News: JBER runners to compete in Air Force Marathon
Story by Christina McCann
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Sometimes, big decisions in life are just made on a whim. Such was the case for Air Force Staff Sgt. Marian McLaughlin, who was recently chosen to be one of two representatives from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson at the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
“After my second son was born, I started running a little bit,” said McLaughlin, a pharmacy technician with the 673d Medical Support Squadron. “I did a 5K fun run, and thought ‘that wasn’t so bad.’ Then a friend talked me into doing a marathon about two years ago … I was hooked.”
Recently, she completed the Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage and improved by 40 minutes over her last marathon. She hopes to continue the improvement at the Air Force Marathon Sept. 17.
Tech. Sgt. Jose Garza, a low-observable technician with the 477th Fighter Group, was a racewalker as a teenager. He started running in the military, and in 1998 ran his first marathon. Now he does about three a year, he said. Last year he participated in the Air Force Marathon and took 10th place overall – and he wants to be in the top five this time.
“Last year I had fallen off a mountain bike, so I was a couple of months behind in training. I want to knock down my time from last year.”
Garza said he and McLaughlin have a bit of an advantage, living in Alaska.
“We have advantages, as far as terrain,” he said. “I love mountain running. I go up Arctic Valley and run, and go hiking. Mountains help a lot too.”
Both airmen run outside summer and winter.
“I have about a four-mile limit inside,” said McLaughlin. “I hate it …I’d rather just put on [snow cleats] and layer up and go.” A native of Madison, Wis., she said she’s used to cold weather.
Being selected as one of four representatives of Pacific Air Forces was a surprise, McLaughlin said. She submitted paperwork, but hadn’t received a response. After the Mayor’s Marathon, she decided to just take it easy and not train too hard – and then was notified.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “There are only four people from PACAF, so it’s huge, and really exciting.”