A group of military wives kicked off the 2013 Redbud Classic in Oklahoma City Sunday afternoon.
The wives and other family members were running in support of their soldiers in the Middle East. The soldiers are with the Oklahoma National Guard and currently stationed in Afghanistan.
"This is typically something we would do together," said Cherie Garmon, whose husband is stationed in Afghanistan. "We'd both be running together and obviously we can't now."
But for the first time this year, they can, at least in spirit. That's because their husbands along with 50 other soldiers participated in the Redbud Classic in Afghanistan.
"I think it's really neat just because we're running the same race at the same time even though we're so far away," said Tori Naber , another military wife running the Redbud.
The idea of mirroring the race started with Sgt. Chad Beals, who coordinated all the details with redbud officials through email and facetime. The soldiers even got their own t-shirts, race bibs and starting line banner.
"We are just looking for ways to take our minds off the fact that we are so far away from home," explained Beals.
Even though the terrain is different, the soldiers ran both the 5 k and 10 k in four different locations over the course of the weekend.
"I think it's awesome, that the Redbud has done this for our soldiers and us," said Naber. "They're sponsoring all of the soldiers over there; I just think that's really neat of them to care and help bring us closer to our husbands while they're away."
The soldiers were actually registered participants of the race here. Redbud will be sending finish medals to them as well. Those soldiers are supposed to come home this fall.
Annually, 6,500 athletes participate in the Redbud events, not including the nearly 800 children who run in the free one mile children's run.
The 2013 beneficiary for the Redbud Classic is Oklahoma Lawyers for Children. Oklahoma Lawyers for Children represent children who have been removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse. The attorneys represent the needs of these children as they help guide them through the legal system.