Neon nighttime trot attracts record field at Marine Corps base in Japan
Stars and Stripes June 26, 2023
IWAKUNI CITY, Japan — A steady stream of glowing, flickering and pulsating lights flowed around Atago Sports Complex during a nighttime event Saturday by American and Japanese runners.
More than 150 people turned out for the second neon glow-stick fun run, the largest turnout since the event began in 2019.
“We all dress up in bright neon colors and run around the stadium,” Nevaeh Steenhoven, 15, daughter of Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph and Tiffany Steenhoven, told Stars and Stripes at the event. “I feel like it’s a lot more fun during night, the lights and stuff makes it a lot more fun.”
Marine Corps Community Services co-hosts the 1.9-mile event at Atago Sports Complex, a facility shared by Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and neighboring Iwakuni city.
The complex has tennis courts, a basketball court, baseball stadium and a running track. The facility hosted the women’s Olympic softball and fencing teams in 2021.
Before the race, participants gathered for a short Zumba session to warm up before heading to the starting line.
The first across the finish line at 9 minutes, 53 seconds was Miguel Pabon, 19, son of Department of Defense employee Arsenio and Marjorie Pabon.
“I love to run; I’ve always been a runner,” he said. “I ran track and field in high school here at M.C. Perry for a couple months and broke some records.”