FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 8, 2012) -- People came out by the hundreds to the festival fields to participate in the Chili 5k run to kickoff the 21st annual Chili Cook-off.

The run began as more than 400 participants lined up at the corner of 4th Street and 5th Avenue, and was followed by a 1-mile fun run for children after the race.

The purpose of the run was to promote physical wellbeing and provide an avenue for Families to come together and have a good time, according to CW3 Justin Bowser, instructor pilot and Aviation safety officer for C Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment.

Second Lt. Dan Nix, D Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, and overall male winner, said that he enjoys the fitness aspect of running as well as the peace it provides him.

"I like to run often but I don't run every day and I kind of feel bad about it," he said. "Running is just a time for me to get away. I just like to have thoughts to myself, and it's a time for me to pray."

He added that he loves the rush that he gets from running, but he doesn't get out to run as often as he used you.

"I used to run cross country and track at West Point, but I took a break from it and I just wanted time to recover and not run for a while," said Nix. "I was told about this event and I just wanted to come out and show my support and test my legs out."

The winners of the 5k run were: Dan Nix, overall male winner, with a time of 16:17; Dale Nash, overall male master winner, with a time of 20:44; Sarah Stirling, overall female winner, with a time of 19:17; and Val Lichner, overall female master winner, with a time 23:17.

The run went along 5th Avenue, turned left onto Kingsman Street, then another left onto 3rd Avenue and circled back onto 5th Avenue, and for some who participated in the event, it was an opportunity for friendly competition.

"My friend and I decided that we wanted to participate in the run to see how much we could push each other," said Capt. Sean Curnow, A Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. "I feel like I kept a pretty good pace throughout the race. As the race went on I fell behind the frontrunners, but I still think I did a pretty good job considering I don't run very often."

After the 5k and fun run, participants and spectators enjoyed activities, food and fun provided by the run's sister event, the Chili Cook-off.