WIESBADEN, Germany - Twenty-five hours after the crack of the starting pistol in the Kurpark on Sept. 11, the last runners sprinted across the finish line in Wiesbaden's annual charity endurance run. After running non-stop through the night, runners had racked up thousands of kilometers for charity.
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Among the many local German teams participating in this year's event, organized by the Wiesbaden Sport Organization to promote the development of young athletes, were five U.S. military teams and one American solo runner.
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"It was awesome," said Sgt. Christina Clay, team captain for "Team America" - a group of runners from the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade.
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Run was motivating
"It was great because I wanted to get into running," Clay said, explaining that hearing the lap counter trigger every time she and fellow runners compiled laps around the nearly one-kilometer-long track was motivating.
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Although she won't be here next year to participate in the German-American dragon boat races in Wiesbaden Schierstein or the 25-hour run, Clay said she will encourage her fellow Soldiers to carry on the tradition.
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"Congratulations to all of the runners and teams that finished," said Col. Jeffrey Dill, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander. Dill was on hand for the start of the race, ran with the combined USAG Wiesbaden/1st Armored Division team and helped hand out trophies to the most accomplished teams during a ceremony at the conclusion. "Thanks to the sponsors and to the city of Wiesbaden. ... I'm looking forward to next year's 25-hour run."
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Like last year, two runners flew solo - running the entire 25 hours. But unlike last year, only Chris Wolfe, a civilian computer technician with 102nd Signal Battalion, was back for the second year in a row.
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"It was much harder this year," said Wolfe. "About 45 minutes into the run it was all uphill from there."
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The ultra-marathoner explained that he had competed in several long-distance events all over Europe this year, including a 60-hour cross country race in Sweden.
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After being recognized for having completed 145 laps at this year's 25-hour run, Wolfe said he and his wife Donielle were looking forward to two more marathons this year - in Frankfurt and Munich - "and then it's recovery time."
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The other solo runner, Jens Hilpert, who had competed with a team the year before, completed 231 laps on his own this year - the most of any runner.
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"It's always great to come out here," Sgt. Sean McAvinue, team captain of the Road Hazards - runners from the Wiesbaden Health Clinic and the only Wiesbaden military community competitive team (competitive teams could only include up to 10 runners, while "fun" teams could include up to 25 runners). "Having a sponsor was real nice too - they brought us food and drinks throughout the run."
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U.S.'s top team
McAvinue added that while his team didn't finish among the top three - teams that spend all year training for events such as the 25-hour run - he was proud of his team's accomplishment, 304 laps. "The main thing is that everybody gave something they didn't know they had - they gave it that little extra."
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"I liked it," echoed Running on Air team member Meredith Bonta. As a member of the combined 485th Intelligence Squadron/European Technical Center team, Bonta contributed an hour the first day of the run and another hour the second day. "I did a relay once before. This was nice."
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This year all of the Wiesbaden military community teams were able to participate thanks to corporate sponsorship. These included the German automobile club ADAC, Auto Hollmann, the Wiesbaden Spielbank, Dorint Hotel, Dowcorning and USAG Wiesbaden's Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
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Members of the garrison's Outdoor Recreation also helped out with tents for the event and members of the German-American friendship club, Kontakt, were on hand to keep runners supplied with water and other refreshments. AFN Wiesbaden was also on hand broadcasting live.
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"Congratulations to all of you who accomplished this run - or should I say survived it," said Wiesbaden City Councilor Dieter Schlempp, on behalf of Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Helmut MAfA1/4ller. "I thank all of you who participated because you support the Wiesbaden Sport Organization's development of young future athletes."
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For more photos from the 25-hour run visit the garrison's Flickr site at www.wiesbaden.army.mil (click on the Flickr link at the bottom right). To see team results and individual lap times visit the WISPO home page at www.chipzeit.de/ergebnisse/2010091201.aspx.
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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16