FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 3, 2013) -- The Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility hosted its annual Gate-to-Gate Run Sept. 28 to celebrate the Army's cultural diversity as part of Hispanic Heritage Month and to encourage fitness throughout Army Families.

Runners of all ages and fitness levels ran the 4.2 miles from the Ozark Gate to the Daleville Gate, with David Seymour and Jennifer Macgibbon claiming the overall male and female titles, with times of 23:00 and 27:01, respectively.

The event seeks to bring cultural and fitness awareness to the community through the mingling of the different runners.

"I think it is important for the military to be diverse because America is diverse," said Satine Ryan, Army spouse. "It is important to embrace all the different cultures that make up the Army because that is what makes us strong as a nation. We shouldn't let politics, religion or race divide us because that can lead to national weakness where a foreign power might take advantage of us."

Supporting different ethnic backgrounds and educating people on cultural differences is one way some Soldiers feel the equal opportunity policies are helping people understand that being culturally diverse is what makes the military strong.

"Being Hispanic myself this run hits a little closer to home for me," said Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Redondo, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, USARAK Aviation Task Force Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. "It was nice to see others in the community come together to support tolerance and understanding.

"Cultural events, not just this run, open people's eyes to how diverse our Army really is," he continued. "Everyone in the Army is green, but we all have different backgrounds and upbringings, so it brings us all together to at least show what others believe in and where they come from."

David Seymour, who has finished first place overall for the past two years, said he had a little more motivation this year.

"This race is such a motivational event on post for everyone, but this year it was a little more special for me because a great girl was waiting at the finish line," he said. "But, overall, it is one of the harder races because there is a pretty steep hill on the course, and it is longer than the 5ks that are held. It's a great event all around."

Each competitor had a different reason for running, but Seymour said that he is seeing more people hitting the pavement on post as running becomes more popular as a total body workout.

"Running is the rawest form of cardio and is the most beneficial form of exercise for the body," he said. "People are realizing the great results of running, that's why people continue to participate in the post runs. Its great to see more and more people at the events."

"It's great to get out and run with friends, and seeing young people out here participating is fantastic," said Maj. Daniel Ostrowski, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Safety Center. "Exercise is important for the entire Family, and these running events are a great way to spend time with Family and encourage each other to make it to the finish line."