Nearly 100 people gathered at the Carson City IHOP Sunday morning to run and remember the lives lost during the IHOP shooting four years ago on Sept. 6.
Despite cool temperatures and early hours, people came to show their support for the lost lives, their families and the Nevada National Guard. On Sept. 6, 2011, Nevada guardsmen Lt. Col. Heath Kelly, 35; Master Sgt. Christian Riege; 38; Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31; and South Tahoe resident Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67, were killed when a gunman came into the IHOP and started shooting. Two other soldiers and seven other patrons suffered injuries during the shooting rampage.
Sunday, the runners gathered in the IHOP parking lot at 7 a.m. to start the 5k run through Carson City.
“We came out to look for an opportunity to exercise and show our support for a good cause and remember what happened because it was devastating,” said Carson resident Karen Thompson.
Among the runners was Gov. Brian Sandoval, who gave a speech along with several Nevada Guard members before the run.
“An event like this impacts all of us,” Sandoval said. “I want to, in my small way, show my way to support the National Guard. We are a Nevada family and we believe in our state and military.”
The run started at the restaurant and followed the back streets of Carson City to the Nevada Guard headquarters building on Fairview Drive. The Carson City Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office led a small motorcade with the runners so that everyone was safe as the members of the National Guard, community members, government officials and even some dogs all ran or walked through Carson.
“It’s great to bring the community together and we need to continue to show that we can’t be defeated by one person,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, commander of the Army Guard.
Many runners expressed that they will continue to make this run every year on Sept. 6 until they are physically unable to do so.
“Even if only one person is out here running, that means that they will never be forgotten,” said Maj. Laura Boldry. She worked with all three of the victims and has been involved in organizing this event every year.
Among the runners was Ken Curtzwiler, whose daughter Miranda was killed during the incident. He ran the course with a folded American flag and a name plate in honor of his daughter.
“I think this is a fantastic thing. The National Guard does a fantastic job with this,” Curtzwiler said. “As long as one person shows, then we can never forget them.
“It isn’t about those single three soldiers either; the run is for all of them lost to any form of violence whether it is accidental, a suicide, or a tragedy like this. They are all with us.”