By Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Managing Editor:
(El Paso, Texas, Sept. 21, 2017)
Lt. Col. Henri Neubert, deputy commandant of the German Air Force Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, kept his comments short as he welcomed more than 800 runners and walkers to the 24th Annual German-American Night Run at Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss Saturday.
“I want to say thank you to all the participants who have showed up on this beautiful day,” Neubert said, “and I also want to say thank you to everybody who supported this event, who made it happen. So give them a big applause before we start doing this, and may the fastest one win.”
The fastest one turned out to be Troy Evans, 21, who won the competitive 8K race with a time of 26 minutes and 59 seconds. The fastest female was Eva Jess, 14, who came in at 31:34, and the seven-member team from the 22nd Chemical Battalion, the Guardians, won first place in the military team division with an average time of 34:03.
The race also included a 5K fun run, which many ran with their children.
John Rudd, 7, ran the 5K with his father Anthony Rudd.
This was the first time he ever ran an official race, John said, and even though it was hard, he definitely wants to run another one. The best part was when he saw his 7-year-old neighbor and friend who was also running the race, he said.
Bernadette Rowlison, meanwhile, ran the race with her 5-year-old daughter Isadora Chapa.
“I think it’s a great event,” Rowlison said. “I used to be in the Army. I’m a veteran and I want to bring up my daughter to enjoy the fun runs.”
The festivities also included entertainment from the 1st Armored Division Band’s Iron Will rock band and the GAF’s Schuhplattler dance group and German food and beer for sale.
Fort Bliss Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and the GAF hosted the race, and each organization split the proceeds, said Franz Huber, a civilian employee of the GAF and cofounder of the race with Eric Hildreth and Bill Ketcherside from FMWR.
The GAF proceeds will go toward Aid for the Needy, a GAF charity, and the FMWR proceeds will go toward the organization’s work on post, Huber said.
There will be a 25th annual German-American Night Race next year, Huber said, and he expects it to be big since it will mark the race’s 25th anniversary.
Huber said he credits the race’s popularity to its uniqueness in El Paso.
“It’s an evening race where we bring together three countries: Germany, the U.S. and Mexico, and we bring in the people from the El Paso community and the people from Fort Bliss,” Huber said. “It’s unique, and as long as the German side is here in El Paso, we’d like to continue the tradition.”