On your mark … get set … go! Soldiers, civilians participate in Oktoberfest night run
Sgt. Sinthia Rosario,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Soldiers and civilians participated in the 19th annual German American Oktoberfest Night Run Saturday at Freedom Crossing here. There were more than 1,000 participants who ran the 8-kilometer race or walked the 5-kilometer fun walk.
The runners were high in spirits during this race. Excited children rode their bikes or scooters, and adults with their babies ran with their jogging stroller.
“It’s very nice over here; the crowd and the weather are pretty nice,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Heller with the German Air Force Air Defense Center. “Last year it was very warm, so this year it’s better.”
Heller also said that he enjoys getting together and meeting new people.
Brandon C. Gangstad, a runner in this event, said this was a great run. Gangstad also said that it is always good to have good community relations with the people of El Paso and people from other countries.
Some of the participants had previously been to Germany during their military career, and experiencing the German culture here brought fond memories.
Eric Hildreth, cofounder of the German-American run and event organizer, said he spent some time in Germany.
“When the Germans first approached us at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation in reference to possibly having a run and putting on this event, we thought it was a great idea because of the festive activity that I experienced in Germany,” said Hildreth. “So we went ahead and tried it and participation was large right at the start of the event, and every year it’s gotten bigger.”
Aside from the run, other pre-race activities were provided during this event. The 1st Armored Division Band provided music for the public. Children chased each other on the grass, jumped in the bounce houses and danced to the beat of the music. Traditional German food and beverages were on sale. Then in the evening the German Schuhplattler Dance Group performed their traditional dances.
The FirstLight Federal Credit Union, the GAFADC, the MWR, and other contributors sponsored this event.
“I think FirstLight Federal Credit Union does an outstanding job promoting this event, and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the German culture, German folks and enjoy some of their food and drinks,” said retired Lt. Col. Jaime Barceleau, a board member of FirstLight Federal Credit Union. “I also think that it’s a great activity for the military community.”
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