The Race For A Soldier - Gig Harbor Half Marathon is more than a run through the scenic Pacific Northwest. This is a race run for hope, for support and a better future for the men and women that serve our country. This is a race founded by a brave woman, who lost a brave son, who proudly served our nation. A brave son whose life was cut short, like too many of our soldiers today.
Right now, the suicide rate among U.S. soldiers is skyrocketing. In fact, according to a 2010 U.S. Army Report on rising suicide rates, the suicide rate among soldiers has eclipsed that of the civilian suicide rate. The soldier suicide rate has not been near this high since 1980 and as of 2011, for the second consecutive year, The United States lost more soldiers to suicide than on the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Although there are many factors causing this epidemic, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is at heart of the problem. Soldiers are serving, and returning home from service, ill-equipped to cope with their experiences at war. A majority of these soldiers have few outlets to support their mental well-being and their struggles often go unnoticed until it is too late. The U.S. Military Branches have enlisted programs and initiatives to better recognize and treat soldiers for PTSD - like mental screening programs, and initiatives to eliminate the stigma attached to having a "problem" and reporting it... but so far the soldier suicide rates keep climbing.
As heavy as this burden might seem, as monumental as this epidemic is, we believe we can make a difference. The Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation knows that our soldiers need our help and believes we can change the tide. Communities can make a difference in the fight to stop this epidemic and The Race For A Soldier - Gig Harbor Half Marathon is our anchor of hope, our way to show support and raise awareness and a chance to raise valuable funds that will ensure more soldiers get the help they need before it's too late.
When you support this race - whether you run, walk, volunteer, donate, simply watch or all of the above - you are making a difference in the lives our brave soldiers and their families. You are showing your support and your belief, making this a brighter future for all soldiers, their families and our community. No longer can we wait to act. The race is on and we can win it together!