Rewarded by running

  • Published
  • By Airman Taylor Phifer
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Trying to control his breathing while his heart is pounding, blood is pumping and sweat is streaming down his face as he pushes himself to run faster and longer. Running to his limit and not stopping until he reaches his goal. He knows that he will reach it today. Telling himself that he won’t leave the gym until it’s complete, no matter how long it takes. He’s been tracking all his miles and it was finally the day Gregory Giles, a flight operation scheduler assigned to the 72d Test and Evaluation Squadron, would reach the 509-mile marker for Whiteman’s running club.

“Mr. Giles was the first to reach the 509-mile marker and has tracked a total of 1,048 miles,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Amy Tordera, the fitness program director assigned to the 509th Force Support Squadron (FSS).

Around 35 people are a part of either the 100, 250 or 509 mile club. The program started in 2016 and continued because it was such a success.

“By joining the base’s running club you’re getting involved, connecting with people and also becoming healthier overall,” said Giles.

Joining the running club is simple and anyone can become a part of it. This program brings friends and families together so they can break a sweat while they’re having fun.

“To get involved you grab a mile-tracker card from the front desk at the fitness center and just start running,” said Tordera. “In order to track miles you must record your miles in the appropriate column on the chart as well as keep track of it through your own means. For example,
most people keep track on their own running apps, and show it to us when we verify their tracker card.”

Once a member gets to a mile marker of 100, 250 or 509 they must provide the chart with the tracked miles to the fitness center. The fitness center will keep the chart on file and will provide the member with a t-shirt for reaching the mile marker. Each marker has a different t-shirt, so when someone gets to the next marker he or she earns a new t-shirt.

Along with a free t-shirt, the runner will also get their picture taken to be uploaded to the FSS Facebook page and the runner’s name will be written on the window by the front entrance of the fitness center.

The club gives people a running goal with a perk for when the goal is reached, so this gives people an extra push to get out and run more. This club not only has health benefits, but it also keeps people socially active by running with friends and helps them stay mentally sharp.

“I think it’s an incentive to run,” said Giles. “People will see your shirt, ask you where you got it and then they’ll join the club because they want one too.”

Think about the miles someone runs during a physical fitness session in the morning or how many miles someone walks at work every day. All those miles can add up and be tracked by using a pedometer,
smart watch or application on a phone. By recording those miles and
charting them, reaching the first mile marker will come in no time.

“It’s not all about the free stuff I get for reaching that mile marker though,” said Giles. “It’s more than that. Running puts me in a place of peace and I live in that moment. I think of all the people who
aren’t as lucky, those who can’t run anymore. I run for them, running is my reward.”