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Marathoner’s message challenges DODDS kids

Ultra-marathon runner Paul Staso talks with children at Vilseck Elementary School on Tuesday.

DAN BLOTTENBERGER / S&S

By DAN BLOTTENBERGER | STARS AND STRIPESSTARS AND STRIPES Published: March 11, 2010

BAMBERG, Germany — An ultra-marathoner who is running across Germany is making pit stops at Defense Department schools to promote fitness.

Paul Staso, 45, founder and president of the P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, started Monday on a 500-mile run across Germany, which will take him three weeks. During the trip Staso will be stopping at 25 schools, along with his travel companion — an 80-pound stroller packed with survival gear, known as “BOB,” which he says stands for “beast of burden.”

Staso stopped at Vilseck Elementary School on Tuesday before a 33-mile run to Hohenfels. He told the children he started running when he was 10 years old.

“You guys are sitting in one thing that you are going to have for life,” he told the students. “That is your body. You’ve got to take care of this body you got. It’s not like you wake up in the morning and open your closet and decide – I think I will wear this body today.”

Staso began the P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation four years ago after making a promise to his daughter’s fifth-grade class. “We tried to come up with a way to make kids more active and fit,” Staso said.

Since then he has run more than 6,000 miles in the States to promote fitness. This is Staso’s first run outside of the U.S.

He challenged the Vilseck children to accumulate 500 miles, as a class, on group runs.

“It inspired me to have a goal and take it,” said 10-year-old Maks Cella, a fourth-grader at the school. “It gave me the inspiration to run and do my best.”

After the Hohenfels run, Staso is scheduled to run every day until March 30, when he arrives in Landstuhl.


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