Celebrate Running: Missing Dillon

Dustin (left) and Hunter Jutras run the 2015 Army Ten-Miler. Photo courtesy of Jutras family.
Dustin (left) and Hunter Jutras run the 2015 Army Ten-Miler. Photo courtesy of Jutras family.

The Jutras family has been running the Army Ten-Miler since 2003. In that time, the team composition has changed, and so has the reason they run.

Pierre and Julia ran with their eldest son, Dillon, and their daughter Heather. They took a year off and came back in 2005, only without Private First Class Dillon Jutras, who had enlisted in the Army and was serving in Iraq.

Dillon died from combat injuries less than three weeks after deployment. He was 20.

But in 2006, Pierre and Julia were back on the course, and a family tradition was born.

In 2010, their 15-year-old son, Dustin, joined in. Two years later, Hunter turned 15 and joined his family’s tradition.

“I was too young before, but I went to support them,” Hunter said. “And it wasn’t just people in the race, we had family and friends come and support the runners.”

That support crew gets up early with the runners and heads into D.C. on the Metro to cheer during miles six and seven near the Agriculture Department. They’re clad in t-shirts with Dillon’s face on them.

“They cheer for everyone, the veterans, the wounded warriors,” Hunter said. “A lot of people run the race for a different reason.”

Though Dillon didn’t run cross country while at Edison High School, he enjoyed running and soccer. His younger brothers went on to compete for Robinson and both are on the George Mason University team together.

Coach Andrew Gerard lets them run, but made it clear that Dustin, who is competing for the Patriots this year, should not show up too high in the results. He did as he was told and stuck to 6:51 miles. Hunter is redshirting, and had a little more leeway in running 54:30 to finish in the top 50.

“He was a great role model,” Hunter said of Dillon. “He was a lot of fun, but he was always serious about wanting to be in the military and serve his country.”

They played a lot of sports and video games together, typical brother stuff.

“He was just a fun person to be with.”

After the race, the two dozen-strong group visits Dillon’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

The community is important, the memories they keep alive and the solace they find in each other. Hunter also draws inspiration from the family and friends who don’t identify as runners but participate anyway.

“Plenty of them aren’t typical runners, like me or my friends, but they’ll come up from North Carolina or South Carolina and run 10 miles with us.”

Recent Stories

Check out some mile seven photos from the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Half Marathon.

Running Shorts

New RnR course, Chocolate City Relay applications open, PVTC finishes second at masters indoors, Shoemaker sets 3k AR, DRC starts up again Wednesday.

RRCA Club Challenge photos

Runners from local clubs raced the RRCA Club Challenge Feb. 26 in Howard County, Md.

Running Shorts

Divided lanes coming to Hains Point, safety measures in the works for the Mount Vernon Trail, three locals make national high school XC meet, local collegians race at NCAAs.

Hero Dogs 3rd Annual 5K9

The in-person event at the historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC will include a 5K and 1K fun run. There will also be a virtual option for supporters outside the DC area. Race week festivities will also include an amazing

George Washington Patriot Run

Join George Washington’s Mount Vernon for a 10-miler and 5K race along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. This race is live and in-person, with a virtual option for those who prefer to run at their own pace and schedule.



Subscribe to our mailing list