Valor Run returns, honors women veterans who died in post-9/11 combat

2022 Valor Run
Posted at 1:32 PM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-27 13:42:02-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As the saying goes..."Land of the free, because of the brave."

After two years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Valor Run returned to First Landing State Park on Sunday.

Runners in the 5k, 10k and half-marathon races braved cold temperatures as the Star-Spangled Banner played aloud in the minutes while they waited at the starting line.

"We're doing it during Women's History Month this year and it's really just a great place to come out and honor the women who served since 9/11," Susan Bore, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and one of the organizers of the Valor Run, told us. She says the run specifically remembers the 177 women who died in combat during that time. "(They're) not the faces you always think of when you think of those people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country."

Money raised from entry fees goes to scholarships for the children of female combat veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve and Operations Freedoms Sentinel and New Dawn.

Two $5,000 scholarships were awarded last year, the organization says.

News 3 recently awarded another race organizer, Missy Cotter Smasal, an Everyday Hero Award for her work to raise money and awareness through the Valor Run.

Runner Basil Rowell told News 3 he wasn't planning to come out this year, but chose to in remembrance of his friend Byron, whom he says lost his life in the Iraq War.

"Someone asked me and I'm out here again running," he said shortly before the race.

The call to honor our country's bravest, too strong for Rowell and the dozens who came out to ignore.

The Valor Run continues to raise money for scholarships, even after the race is over. Click HERE for more information.