Kentucky Guardsmen run Air Force Marathon

Story by Master Sgt. Diane Stinnett, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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A group of runners turn a corner at mile 6 of the Air Force marathon on Sept. 20 in Dayton, Ohio. 15,000 runners participated in race, which is held the third Saturday of September each year. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Clint Stinnett)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Seven Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing, all sponsored with funds from the base Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund, participated in the 18th Annual Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, September 19-20, 2014.

Sponsorship included reimbursement of the registration fee for either the half or full marathon and a race-day t-shirt representing the unit, according to Master Sgt. Jennifer Thiery, superintendent of Services for the 123rd Force Support Squadron.

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Capt. Leslie Brooks, commander of the 123rd Communications Squadron, passes mile 22 of the Air Force full marathon on Sept. 20 in Dayton, Ohio. Ten members of the 123rd Airlift Wing participated in the Air Force Marathon weekend, which includes a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Diane Stinnett)

“The way we use the fund has to be available to the whole base’” said Thiery. “We chose to use it to help members run the Air Force Marathon because fitness is so important right now and it encourages a healthy lifestyle.”

The event consists of the Sports and Fitness Expo, 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon and in past years, sponsorship has been available only for the full marathon, and was limited to one male and one female with a prerequisite that the member had run a previous marathon.

This year, the sponsorship was made available for up to ten participants, regardless of whether they had run a past marathon, and was expanded to include the half marathon. Ten members signed up for the sponsorship, but several were not able to complete the event because of injuries.

“We knew there were people out there who were interested, but just haven’t done [a marathon] yet. We had to turn some people away,” said Thiery.

Master Sgt. Larry Bristow, unit training manager for the 123rd Security Forces Squadron, ran the full marathon along with Maj. Joshua Elwell and Staff Sgt. John Ostrowske. It was the second marathon for Bristow, who plans to make participation in the event a goal for all security forces personnel.

“We want to emphasize how important physical fitness is for the new generation coming in,” said Bristow. “I appreciate that the base did this. It’s a good deal all around.”

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Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard display medals earned running the Air Force full marathon and half marathon Sept. 20 in Dayton, Ohio. This is the 18th year for the event, which is held the third Saturday of September in honor of the Air Force’s birthday. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

Participants in the half marathon were Master Sgt. Michael Bradley, Master Sgt. Christopher Carder, Tech. Sgt. Aja Blair and Tech. Sgt. Scott O’Brien. Blair was training for another marathon when the opportunity came to run the Air Force half marathon.

“I have always wanted to do it and I thought this would be a good opportunity”, said Blair. “I loved how many people there were, the atmosphere was really good.”

Capt. Leslie Brooks, commander of the 123rd Communication Squadron, also ran the full marathon but was not a part of the sponsorship program, and two Airmen ran the 5K.

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