Columbus Airmen work as team to finish Air Force Marathon
By Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 20, 2017
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Several service members and their families from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, participated in the Air Force Marathon Sept. 16 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
A group of pilots from the 14th Operations Group, a ROTC instructor from the University of Mississippi, and the Assistant Chief of Health and Safety for Fire Emergency Services at Columbus AFB completed the marathon in under five hours at varying times.
In the cold Ohio morning, the group warmed up to prevent injuries, and also stayed hydrated and positive.
“I want to finish and have a good time, at this point I’m hoping I did everything to prepare I could,” said Maj. Robert Young, 43rd Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot.
Young attempted and conquered his first marathon at the 2017 Air Force Marathon but running with him that day was an avid distance runner, 1st Lt. Ricardo Torres, 41st Flying Training Squadron Executive Officer.
“We're looking for a good pace and hoping for a negative split, when you run the second half faster than the first,” Torres said. “But ultimately I'm just here to help everyone finish the race and cheer them on at the finish.”
Pre-race events included the national anthem followed by an F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang flying over the starting area. Both of the aircraft were included on the medals the athletes would receive after finishing the race.
The marathon led the athletes from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, through neighboring towns inside and out of the base, past many hangars on Wright-Paterson AFB, and running back next to the museum and turning toward the finish line.
Coming around the last corners of the marathon the athletes looked determined to reach the finish line as hundreds of spectators cheered for every runner.
“I'm happy that everyone finished, for everyone to have this goal and to accomplish it, that was my goal,” Torres said. “I didn't have a specific time in mind, i just wanted to see everyone achieve their goal.”
One of the participants was Lt. Col. Derek Oakley, 41st Flying Training Squadron Commander, who has ran multiple marathons and finished this one with Young.
“Expectation wise, I wanted everyone to finish,” Oakley said. “Young did a good job at keeping calm and slow, he pushed all the way through the middle. In fact most of us fell off, with him pulling us through, which shows that he did great consistent training.”
With any challenge there are hurdles; Airmen grow with every challenge they face and can learn from these experiences.
“Anything that forces you out of your comfort zone and gets you to do something you wouldn't normally do and for a lot of these guys it’s the first time they've ever done this,” Oakley said. “We do that all the time in our jobs and careers, this is just another kind of challenge. I'm proud of the work everyone put in to get themselves here.”
Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Tolliver, 14th Medical Group Superintendent, ran the half-marathon and 1st Lt. Benjamin Zaiser, 41st FTS pilot, ran the 10K. Times of all athletes are listed below.
Marathon race times:
Capt. John Vandervoort - 4:24:08
1st Lt. Ricardo Torres - 4:26:51
Assistant Chief H&S Officer William O’Meara - 4:26:49
Lt. Col. Derek Oakley - 4:35:43
Maj. Robert Young - 4:33:20
Capt. Colagero San Filippo - 4:47:00
Capt. Megan San Filippo - 4:47:00
Half-Marathon race time:
Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Tolliver - 3:35:19
10 kilometer race time:
1st Lt. Benjamin Zaiser- 1:06:48