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    Superhuman: Pushing the limits one mile at a time

    U.S. Air Force triathletes complete Armed Forces Triathlon Championship

    Photo By Airman 1st Class Eliana Raspet | U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 1st Sgt., 233rd Security Forces Squadron,...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Eliana Raspet 

    140th Wing Public Affairs

    “I went from not understanding what a 5K was to, 12 years later, being able to run a mile in under five minutes,” said U.S Air Force Master Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 1st Sgt., 233rd Security Forces Squadron.

    Throughout Johnson’s childhood, he was not involved in athletics or competitive activities. He joined the Air Force and the only running he was familiar with was the 1.5 mile run needed to complete the Air Force physical training test.

    “As an Airman 1st Class at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, I would work out in the gym and only complete push-ups and sit-ups,” said Johnson. “There, I met my current mentor who was balancing on a yoga ball, and I asked him about it. He showed me core workouts I had never seen before, and it humbled me. I asked for his help.”

    With the support and mentorship from U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Kenneth Corigliano, a member of the 844th Communications Group, Johnson is now a member of the U.S. Air Force triathlon team where he coaches and competes across the world representing the Air Force.

    A triathlon consists of three sports, all competed one after the other, said Johnson. The first sport is swimming, which mostly takes place in open bodies of water including lakes, rivers and the ocean. The second sport consists of biking, which can occur either on a road or in an off-roading environment such as mountain biking. The last of the sports is a run which, like biking, can take place on or off a road.

    The distance of these sports range depending on the type of triathlon. The longest, a full Ironman, consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and marathon run. A triathlete is proficient in all three sports and the transitions into each one.

    “I completed a race and he came up to me, talking about my performance and how to get faster in these sports and what the training is like,” said Corgliano. “He was generally curious, so I invited him out for a run.”

    The training it takes to become a triathlete is intense because it takes an immense amount of focus, dedication and time management, said Corgliano. Johnson had that dedication and wanted to push himself, and for that Corgliano supported him.

    “I found a passion for sport through the challenge that it provided and the progress that I saw,” said Johnson. “I discovered that I could find different limits and learn what my limits are. Then I could push past mental stress and put physical stress on my body to show myself how strong I am mentally.”

    In the beginning, the focus during each race was on completion, only later did it switch to trying to win.

    “First, it starts with just wanting to complete the race. You don't even realize that people are trying to beat you,” said Johnson. “You're just trying to beat yourself and your best time.”

    After racing for a while, Johnson realized that being a triathlete and pushing himself really caused him to change as a person.

    “I think we all grow as people when we do things that are uncomfortable, and pushing ourselves through workouts and learning new skills is where growth happens,” said Johnson. “I became passionate about becoming a better athlete, knowing that I would start to also become better at other aspects of my life. All of a sudden, I was able to train more at work. I was able to work longer hours, I was able to study harder, because I had this excess energy reserve thing.”

    For Corgliano, the difference between a triathlete and a non-triathlete is even more striking.

    “Triathletes are a different breed of human and people who decide to do a triathlon become better humans,” said Corgliano. “They become superhuman, in a sense, and it's why a lot of people never just try to finish it, because it's not the ‘finishing’. It's the journey that generates a new version of you.”

    Having understood the power of becoming a triathlete, both Corgliano and Johnson became coaches to support new service members into the sport.

    “I believe in them, and that they are able to accomplish more than they know,” said Johnson. “So, when I share a story about running, cycling, swimming or a race… I do it in a way that hopefully encourages them or gets them interested to ask, ‘Could I do that? Maybe I could do that.’”

    As part of his coaching, whether for triathlons or for the PT assessment, Johnson makes himself available to all those that might need him. If Johnson’s story has been an inspiration please reach him at

    “For a service member, you will grow tremendously if you're able to balance both fitness and your career,” said Corgliano. “You will be a very lethal airman.”



    Date Taken: 04.02.2023
    Date Posted: 04.05.2023 16:51
    Story ID: 441795
    Location: AURORA, CO, US 

    Web Views: 79
    Downloads: 0