a lot of young men and women out there who need long-term care," said McClung. The fund covers things the government doesn't, such as wheelchair ramps and customized vans.

Active duty personnel and others with valid military ID can proceed directly to the registration tables outside the MATSG-53 building for the start of the run.

McClung said civilians are bound to enjoy the scenery on part of Whidbey Island that many have never seen. "The run is on the beach bluff with views across Admiralty passage to the Olympics and Victoria Island," he said.

The run is being held the same weekend at the annual Prowler/Growler Power Conference at the base, which McClung hopes will increase the number of runners. Eventually, he expects the run to be lengthened, perhaps to a half marathon, to attract even more runners.

In future years, McClung hopes to see the run grow in popularity so his daughter's name is never forgotten. "It's so people will remember her," he said. "That's the first reason -- being remembered."

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