Running for a Good Cause

148th Fighter Wing members take off from the starting line while participating in the Fifth Annual 5K Meatball Run, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn., May 18, 2014.  Most of the proceeds from the event go to support a local food bank in the Duluth, Minn. area, plus it gets members into the fitness frame of mind after a long winter.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Donald Acton/Released)

148th Fighter Wing members take off from the starting line while participating in the Fifth Annual 5K Meatball Run, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn., May 18, 2014. Most of the proceeds from the event go to support a local food bank in the Duluth, Minn. area, plus it gets members into the fitness frame of mind after a long winter. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Donald Acton/Released)

148th Fighter Wing members take off from the starting line while participating in the Fifth Annual 5K Meatball Run, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn., May 18, 2014.  Most of the proceeds from the event go to support a local food bank in the Duluth, Minn. area, plus it gets members into the fitness frame of mind after a long winter.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Donald Acton/Released)

148th Fighter Wing members take off from the starting line while participating in the Fifth Annual 5K Meatball Run, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn., May 18, 2014. Most of the proceeds from the event go to support a local food bank in the Duluth, Minn. area, plus it gets members into the fitness frame of mind after a long winter. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Donald Acton/Released)

Master Sgt. Mark Wasserbauer and Staff Sgt. Amy Ewald, 148th Fighter Wing, Base Enlisted Council (BEC) pose for a picture with

Master Sgt. Mark Wasserbauer and Staff Sgt. Amy Ewald, 148th Fighter Wing, Base Enlisted Council (BEC) pose for a picture with Shaye Moris, Executive Director of the Second Harvest Food Bank, May 29, 2014. The 148th Fighter WIng members presented Moris with a donation of over $600.00 to help in the fight against hunger. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph Kapustka)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing Bulldog Enlisted Council (BEC) held the Fifth Annual Meatball 5K Walk/Run, May 18, 2014. Why is it called the Meatball 5K Walk/Run, you ask? The Meatball 5K use to be held in April, the same month as the 148th Fighter Wing's Annual Spaghetti Feed. Since both events were held during the same weekend Guard drill, the decision was made to call it the Meatball 5K keeping with the spaghetti theme. However, in recent years the run had to be moved to May due to extended winters.

The year's event generated 76 participants with some of our members posting some pretty impressive times. The top finisher for the men posted a time of 21:43 and the top finisher for the women came in at 22:58.

The Meatball Run serves a dual purpose. It motivates members to start thinking about fitness after a long winter and 90% of the proceeds from the event go to the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, located in Duluth, Minn.

"I was really excited to see that 20 of the 76 participants were Rookie Ranks members (future airmen that have yet to go to basic training), said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Wasserbauer," 148th Fighter Wing BEC member and event organizer. "One of our BEC goals for this event is to help create a positive life-style change in our members so the younger they start the better. Plus being able to raise over $600.00 for the Second Harvest Food Bank was icing on the cake. It was great to see and we hope to continue to build on this success," said Wasserbauer.

The Second Harvest Food Bank is a nonprofit organization and the sole distributor of surplus food products to over 120 charitable food programs, including the region's soup kitchens, food shelves and shelters. As a food bank, their primary role is to provide food to the front-line charitable agencies that offer meals to the hungry. In addition, they provide food to over 1,500 people per month as part of their own direct service programming. There are four ways in which you can help; donate money, food, volunteer or be an advocate for hunger relief.

The BEC plans to hold the event again next year with the continuing goal of educating the wing on the benefits of staying active through exercise, promoting a healthy life-style and building camaraderie amongst wing members.