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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Three hundred U.S. servicemembers and South Koreans got a running start on 2003 — literally.

They gathered Dec. 31 to ring in the new year with a Midnight Madness 5K fun run, according to an Army news release.

Bennie L. Jackson, Area II sports director, said the race has grown from 50 runners 10 years ago to several hundred.

“It is something we do to keep people off the streets on New Year’s Eve and it’s a fun thing to do,” Jackson said in the release.

Forty-five South Koreans from the Seoul Marathon Club were among those taking part in Midnight Madness. Many of the club’s runners are preparing for the March 2 Seoul Marathon Race. Club president Pak Yong-sok said he would like to see U.S. servicemembers compete in that event.

“We had 230 U.S. servicemembers last year,” the 80-year-old marathoner said in the release. “I hope this year we have 600.”

Spc. Kevin J. Spradlin, administration specialist, 50th Engineers, founded a running club that boasts the Midnight Madness winner: Sgt. Mario Barajas, also of the 50th Engineers.

“We are trying to put together a good group of runners that can go out and compete in local races,” Spradlin said in the release.

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