FORT MCCOY, Wis. (May 29, 2013) -- After a long and cold winter, the warm and sunny weather conditions on May 8th provided a perfect stage for the 5K run/two-mile walk that kicked off the 2013 Fort McCoy Wellness Fair.

The annual fair, hosted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Community Recreation division, in partnership with the Army Emergency Relief program, was held at the Rumpel Fitness Center. The event attracted a crowd of about 600, of which 200 participated in the run/walk event, said Jobi Spolum, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing director.

Unique to this year's event was the participation of a Wisconsin Special Olympics athlete, Scott Prairie, who recited the Special Olympics Athlete's oath prior to the run/walk, Spolum said.

Special Olympics athletes recite the oath before opening ceremonies of each competition to remind everyone, themselves included, they are part of a brave tradition, and the goal is to compete with their whole effort and to exhibit bravery by pushing themselves to ever-greater heights, she said.

A run participant who was the first-place winner in his age category, Kal Althoff, with the 426th Regiment, has attended the Wellness Fair and participated in the 5K run for many years.

He said he would recommend others in the installation community participate in the run and attend the fair to get information from all of the vendors.

The 5K first-place winners were: female 35 and under category Holli Barnes 22 minutes, 59 seconds; female 36 and over Misty Brown, 22:57; male 30 and under Caleb Robertson, 20:08; male 31-40 Daniel Coburn, 21:22; and male 41 and over Althoff, 20:34.

Inside the fitness center, 50 health-, wellness- and fitness-related display booths from Fort McCoy organizations and area businesses offered information to attendees, Spolum said.

Sgt. Chris Murray of the 4215th U.S. Army Hospital said he, along with about 20 other Soldiers who were at Fort McCoy for Warrior Exercise, attended the event.

The Soldiers also participated in the run/walk event.

"The set up is cool; the booths are really noticeable," Murray said. "Everyone is very welcoming and engaging."

Other event highlights included a Hot Shots and Lightning basketball competition, an American Red Cross Blood Drive, door prizes and food provided by McCoy's Community Club.

Sgt. 1st Class Louis Robertson of the Todd R. Cornell Non-commissioned Officer Academy attended the event with his family. Robertson and his sons participated in the run and the basketball competition.

"It's a fun time to get out and enjoy with the family and to learn about the different businesses in the area," he said.

The winners of the Inch Your Way to Success competition also were announced. Sharan Peterson, a Fort McCoy family member, and Allen Adams of the Directorate of Emergency Services each received a $75 gift card to Valley View Mall for losing the most overall inches during a three-month period.

More than 104 combined inches were lost by all participants.

Dan Coburn with the Directorate of Public Works, or DPW, and his spouse, Heidi, attended with their daughter.

It was the first time they had attended the event and had fun hanging out as a family.

Dan enjoyed the run, and Heidi liked getting information and freebies from all of the booths.

Heidi also pushed her daughter in a stroller for the two-mile walk.

Nancy Lauden and Michelle Rowan, who work for DPW, said they attend the fair every year. Lauden said people should take the opportunity to attend to learn about health and wellness.

Spolum said she has received positive feedback about the event. Participants enjoyed the run/walk, the variety of vendors, the door prizes and the fun, family atmosphere.