CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - On a rather cool July 28th morning on the aviation side of COB Speicher, Iraq, a group of runners competed in the first of three running events planned by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. The Running Series was the brain child of the company commander who is an avid runner himself. "I'm a big runner," said Capt. Andrew Young, commander, HHC 10th CAB, "so I thought I'd try to see if I could get a lot of sponsors and organizations that I participate in and know, pull them together with the Soldiers to enjoy the sport of running. We did the running series to basically get people together to support each other as well as for fitness and wellness." Once Young contacted the sponsors, the support was tremendous. One sponsor was not only willing to help with this running series, but the organization actually helps those around the world who are less fortunate than we are. "Soles 4 Souls is a non-profit organization and what they do is they take donated shoes, running shoes and pretty much send them to a lot of countries even Afghanistan and Iraq that need them," explained Young. "We are going to be collecting for Soles 4 Souls at the next two running events in this series this August and September. So we need runners to bring in their old shoes so we can box them up and get them sent out." Young says that you don't have to be a participant in the running event to donate your old shoes. "Even if you don't run you can donate your old shoes," said Young. "Just drop your old shoes off at the South MWR on the day of the race." Road Runners Club of America was another big sponsor for the event as well as AAFES and a several others who donated items like gift certificates, medals and trophies. Young thanks those who helped with organizing the event and those who donated to the cause. "The sponsors like Road Runners Club of America really want to support the Soldiers that are deployed," explained Young. "They understand the constraints we have to put on events like this, so they want to help in order to make it a special event and support the sport of running. This was the first event in the series over 90 Soldiers and civilians stationed here participated. Young says that he expects to see an even bigger turn out for the next two events coming up in August and September. "I know there are more that wanted to participate but due to the 24 hour operations here they couldn't get off work to enjoy this," said Young. "Hopefully they will get the chance to come out to the next two events. I've had several people walk up to me since the last race and tell me that they are looking forward to getting out to the next two."