Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Navy Runner Has Some Extra Weight; Ricks Enjoys Praise after Completing River Run Carrying Flag

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Navy Runner Has Some Extra Weight; Ricks Enjoys Praise after Completing River Run Carrying Flag

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, The Times-Union

Shawnreno Ricks' time in his third Gate River Run was considerably slower than in his first two attempts, but the 34-year-old Navy medical corpsman also was carrying some serious baggage this year -- an American flag attached to a 10-foot wooden pole.

Ricks, an HM1-class petty officer at NAS Jax, received the loudest ovation of just about any of the 7,000-plus runners when he crossed the finish line in 1:14.38. That's a strong time considering that Ricks carried the stars and stripes the entire race.

"Carrying the flag up the [Hart] bridge, I felt weak," said Ricks, who works at the NAS Jax Wellness Center. "I had my head down for a little while, but I kept running into people that were so supportive, I had to hold my head up. After that, the rest of the race was a breeze."

A 15-year military veteran and avid runner, Ricks came up with the idea to tote the flag in the River Run about six months ago. He started running with it on the NAS Jax base early in the morning for 3-10 miles, but also took it with him twice on downtown runs during his training for the event. …

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