by Thea Skinner
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Peterson Airmen earned accolades at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, at the Air Force Marathon Sept. 19.
About 29 Airmen stationed across the Front Range departed the Peterson flight line Sept. 17 to run in the 13th annual marathon. Runners stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Schriever Air Force Base, Buckley Air Force Base, and the U.S. Air Force Academy all flew out together aboard a C-130. About 12 other runners traveled by vehicle or commercial aircraft for a total of forty-five runners in the Front Range team participating in the marathon.
“Overall everyone ran very well and had a great time at the event. All of us (SMC participants) plan to run again next year,” said 1st Lt. Douglas Downs, Space and Missile Center.
Lieutenant Downs ran the 10K and placed seventh in his division and 70th overall, as his counterpart 1st Lt. William Robinson placed fifth in running the 10K in his division and 31st overall. Five SMC runners participated in the marathon. Louis Johnson ran the full 26.2 mile marathon placing 18th in his division and 232nd overall, and has competed in every AF Marathon since its inception.
The 10K had 1469 individuals that finished and the full marathon had 2013. The 21st Medical Support Squadron announced the participation request about 10 months prior during a commander’s call.
“We ended up with 11 people total,” said Senior Airman Theodore Reynolds, 21st Medical Support Squadron physical training leader. “I always wanted to do a marathon, so I can check it off the list of things I want to do. For me, it makes me think about all the other runners – being around healthy, like-minded people.”
“This year has been all about logistics but last year it was about running,” he said. “As a marathon runner it is about passing yourself. Things come up and you have to adjust as you go along.”
Airman Reynolds inspired other unit members to participate, said Tech. Sgt. Lucinda Emerson of the 21st MDSS pharmacy.
“He was so excited when he came back – he was pumped up. It made it a lot easier to have our commander’s support,” she said. “It takes up a good part of your day to do training.”
Sergeant Emerson trained for five months and ran up to 15 miles within two and a half hours. In 10 minutes she runs one mile.
As Lt. Col. Pete Solie of Air Force Space Command edges toward retirement, he used the marathon run as a capstone and training for a Mount Everest expedition in March 2010. He is one of three Americans out of a group of 10 that will climb the mountain. During the marathon he learned what he needed to improve on.
“I was doing fine up till mile 18 then my legs seized up and energy drained – was a struggle from then on. Bottom line – need to improve my anaerobic capacity,” he said.
The race course is positioned in and around historical aviation sites including the Wright Brother’s proving grounds.
“Didn’t like the 90 degree turn right out of the starting gate – saw several fall and subsequently almost get stampeded,” he said. “A big hill a mile in, but then flat up mile 21 to a few rolling hills toward the finish line. For those of us that hit the proverbial wall – these hills became big obstacles and many, including me, had to stop for short walks. I’ll be back!”
Lt. Col. Solie was the 127th male finisher and 136th overall.
“This is the premier marathon in the Air Force,” said Mr. Ben Beck, Peterson Fitness and Sports center athletic director. “This is the second year that we’ve been able to acquire air transport to the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson. This year’s Front Range team has increased by 50 percent from last year; 22 (Airmen) flew last year.”
According to Mr. Beck, the increase indicates that the Air Force continues to increases its number of marathoners, which adheres to the Air Force goal of total fitness, including aerobic conditioning. For more marathon information, visit http://www.usafmarathon.com.