By 2nd Lt. Jason Gabrick
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
More than 25 Schriever Air Force Base women braved the cold and sludged through the mud April 13 at the Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Dirty Girl 5K is a women’s only run, which occurs across the country, aimed at raising awareness and money for breast cancer research.
According to the official event website, godirtygirl.com, the Dirty Girl is an untimed 5K obstacle course designed to push women slightly out of their physical comfort zone, but only as far as they are able to go.
Forming teams for the event is highly encouraged.
One of the teams Schriever boasted was affectionately named the Dirty Ta Tas. The team was composed mostly of Schriever Child Development Center and Missile Defense Agency women, including a cancer survivor and MDA contractor, Jasmine Neal.
“I was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago and underwent surgery and chemotherapy,” said Neal. “I now only have to go in for biannual checkups and have had no reoccurrences.”
Neal decided to participate as part of the CDC team, the Dirty Ta Tas, because her children attend the CDC and she’s always looking for ways to support cancer research.
“I am a cancer survivor, so races that support cancer research have a special place in my heart,” said Neal.
A common theme among the Dirty Ta Tas was first-timers. Karen Mackenzie, a CDC training and curriculum specialist, saw this as an opportunity to get together with co-workers and raise money for a good cause.
“It was exhilarating,” said Mackenzie. “Doing something like this just makes you feel good. We had so many ‘belly’ laughs along the way. Everyone did great — lots of support and encouragement from everyone. There was such a feeling of camaraderie.”
Camaraderie, another common theme among the team, is something many of the women echoed. The team collectively believed it to be the best part of the event, although, some remember the freezing cold temperatures too.
“The girls asked me to join. I couldn’t say no to them. Supporting breast cancer research at the same time was an extra bonus,” said Dawn Wilson, Near Infrared Experiment mission planner and MDA contractor. “The most memorable part, beyond the camaraderie, was the ice cold hose we used to clean ourselves off after the race.”
The Dirty Ta Tas weren’t the only ones braving the cold, though. Other CDC staff members and husbands came out in droves to support their co-workers and spouses.
“There were other CDC teachers, front desk staff and husbands throughout the course to cheer us on,” said Wilson. “The support we had throughout the course was awesome and kept us going even through a sandy incline that [seemed] impossible.”
Being a cancer survivor, Neal has a unique perspective on the Dirty Girl. She’s fond not only of the funds it raises, but also on what it accomplishes amongst the women who participate.
“The Dirty Girl is an awesome event not only for the proceeds going towards breast cancer, but also because it tends to bring out women at all stages of fitness,” said Neal. “Some women may have never run a 5K in their life and others may be marathoners. It’s nice to see the camaraderie among the many women participants.”
Cheryl Jensen, CDC director, also sang the tune of camaraderie and highlighted a substantial team victory.
“Supporting the local community and a worthy cause with people you enjoy is always a wonderful experience,” said Jensen. “Everyone on our team, regardless of their abilities, finished the course.”
For more information on Dirty Girl 5K runs, visit godirtygirl.com.