Jace Hett of Lehigh received a pleasant surprise Saturday when his stepdad, Staff Sgt. Rick Mounts, met him before a two-mile race in Wichita.
Hett, 10, was inspired to run the race after hearing that Mounts planned to run in the Boston Marathon in Iraq. Hett is a third grader at Hillsboro Elementary School.
Mounts planned to run the race with Hett if he was there in time, but didn’t let him know, in case he didn’t return in time. Hett expected Mounts to return Sunday, Gina Mounts said.
“It was a good thing just knowing that I could be there to run with him,” Mounts said.
Mounts arrived just before the race and ran with Hett for the two miles, providing encouragement. They finished the race with a time of 17:50, beating Hett’s previous best from practice.
“He did really good,” Mounts said. Some soldiers he trained in Iraq failed to complete a two-mile course in 18 minutes.
Mounts let Hett set the pace in the first mile, which they completed between nine and 10 minutes. Part of the difficulty of the beginning was weaving among the participants who walked the course.
In the second mile, Mounts got the most out of Hett by reminding him of his efforts to beat his best time.
“To see the smile on his face the whole time, it was a good feeling,” Mounts said.
Mounts returned home Friday for a brief rest and relaxation break. While home, he will attend the graduation of his oldest daughter, Kaitlin Mounts, from Abilene High School.
He will return to Iraq May 24 and will remain there until September or October.