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Thousands walk in the 'C.G.'s Challenge'

Lawton-Fort Sill_Thousands of people gathered at Fort Sill on Tuesday for part one of a year-long effort to walk one million miles in the name of physical fitness.  Children, adults, and military personnel alike took to the streets for the "Commander General's (C.G.'s) Challenge."  They started walking at the Polo Field, made their way down Sheridan Road, and finished back at the Polo Field - 3 miles total - in an effort to keep active and fit, letting kids know that it's one way they can be healthy.

It was an amazing sight to see about 18,000 people - including students from 27 different school districts - all in one place.  Everyone, young and old, was excited to be there.  Thousands crowded onto the Polo Field at Fort Sill, and these folks weren't messing around - including Miss Lawton Sarah Jensen.  "My generation is going to be the first generation to have a life expectancy of less than their parents," she said.  "I think that shows this is an important issue."  Kids such as Mario Chavez say they hope to turn bleak statistics around.  "So you can be strong and healthy," he said.  "You can do other stuff instead of just laying down." 

This event was just what the post's commander Major General Peter Vangjel had in mind.  The walk was his brain-child - hence the name, "C.G.'s Challenge."  "Right now, about a third of our kids border on obesity," he said.  "When you start to take a look at that you say, ‘You know, this isn't just about soldiers, it's about families.'"

Carlene Pilcher walked on Tuesday for future generations.  "Fitness is important because we want to live a longer life and be around when our grandkids are here," she said.  That's just what Vangjel wants to hear.  "Fit soldiers, fit families, fit kids - that's what this is all about!" 

There were about 6,000 military members and their families who participated in the "C.G.'s Walk,"  along with an additional 12,000 participants joining them in the walk.  Some of the participating schools students walked in their neighborhoods off post, and others walked as part of their physical education classes.

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