By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service
Feb. 24, 2009 - Coinciding with the HBO Film premiere of "Taking Chance," based on a Marine's tribute to a fallen comrade, more than 100 servicemembers joined the Run4Chance team at the 28th Annual Los Alamitos 5K "Race on the Base" in California to honor the fallen hero.
"Taking Chance," starring Kevin Bacon, premiered Feb. 21 on HBO and is based on the special care given to fallen Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps during his final journey home to Dubois, Wyo. He was accompanied by Marine Corps Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, who volunteered to escort Phelps' body from Dover Air Force Base and later wrote of his experience. Phelps was killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 19.
Shortly after Phelps death, his family and friends formed the Run4Chance team. In 2004, the team ran the Marine Corps Marathon here as a tribute to Phelps and to raise funds for the Chance Phelps Foundation, a nonprofit organization that benefits U.S. troops, especially those who have deployed to Iraq.
With the backing of HBO, the foundation and its Run4Chance team encourage distance runners and military groups to run under the team name in marathons across the country, with entry fees waived for servicemembers. At the Los Alamitos event, HBO presented the Chance Phelps Foundation with a $10,000 donation on behalf of servicemembers who participated in the race.
The initiative also aims to raise awareness for the Fisher House Foundation and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
"By shining a national spotlight on Run4Chance, we hope to honor the memory of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps and pay tribute to all fallen Marines and soldiers," Zach Enterlin, vice president of advertising and promotions at HBO, said. "By raising awareness of the foundation's great work, more servicemembers and their families will benefit from the financial and medical support it provides."
HBO will sponsor several Run4Chance teams in races around the country this year. The initial schedule of races includes the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, San Diego, May 31; New York City Half-Marathon, Aug. 30; Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon, Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 6; Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Va., Oct. 25; and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon, San Antonio, Nov. 15.