By Scott Prater
For Senior Airman Cody Ott, 50th Civil Engineering Squadron, the sport of running was something he never really thought about growing up.
He had to join the Air Force to figure out he liked it.
“In the midst of basic training, I noticed people were faster than me,” he said. “And that irked me. So I started running and then I figured out when you put the miles in, you begin to realize results pretty quickly.”
He now runs three to four full-length marathons a year, so when he heard athletes here were gearing up for the Air Force Marathon, the event seemed like the perfect fit for his training schedule. Air Force runners who compete are provided permissive temporary duty for the race.
This year, he’ll participate in the Air Force Marathon for the first time, rather fitting for an Airman who can thank the Air Force for igniting his new-found passion for running. He will be one of 21 athletes to represent Schriever Air Force Base in the 15th Air Force Marathon Saturday at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The Wright-Patterson course will be a flat and fast track, something appealing to most runners at Schriever, who by the nature of their duty station are accustomed to running at more than 6,000 feet.
“Everybody has told me to enjoy this one,” he said. “After training at altitude, it’s going to be fun to run at sea level.
According to the AF marathon website, a record number of runners have registered for the event. Schriever will be represented by more than 20 runners for the second consecutive year despite the fact that their transportation to Wright-Patterson hit a snafu recently. A planned flight from Peterson AFB was unexpectedly cancelled on short notice, forcing the runners to make alternate arrangements.
“Right now, we’re planning to drive shuttle vans out and then fly back, but that plan has not been finalized just yet,” Ott said. “We’ll figure it out by the time its ready to go.”
As in past years, race organizers allow participants to register for the event they feel will present the best individual challenge. Runners can choose to enter the 26.2 mile marathon, the 13.1 mile half marathon or a 10 kilometer event.
Every competitor has their own motivations and goals. At Schriever, those goals are wide and varied.
Senior Airman Justin Lozada, 50th Comptroller Squadron, will run the half marathon, his first long-distance competition.
“I’m doing it for the challenge,” Lozada said. “Running for me, grew out of trying to pass my PT test. My buddy, Airman 1st Class Allen Orozco-Castaneda, has run it a couple of times and suggested I try it. He didn’t have to twist my arm too much. I’m looking forward to pushing myself, meeting a lot of new people and being a part of something big.”
First Lt. Megan Rube, 1st Space Operations Squadron, will be attempting her fourth full-length marathon and is hoping to set a personal-best time. For Capt. Sarah Doud, 50th Operations Group, the half marathon will serve as a test for her recently repaired knee.
“I’ve never run anything more than six miles, so this will probably be a walk/run race,” she said. “It’s only been three and half months since my knee surgery so finishing is my goal. The funny thing is I hated running before this surgery, but once your mobility is taken away, you’re happy to get out there and run once you can.”