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Runners take off from the base flag pole on Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for the Jingle Bell run, which combined a toy drive with Combat Fitness, a program designed to add more fitness into the daily lives of servicemembers in the Air Force.

Runners take off from the base flag pole on Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for the Jingle Bell run, which combined a toy drive with Combat Fitness, a program designed to add more fitness into the daily lives of servicemembers in the Air Force. (Jessica Inigo / S&S)

Runners take off from the base flag pole on Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for the Jingle Bell run, which combined a toy drive with Combat Fitness, a program designed to add more fitness into the daily lives of servicemembers in the Air Force.

Runners take off from the base flag pole on Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for the Jingle Bell run, which combined a toy drive with Combat Fitness, a program designed to add more fitness into the daily lives of servicemembers in the Air Force. (Jessica Inigo / S&S)

Senior Airman Sarah Aden, right, places her Leap Frog book, which teaches the alphabet, under a Christmas tree at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, just before the Jingle Bell run. Runners were asked to provide a toy in order to participate in the event.

Senior Airman Sarah Aden, right, places her Leap Frog book, which teaches the alphabet, under a Christmas tree at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, just before the Jingle Bell run. Runners were asked to provide a toy in order to participate in the event. (Jessica Inigo / S&S)

RHEIN-MAIN AIR BASE, Germany — Santa may not be known for the miles he can run, but some of his helpers are.

Senior Airman Sarah Aden, deployed to Rhein-Main from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and her sister, Staff Sgt. Rachel Aden, visiting from Portland, Ore., and about 40 other people brought gifts for children of needy families on base prior to taking off in the second annual Jingle Bell Run and toy drive.

Participants began at the flagpole on Rhein-Main and raced through the base, ending at the Youth Center on Gateway Gardens, the Air Force housing area just over two miles away.

“This event really has two goals,” said Capt. Kevin Wilkinson, deputy staff judge advocate, “taking care of those less fortunate and getting fit.”

Runners filled the bottom of a Christmas tree with gifts such as Candy Land board games and a family of Mr. Potato Head toys.

Plus, the toy drive is held in conjunction with another charity program, the Warm Heart Group, which provides commissary gift certificates to families.

Combat Fitness, a new U.S. Air Forces in Europe exercise initiative, encourages events such as the Jingle Bell Run on a regular basis.

Sarah Aden said she participated in the Jingle Bell run mainly for the fitness and to build camaraderie with her sister.

“I just love running,” said Sarah Aden, who brought a Leap Frog alphabet book. “Plus, this in one more thing for me and my sister to do together.”

Though the legal office sponsored the event, representatives of every major unit on base participated in the run, according to Wilkinson.

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