Valor Run honors 'trailblazing' servicewomen who died during combat

'Women really bring something to any organization they serve in'
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Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-26 17:27:27-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Valor Run returned to First Landing State Park on Sunday, honoring women in the military who died during combat operations post-9/11.

The run is in its ninth year and included nearly 300 participants between the 10k and 5k portions.

Race Director Missy Cotter Smasal said that while the race is in tribute to the 177 women who have died, it also aims to support all who have joined the U.S. armed forces since September 11, 2001.

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The ninth Valor Run was held at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach on Sunday, March 26.

Race fees help support scholarships for the children of women in the military. Cotter Smasal, a former Naval officer, says $25,000 has been raised the last three years alone.

"Girls and women (in the military) today have these amazing examples to look up to. These trailblazing women," she said of founder, Nancy Lacore, now Commandant of Naval District Washington, and co-organizer Susan Bore, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a colonel.

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The first female finisher of the 2023 Valor Run 5k crosses the finish line.

Cotter Smasal and Bore say this year's race is significant with the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bore also says there's still a need for more women to serve.

"It’s going to be what you expected and not what you expected in all good ways, and women really bring something to any organization they serve in," she said.

Athletes who competed in Virginia Beach on Sunday included a number of U.S. military veterans, but also members of NATO nation militaries who are currently stationed locally.

The only military officer from Ukraine stationed in Hampton Roads also ran.

Although the ninth race just finished, organizers say they're already looking forward to year ten of the Valor Run.

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The first male finisher of the 2023 Valor Run 5k crosses the finish line.


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