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    Avid Runner Goes the Distance

    Avid Runner Goes the Distance

    Photo By Senior Airman Alexis Wade | Senior Master Sgt. Richard Hartzell, Superintendent with the 179th Airlift Wing...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Alexis Wade 

    179th Airlift Wing

    Running is something all military members are familiar with, as it is a vital aspect to maintaining physical fitness. While some maintain their physical fitness by running a few miles a week, others catch the running bug, devoting hours and hours to their newfound passion.

    For Senior Master Sgt. Richard Hartzell, Superintendent of the 179th Airlift Wing Comptroller Flight, running has become a passion of his, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

    Over the past seven years, Hartzell has completed 17 marathons, two 50ks, a Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and multiple 5ks. He is currently training for his longest race yet, with a 100-mile race planned at the end of the July.

    Running has not always been a passion of his however, as it originally started as just an item to cross off his bucket list in 2012.

    He and his cousin signed up and trained together for their first marathon, and he hasn’t looked back since.

    Running like this is not for everyone, said Hartzell. You either catch the runners high and can’t get enough, or you do one marathon and never do one again.

    “For me, I caught the runners high and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Hartzell. “It makes me just want to keep chasing it.”

    Hartzell has already completely nearly 1000 miles since the beginning of the year, and plans to reach over 1000 by the end of this month, with a 100-mile race.

    It takes a lot of time and dedication for the preparation leading up to these races, said Hartzell.

    To get through the tough training days and long races, he sticks to one motto that has helped him time and time again.

    “The motto ‘the longest distance in any race is the six inches between your ears’ is something I was told awhile back and I often remind myself of it, because it’s so true,” said Hartzell. “A lot of it is in your head, if you can get past what is in your head and just continue on, the hurt goes away.”

    It is definitely tough sometimes to get training in, especially over drill weekends, said Hartzell.

    “Last drill, I got off work and ran my 30 miles, and didn’t get home until 1 a.m.,” said Hartzell. “Then I woke up for work the next day and did it all again.”

    Through his avid running and obvious dedication, Hartzell has inspired those he works with to take the steps to begin running, too.

    “For me, running the PT test used to be a long run,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Bache Jr., Comptroller flight member with the 179th Airlift Wing. “But now that I have started running with Hartzell, he has pushed and encouraged me to the point where we ran four miles together last week. That’s the farthest I’ve ever ran, and it felt good.”

    “He always offers to run with you, but he never makes you feel like he’s slowing you down,” said Staff Sgt. Melissa Wirick, Comptroller Flight member with the 179th Airlift Wing. “With him being our superintendent, he naturally takes on the coaching role and just helps you make yourself better.”

    “I push people to their limits, but know when to dial it back,” said Hartzell. “I want to help encourage others, I ran my PT test a couple of weeks ago, and then ran it again to help another member finish, and they ended up getting a personal best on their run.”

    Looking to the future, Hartzell’s long term goal is to complete a marathon in each state. On top of that though, he hopes to continue inspiring and helping those he serves with to push themselves to do more than they have ever done before.



    Date Taken: 07.05.2019
    Date Posted: 07.05.2019 13:27
    Story ID: 330365
    Location: MANSFIELD, OH, US 

    Web Views: 334
    Downloads: 0