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Chief's challenge motivates Airman to run in marathon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andria J. Allmond
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
During a temporary duty assignment to Robins AFB, Ga., I met "that" guy who makes everyone else look as physically fit as Jabba-the-Hut on a stair-climber.

Over the next few months, a challenge made by this seasoned athlete would reinvent my views on challenging myself, overcoming obstacles and instilling me with a renewed sense of pride.

Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Koenig, who is now with the 367th Training Support Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, drank his electrolyte-laden-liquids, spent lunch at the gym instead of the food table and talked about training tips instead of office gossip. This guy was "fit to fight."

Now, I on the other hand was not as fit.

My workouts consisted of a few miles on the treadmill, as long as it didn't ruin my eye make-up. At lunch, I was a regular in the fried-food line of the D-Fac. Also, coming from a family of freakishly-skinny people, running really far without being chased seemed highly unnecessary.

That all ended with a simple challenge from the fit freedom-fighter.

"You're going to run the Air Force Marathon, Airman Allmond."

"Uh, I guess so chief. Yeah, why not?"

From that point, there was no turning back. I had accepted the challenge and over the next couple of months I trained.

Pride kept me running when I wanted to give up. It was the sense of pride that filled every step I took. Pride was my mantra against the roadblocks life threw in my path to the finish line.

Like many people, I am tired after working an 8-to-10-hour day. The last thing I felt like doing was going for an 8-mile run. This was especially true in Georgia's summertime humidity and down the wind-tunneled side-streets of my hometown of Philadelphia.

But instead of concentrating on my fatigue or other difficulties, I put on my shoes and ran. After a while, the things that seemed so demanding turned out not to be.

I wasn't as tired as I'd thought I would be. Georgia was hot, but the sweat and the challenge of it were invigorating. In Philly, running into unrelenting wind made me stronger.

However, when I returned from my TDY and regained all of my family responsibilities, finding time to train was tricky. At first, I wasn't sure how I was going to make dinner after work, help my daughter with her homework, clean up after my family, get myself ready for work the next day and still train.

I found a way to do it. Sometimes this meant preparing dinners the night before, teaching my daughter how to find homework-help on the Internet, getting up at 5 a.m. to run before work and calling on my family to help out a little more around the house. Still, I ran.

After crossing the finish line of the half-marathon at the Air Force Marathon on Sept. 20 in Wright Patterson, Ohio, I knew it was pride that made my accomplishment possible. And, all of this stemmed from accepting a challenge and then figuring out how to accomplish it.

"So, how did you do, Airman Allmond?" the chief asked.

"I did good chief, but next year I'm gonna win my age group," I said.

Now, I guess I'd better get back to running. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)