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Bellevue-Offutt Runway Run returns

Peter Ward gives thumbs up as he participates in the annual Bellevue-Offutt Runway Run at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., May 13. Nearly 200 runners participated in this year's race. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger)

Peter Ward gives thumbs up as he participates in the Bellevue-Offutt Runway Run at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in 2012. Nearly 200 runners participated in the seven-mile run, which starts at the Lied Activity Center in Bellevue, Neb., continues onto Offutt, goes up and down the runway and then back to the center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Josh Plueger)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --

The Bellevue-Offutt Runway Run is returning to Offutt Air Force Base May 8.

The annual event, which began in 2008, is a seven-mile run, which starts at the Lied Activity Center in Bellevue, Neb., continues onto Offutt, goes up and down the runway and then back to the center.

The run is open to all members of Team Offutt, as well as residents of Bellevue, Omaha and the surrounding area.

Doris Urwin, vice president of administration at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, said she was looking forward to seeing the reaction to the return of the Runway Run.

“Having the run return this year is exciting because this run brings people throughout and beyond the Omaha-Metro area, who enjoy a chance to run and get out on the military installation and run down the runway,” she said. “We didn’t have it last year, because of scheduling issues, and we got a lot of feedback from people who missed it. It is the only race we have found in the United States where people get to enter a military installation, get the experience of being around aircraft and get to be on an actual runway.”

The run is also a way to increase community ties between Offutt and the surrounding community.

“This race allows civilians to be on a military installation, and allows a partnership between the base, the community, the chamber and the school district,” Urwin said. “The community looks up to those who work at Offutt, and are thankful to those who are fighting for our freedom.”

While it is unusual for so many non-members to enter a military installation, Urwin is certain that the vetting process and security measures in place will keep everyone safe.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Steven Fletcher, the superintendent of mission assurance at the 55th Security Forces Squadron and one the event coordinators, advises members of Team Offutt to remain vigilant at all times, not just during events like the race.

“If something just doesn't seems right or seems out of place, report it,” he said. “I would rather err on the side of caution and check it out than to just let it go and it affect the safety of the race participants, our base or our resources.”

Members of Team Offutt can sign up for the run at Information, Tickets and Tours on base until April 30, or at bellevuenebraska.com.