Organizers: This weekend's JVA Memorial Run will be its last

Next year, a shooting competition will take its place

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJune 12, 2014 

At left, a group of soldiers crosses the finish line Saturday morning at the Jared Van Aalst Memorial 10K/5K.

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

Saturday’s Fourth Annual Jared Van Aalst Memorial Run will probably be its last.

But don’t worry.

Next year, the Jared Van Aalst Memorial Foundation will launch another fundraiser in its place — a shooting competition.

Marketing coordinator Ilene Kent said the decision to retire the annual run was a logistic one.

“It’s a really big undertaking,” she said.

Last year’s run was held in September and drew more than 500 participants. This year’s race is earlier, which moves it out of the bustle of fall 5Ks while also falling on the U.S. Army’s birthday.

The overall winner will receive a free one-day training session at the Legion Operator Training Group, which is the presenting sponsor.

As always, the 3rd Ranger Battalion will participate in advance of the Rangers’ deployment later this summer.

Kent said the foundation expects Col. Chris Vanek, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, to participate as well. The day will begin with the formal presentation to scholarship winners. The foundation has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2011.

The top scholarship recipient is Nicholas Sargent, a Brookstone High graduate who will attend Georgia Tech in the fall to study engineering. He hopes to work on the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit project.

“I am so honored to be named this year’s JVA Scholar,” Sargent said in a release. “It is a privilege to have my name associated with this brave warrior.”

Master Sgt. Jared Van Aalst was killed during his sixth deployment to Afghanistan in August 2010. His wife, Katie, established the Jared Van Aalst Foundation in 2011 as a tribute to her late husband to provide scholarships for military dependents.

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