Military community athletes run 25 hours for charity, friendship
September 14, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany - As the sun rose over Wiesbaden's Kurpark Sept. 11, people scrambled out of sleeping bags to see who was still on the track a few hours before the end of Wiesbaden's 25-hour run.
Some 86 U.S. military community runners were among the hundreds of athletes who turned out for the seventh annual charity event, organized by the Wiesbaden Sport Organization (WISPO) to promote the development of young athletes.
U.S. military participation included three "fun" teams (U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden/485th Intelligence Squadron, 5th Signal Command and German-American Police) with 25 people each, one competitive team (Wiesbaden Health Clinic) with 10 members -- and one individual runner.
"I am really proud to see so many runners who are tired, but happy," said Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut Müller during the awards ceremony at the run's conclusion.
After 25 hours, the 10 members of the health clinic's Road Hazards team, sponsored by the Dorint Pallas Wiesbaden, racked up a solid 312 laps around the just shy of one-kilometer Kurpark to finish in 16th place out of 25 competitive teams. That was eight laps more than the 304 laps they had turned in the year before.
Fastest in the competitive team category was the R&V;Running Stars team with 424 laps.
Among the fun teams, the combined U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden/485th Intelligence Squadron team (sponsored by USAG Wiesbaden's Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation) ran the most laps among the U.S. military community teams, racking up 281 laps for 27th place out of 32 teams. The German-American Police team (sponsored by Auto Hollmann and Andrews Federal Credit Union) was 30th with 275 laps and the 5th Signal Command team (sponsored by Dow Corning GmbH) put in 272 laps to claim 32nd place.
The first-place team in the fun team category was the Schwimmclub Wiesbaden with 416 laps.
Chris Wolfe, of the 102nd Signal Battalion, was back for his third 25-hour run -- completing 137 laps. He was only outdone by his challenger from the year before, Jens Hilpert, who finished the event with 212 laps.
But winning wasn't the primary objective for the U.S. military community runners; the annual German-American sporting event was another chance to demonstrate solidarity with German neighbors and thanks for continued support throughout the year.
As the event finished on 9/11, Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander and one of the garrison's runners, reflected on the flood of sympathy and support by the host nation in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Thanking the WISPO organizers and "the entire community for being such good friends," Dill referred to the "comforting and consoling" responses by German citizens in the days following 9/11.
"We're very proud to be here and a part of this community. Thanks to everyone for your friendship," said Dill. (For more photos from the 25-hour run visit the garrison's Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/wpao. To see individual lap times and team results visit the WISPO home page at www.chipzeit.de/ergebnisse/2011091101.aspx. Besides thanks to the sponsors, organizers also thanked members of Wiesbaden's Outdoor Recreation and the German-American Kontakt Club for their support. )