Aviano troops run through Europe Published June 1, 2006 By Lt. Col. Pete Schaub 31st Operations Support Squadron commander AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Last Mother’s Day weekend, several of the World’s Finest and their families traveled to Prague, Czech Republic. This trip was a fantastic opportunity for me and five of my 31st OSS troops, as well as members of 31st Civil Engineer Squadron, 555th Fighter Squadron, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron and 31st Mission Support Group to combine physical fitness activities with the outstanding travel opportunities afforded to us living in Europe.My squadron’s trip came to fruition when several of us were discussing the U.S. Air Force fitness test and the benefits derived from the recent focus on physical fitness. During the discussion, I mentioned I wanted to run a marathon in the near future and oddly enough, several others were interested, too.In no time, we had decided that Prague would be a great marathon to run and that it would be fun to take families along. Thankfully, one of our spouses graciously volunteered to coordinate the entire itinerary and before we knew it, we had a plan in place. Additionally, we coordinated for all our active-duty members running the marathon to travel permissive TDY, so no leave was taken.While the primary focus for a few of us was to run the marathon on Sunday, all of us were interested in exploring Prague. The city of a hundred spires was absolutely beautiful and offered something for everyone. Museums and art galleries, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and The Old Town Hall with the Astronomical Clock were just a few of the sites we were able to visit. We all found the subway and bus system easy to use and understand, and everyone agreed that the Czech restaurants were all world class and relatively inexpensive. Some of us even enjoyed a relaxing dinner cruise on the Vltava river that flows through the city.The marathon proved to be a challenge, but each of us was able to finish the course. Congratulations go to two of my troops who completed their first-ever marathon after only beginning to train four months ago.Everyone in our group agreed that the entire trip was a complete success. I would offer up this activity as an idea for any squadron to pursue as a long-range activity. Why not push yourself to higher fitness levels while exploring Europe? Just so you know, Dublin, Ireland, is hosting a marathon in October which doesn’t necessitate a qualifying time as an entry requirement. Also, the race course will be open for eight hours so you could walk it. Interested? The 31st OSS Lions might see you there.