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Soldiers show support for student fitness
0516 MIL Diamond run 1
Diamond Elementary student runners set a fast pace at the beginning of the race. - photo by Photo provided.
Children from Diamond Elementary School showed their commitment to fitness by sacrificing sleep and rising early on Saturday, May 8 to run in the second annual Diamond Elementary School Marathon Club Fun Run on Fort Stewart.
Fifty-five members of the school marathon club, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, along with 42 guest runners, completed a five-kilometer run, and 39 walkers participated in a two-kilometer walk as part of a yearlong goal to cumulatively run 26.2 miles.
“We want our boys and girls to know how important it is to eat right and have a healthy lifestyle,” said Linda Kidd, Diamond Elementary School principal. “The purpose of creating the marathon club was to help introduce the children to fitness at a young age. The fun run is the culminating event for the year.”
Kidd said she appreciated the community partnership fostered by the event and was glad to have parents and grandparents participate. She also praised Vivien Kloppel-Harkrader and Jennifer Weber for the countless hours they spent organizing the marathon club and coordinating the fun run.
Kloppel-Harkrader started the marathon club and organized the first fun run at Diamond Elementary School last year. While living in Ramstein, Germany, the school she worked at had a marathon club and she wanted to bring the tradition to Diamond Elementary.
“The younger you can start to instill the concepts of health and fitness into the children, the more successful they will be as adults,” Kloppel-Harkrader said.
Soldiers from the 2-306th Field Artillery Battalion and 2-349th Logistics Support Battalion and 188th Infantry Brigade headquarters volunteered to coordinate the route, set up for the event and provide static vehicle displays and medical support. Some soldiers manned grills to help with the cooking and others ran with students.
Capt. James Young, action officer for run, said he was happy to come out and help the 1-9th Field Artillery Battalion’s adopted school while they are deployed to Iraq.
“Physical fitness is an important part of the overall fitness of all individuals as Soldiers, civilians or family members,” said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. “I support the Diamond Elementary School Fun Run as it promotes the Army family and physical fitness at a young age.”
During the awards ceremony, Kloppel-Harkrader thanked the 188th Infantry Brigade for sponsoring the event, along with Piggly Wiggly of Glenville and the Fort Stewart Commissary for donating hot dogs, buns and condiments.

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