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STUTTGART, Germany — Food on the grill. Live music playing. Not a bad way to spend 24 hours.

“It gives them something to look forward to and at the same time gives them a break,” said Command Sgt. Maj. John Pollard, commandant, U.S. European Command. “The [troops] on the track are supporting each other; they run by and people are cheering.”

The 15th annual Stuttgart 24-Hour Marathon and Music Fest that started Friday also included spouses and civilians. A field of 600 or more runners and walkers were scheduled to compete, with team members taking turns to stay on the track at Patch Barracks for a full 24 hours.

Last year’s event raised nearly $15,000 for local youth charities, said fest treasurer Petty Officer 1st Class Carol Custer of Winchester, Va., and the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Competitors raised money by buying a T-shirt for the event. The winner of the T-shirt design contest was Cait Gamble, an eighth-grader at Patch High School. Her design had a clock with running shoes as its hands and the silhouette of a girl running.

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