Robert Head, Lockheed Martin Vice President of State, Local & PAC Affairs; Doug Bradburn, President & CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon; General David L. Goldfein, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force; Steve Mueller, Lockheed Martin Vice President, Air Force and Joint Strike Fighter; and runners at the 2019 George Washington Patriot Run.
When first considering the prospect of holding a 5K and 10K run at Mount Vernon back in 2016, the estate’s events team and partners in the running community agreed that any race taking place on the historic grounds should celebrate values that Washington himself espoused and embodied, such as service, patriotism, athleticism, and innovation. The resulting event—the George Washington Patriot Run—caught the interest of officials at Lockheed Martin, the Bethesda, Maryland–based aerospace and engineering company, which signed on to be its presenting sponsor. It’s a role that Lockheed Martin continues to play as the race enters its fifth year, even as the event temporarily shifts to a virtual format this fall due to concerns over COVID-19.
“George Washington was one of our country’s greatest leaders. He prized innovation [and] patriotism, and led with courage and conviction. He understood firsthand the contributions and sacrifices of those who served under his command. Lockheed Martin shares the same values, and it’s our privilege to honor his legacy through this event,” said Robert Rangel, the company’s senior vice president for government affairs.
Thanks to Lockheed Martin’s support—and fueled by enthusiasm from staff, volunteers, and past participants, as well as additional funding from Perfecta, a cybersecurity and technology firm based in Springfield, Virginia—the race has blossomed into a must-run on the Washington, D.C., calendar. The field of runners has grown steadily from just over 1,000 runners in 2016 to more than 2,000 in 2019.
This year’s racers won’t experience the Patriot Run’s beautiful but challenging course along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, ending on the grounds of Mount Vernon. However, by transitioning to a virtual race, organizers have expanded the field geographically, attracting runners from across the country. Finishers will also receive unique medals featuring Washington’s profile.
While the Patriot Run provides a way to celebrate George Washington’s well-known athleticism, it is also an annual tribute to first responders and members of the military—a group well represented within the field of registrants who enjoy special pricing and other race perks and recognitions.
It’s this meaningful connection to the military that has compelled Lockheed Martin to continue its support for the event. In addition to saluting servicemen and women through visibility on the course, Lockheed Martin also partners with leading military officials, such as current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, who have played roles in the event, even joining runners on the course.
As presenting sponsor, Lockheed Martin enjoys other benefits, including complimentary and discounted race entries for its employees and their families.
“Our employees love participating in this event. It’s a great reminder that we’re here for our troops. They are what drives our mission at Lockheed Martin,” added Rangel. “We enjoy being a part of the George Washington Patriot Run because it allows us to give back to causes we believe in—supporting our military, promoting education, and preserving an important piece of American history.”
The 2020 virtual race will feature a new 10-mile option, in addition to the popular 5K. Participants can run from their own communities and are encouraged to complete their runs between September 1 and 12. For additional details and to register, visit mountvernon.org/patriotrun.