(Via Ho’okele News)
Tech Sgt. Joy Meek
PACAF Public Affairs
It starts by placing one foot in front of the other, increasing speed, building endurance and the next thing you know, 26.2 miles have passed. OK, well, it may not be that easy, but some Pacific Air Forces Airmen have the opportunity to experience exactly what it takes to train for and complete the Air Force Marathon.
Ten Airmen from bases throughout the Pacific region were selected to represent PACAF in the Air Force Marathon on Sept. 20, in either the half or full marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
“This year is the first year that PACAF will officially be sending a full team of 10 runners for the MAJCOM Challenge,” said Master Sgt. Terilynn Madrona, PACAF services sustainment branch noncommissioned officer at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “In previous years, PACAF only funded four full marathon runners.”
The AF Form 303, Request for USAF Specialized Sports Training, is the official document the athletes use to apply for the team which lists their last three years of run times and accomplishments. All of the applications are evaluated by a PACAF Services board which selects the participants.
With 59 applicants, Madrona said it wasn’t an easy selection decision for the board.
“It was a lengthy process to go through each application as many candidates had multiple recent run times to evaluate,” Madrona said. “The AF Form 303 asks for sports experience and significant performance or training for the past three years.”
Airman 1st Class Andrew Riesenberger, civil engineer with the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron at Osan Air Base, South Korea, one of six PACAF runners selected for the half marathon, said he looks forward to meeting other military running enthusiasts.
“It’s really exciting for me because I’ve been running for so long on high school and college teams it’s cool to have a different kind of team to run and compete with,” Riesenberger said.
His sentiment was shared by fellow half marathon participant, 2nd Lt. Herman Reinhold, 374th Force Support Squadron Readiness and Plans chief at Yokota Air Base, Japan. “I’m excited to meet other running enthusiasts from across PACAF,” Reinhold said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only crazy guy out there doing laps around the flight line in 40 degree weather when everyone else is already home watching TV.”
For some participants it may be a new experience, but for Master Sgt. Karissa Gunter, fitness center section chief with the 36th Force Support Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, this will be her ninth full marathon and second time on the PACAF team.
She credits her running passion to a previous assignment.
“I was stationed at Aviano [Italy] in 2007 and running encouraged me to get out and see all the fascinating sites in Europe,” Gunter said.
Proper training and running a few half or full marathons is important for anyone wanting to be on a future team, according to Madrona. For helpful training information, visit the USAF Marathon site at http://www.usafmarathon.com/training.htm.
For anyone interested in applying to participate in next year’s AF Marathon, Reinhold offers some advice.
“All it takes is a strict running regime and a little bit of confidence. Turn off the TV for a few minutes, load some music onto your MP3 player, tie your shoes and go.”
The full team representing PACAF in the 2014 Air Force Marathon is listed below:
Maj. Luke Casper, 35 Fighter Wing Safety, Misawa AB
Master Sgt Karissa Gunter, 36 FSS, Andersen AFB
Master Sgt. Traveller Hill, 25 Air Support Operation Squadron, JBPHH
SrA Kevin McInerny, 5 ASOS, Eielson AFB
Col. Dondi Costin, HQ PACAF Chaplin, JBPHH
Capt. Allison Easterly, 962 Airborne Air Control Squadron, JBER
2nd Lt. Herman Reinhold, 374 FSS, Yokota AB
Staff Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 51 Operation Support Squadron, Osan AB
SrA Lauren Weimer, 647 Civil Engineer Squadron, JBPHH
A1C Andrew Riesenberger, 51 CES, Osan AB