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Running the Gambit

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Cammie Quinn
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
The countdown has begun, and as of July 18, Pope Airmen have 61 days to prepare for what they expect to be one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives.

Master Sgt. Roy King, 43rd Force Support Squadron, helped to establish a running group to focus on training for the 2008 Air Force Marathon. He has carried the tradition to help Airmen prepare for this year's race.

The U.S. Air Force Marathon is an annual event held on the anniversary of the Air Force, Sept. 18, in Dayton, Ohio. Race events include a marathon, wheeled marathon, half-marathon and 10- kilometer run said Derek Kaufman, 88th Air Base Wing, public affairs.

"The primary purpose of the group is to support and motivate each other while we train for this year's race," Sergeant King said. "The group also shares information on training techniques and injury prevention.

"Every Monday we work on speed drills, each Friday is our tempo run, consisting of five to eight miles, focused on pacing," Sergeant King added. "Saturday is the long run, during which runners choose their distance, depending on their specific race."

Staff Sgt. Crystal Ybarra, 43rd Judge Advocate Office, is a first-time marathon runner and said group training keeps her motivated to run.

"It's not always easy to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to run before the sun comes scorching up," she said. "Having a group of people there makes it easier to be motivated to get up and go."

To compliment her training with the running group, Sergeant Ybarra has developed a 16-week plan to prepare for the race. A typical week for the sergeant includes running four to five miles each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She reserves Saturdays for 'long runs,' which have to 14 miles.

"It has been a goal of mine to run a marathon before I turn 30 years old," Sergeant Ybarra said. "That time is quickly approaching and I decided that 2010 would be the year to run a marathon. I'm expecting a big feeling of accomplishment once it's complete."

2nd Lt. Alex Hortin, 43rd Communication Squadron, is looking forward to the camaraderie and tradition of running in the Air Force Marathon. Lieutenant Hortin has been training with the group for more than a month and believes he's on the right track to run the full marathon.

"I've never ran a marathon before, I'm not ready yet, but I still have two months left to train," he said. "Ideally I'd like to finish in three hours and 45 minutes."

The lieutenant has gradually increased his run from three miles, three days a week to running the 6.5- mile run around the perimeter of the Pope flightline five times a week.
"When we started, it was about four months before the day of the race, which is the timeline most training plans recommend when preparing for marathons" said Lieutenant Hortin. "Getting in the long distance runs is really important. I'm up to about
35 miles a week, but a marathon is 26 miles in one day."

Senior Airman Brittany Hurdle, 43rd Force Support Squadron believes that completing the half-marathon will give her a feeling of accomplishment and hopes that seeing all the runners in the Air Force will encourage her to continue running.

"I think the Air Force Marathon will be a great event," Airman Hurdle said. "Seeing all those runners out there reminds me that we can do anything if we put our minds to it."
The 2010 Air Force Marathon will be the fourth and final year for Sergeant King as an active duty member. He hopes to continue to participate in the event next year, as a retiree.

"When running with a partner, we often push out the last mile or so, even when our body is telling us to quit," said Sergeant King. "Without the partner, we may have been less likely to stick to our training plan."

The group is like a reliable running partner; someone to help stay accountable, disciplined and encouraged, said Sergeant King.