Whiteman runners to participate in AF Marathon
By Senior Airman Jovan Banks, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 24, 2018
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Runners from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri will have an opportunity to participate in this year’s official Air Force marathon scheduled to take place in September at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The Air Force Marathon, running strong for 20 years, challenges racers to a 26.6-mile course featuring historical Air Force landmarks along the way. Runners can participate in a wheelchair, 5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon events. The race offers an experience for athletes at all levels from all over the world.
This year, Master Sgt. Teresa Chavez, a security manager assigned to the 509th Maintenance Group, Capt. Ecklebe, a pilot assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron and Senior Airman Demarcus Greene, a low-observable aircraft structural maintenance journeyman assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron, all look to make their mark on the run and challenge their personal bests.
The runners were individually selected to represent Team Whiteman, based on their past performances.
“I had to run fast,” Chavez said jokingly. “I had to go through the process of a formal application via Air Force portal, which required you to submit a history of your run times.”
All the runners have their own personal motivation for wanting to participate in the run, for Chavez and Ecklebe the idea of joining the team came from the aspiration of completing a goal.
“I had completed a few half marathons and really aspired to run the official Air Force Marathon while still on active duty,” said Chavez.
"The Air Force Marathon has always been on to my bucket list of marathons to do,” said Ecklebe.
Despite the runner’s personal reasons for wanting to participate, the most important part is that it is a team run and working together is something that will push them all forward.
“Being part of a team is a major motivation; to contribute to the success of the team, but also challenging myself to get a better time than last time,” said Chavez.
“It makes me feel like a true athlete,” said Greene. “Being with a group of people all passionate about running and coming together to accomplish a goal gets me excited.”
Training is an important process in the days leading up to the event and could be the determining factor in the outcome of which team will finish first.
“I train every day in some fashion,” said Greene. “I usually run four to five times a week with one or two days focusing on dynamic stretching through yoga.”
“My mileage starts at about 40 miles per week and will work up to about 70 miles per week by the end of the training plan,” said Ecklebe.
It takes more than just exercise to be ready when the time comes and to get through such a long run, according to the runners.
“Preparation is important but fitness only takes you so far,” said Chavez. “It is the mental toughness that gets you through the last few miles.”
“The beauty of long distance training is that you are indeed training your mind along with your body every time you complete a run,” said Greene.
The runners’ hard work and training earned them the opportunity to compete, and they look forward to returning to Whiteman as winners.
“I am honored and feel very privileged to have this opportunity,” said Chavez. “I hope to contribute what I can to get AFGSC a ‘W’.”