The 11th annual Run for the Fallen is set to begin Thursday morning.
The run will begin at 7:45 a.m. at Sunset Beach in Cape May Point and continue through Sunday, ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel, Monmouth County.
A group of active military, veterans and military supporters from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will run one mile for each New Jersey service member who died during the Global War on Terror.
The annual event kicked off Wednesday with an opening ceremony and dinner at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum at the Cape May Airport for runners and Gold Star families.
The names of the 72 service members to be honored along the route were read during the ceremony, followed by the playing of taps.
About 35 runners will be on this year’s team. Runners take turns during the nearly 200-mile run. First Sgt. Jenny Paterson, who is participating for the first time, wasn’t too concerned about the the 13 miles a day she will have to run.
“I’m new to the running hobby, but I’m up for the challenge,” Paterson said.
Paterson and the other team runners got a chance to meet some of the families of the fallen during the dinner and will meet more at the Hero Markers along the course.
“The cause is more worthy than any other cause. The families are so thankful to us, but we’re the ones who should be and are thankful,” Paterson said.