Run at Mansion Park honors soldiers who died in combat

Four years ago, the Run for the Fallen was started to honor Staff Sgt. Matt Ingham from Altoona, who died in 2010 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Marine Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Baum from Hollidaysburg, who died in 2004 during Operation Enduring Freedom.

When Karen Baum of Hollidaysburg and Lori Miles of Roaring Spring started the Run for the Fallen at Mansion Park in Altoona, it was very small, they said. Karen Baum is married to Brian Baum, Ronald Baum’s brother, while Miles and her family were Ingham’s friends.

Karen Baum and Miles decided to start the run to honor the two men, as well as others from the area that were lost in the war.

“At first, it was just family and friends that started it,” Miles said.

Every year, the attendance of the event has grown. Last’s year’s race featured almost 300 participants at Mansion Park.

“We have women with strollers, children, seniors, servicemen, veterans and also the fire department,” Baum said. “It’s a way for the community to show they support them and haven’t forgotten them.”

Attendees can run or walk in remembrance of a soldier who has died. Once finished, participants write down their name and the number of laps they completed. The information is then put into a database to show what has been done to honor the fallen soldiers, and it is posted on the Run for the Fallen website.

During the event, veterans from different wars will visit the park and tell stories about their experiences. There will be yellow ribbons on display for each of the 19 soldiers from central Pennsylvania who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When we are there, people will reminisce about Matt and the others that were lost,” Miles said.

The Altoona Fire Department will also have trucks on display, and the Flight 93 Memorial Chorus, an all-male a capella chorus from Cumberland, Md., will sing at 11 a.m.

The women said that Run for the Fallen, a nonprofit group, is not about raising money, just awareness about the men who have served our country. The event is made possible by members of the community and sponsors.

Two other organizations, Camp Liberty and Wounded Warrior Fund, will be accepting donations.

The women added that everyone is welcome, and there is no cost to participate in the event.