75th Fires Brigade adds 13.1-miler to annual run
June 13, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (June 13, 2013) -- Many people in local-running circles have heard of and participated in various unit-hosted-run events that are routinely held here.
Although there are many great cardio endurance challenges available to a casual runner, if an organization wants its run event to stand out from all others, it has to lead from the front of the pack with an adjustable and forward thinking plan of action.
The leadership of the 75th Fires Brigade willingly accepted that challenge and tweaked its own annual-run event this year.
After 33 years of hosting the Diamond Brigade Run, the "Tough As Diamonds" brigade threw a curve ball while planning its annual event when it added a half-marathon race to the competition.
Last year, an overwhelming number of patrons gave the world class event much deserved acclamation for its structure and the professionalism of its staff.
Some of the runners, including one who has participated in the event every year since its inaugural race, added that since the event has grown in popularity and participants over the years, "why not add a half-marathon to the event?"
After the suggestion was brought to the brigade leader's attention by his staff, he ran with it and approved the additional race for this year's event.
As a result, the brigade embarked on taking the necessary steps to make the historic event successful.
"They [brigade's operations staff] coordinated with the Break Away Running Team," said Lt. Col. Joseph Halloran, 75th FiB provisional brigade commander. "It's a fully certified half-marathon route."
While trailblazing on an unbeaten path may hamper others willingness to venture out and try new ideas because of the pressure of failure staring at you in the face, the "Tough As Diamonds" brigade staff, whom are known for stating a modified version of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s, "[Heat and] pressure makes diamonds," quote, stood tall in the face of adversity. The Fort Sill and Lawton community responded as 64 participants competed in the half-marathon.
Half-marathon winner, Karen Horvath, said she was "really excited" to finish with the best overall time [1 hour, 28 minutes, 32 seconds]. The seasoned runner and triathlete added that she believes the additional half-marathon run "pulls in more athletes than just a 5K or 10K" featured run event does.
"It was such a success this year," said Halloran, "We are going to add a full one [marathon] next year."
The annual event featured its traditional events: the 5K and 10K run and the family oriented 1-mile fun run/walk.
It also featured a traditional 5K unit run, which was open to all units at Fort Sill to compete for bragging rights as the most motivated unit during the run. Each unit was also judged based on its run time and its ability to stay together in formation as a group.
The winning unit was 3rd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery. The "Bruiser Nation" battalion received both a trophy and, for the first time, a commemorative Diamond Brigade Run Unit Run Champion's pennant, which it will keep in its possession until next year's run when it will defend the title.
Another first was a performance by a live band. The Kyle Stallings Band from Bremond, Texas, played multiple sets as runners from various races crossed the finish line, and later as the event concluded.
Stallings, the lead vocalist, is a former Soldier who is an affiliate of the brigade's safety liaison, Michael "Safety Mike" Arite. Arite is the band's drummer, who goes by the stage name of Mike Angel.
This year, the event featured 343 registered runners and a plethora of fun run/walk athletes.