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NEWS | Oct. 13, 2011

Randolph runners achieve success at 15th annual Air Force Marathon

By Alex Salinas 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

Five Randolph sponsored by the 902nd Force Support Squadron runners attended the 15th annual Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 17.

There were 13,000 runners from all 50 states and 12 countries shattering last year's overall participation and previous record of 12,000 runners.

The Air Force Marathon events consist of a full marathon, a half marathon, 10-kilometer run, 5-kilometer run and wheelchair race.

This year, registration closed in June, which was the earliest it had ever sold out, a sign of remarkable anticipation and participation.

Alfred Pena Jr., Air Education and Training Command capabilities and integration information technology strategic planner, was the lone runner of the Randolph five who ran in the full marathon, which required him to run for 26 miles and 385 yards.

Of the 770 active-duty members who ran the full marathon, Pena Jr. clocked in at 77th place with a time of 3:32:14.

"My goal was to finish with a time of 3:45:00, so I was very pleased," Pena Jr. said. "The weather was perfect for running. The first few miles were a little hilly, but it was a nice moderate course overall."

While Pena Jr. flourished in the competitive aspect of his race, Yasheda Lyons, Air Force Recruiting Service program management operations NCO in charge, shed some sweat for another reason.

"I run to keep myself in shape and perform well on the physical training test," Lyons said. "Running in the Air Force Marathon was a goal I wanted to achieve. I knew I wouldn't set a record or be the fastest runner, but it's a great feeling coming across the finish line and receiving a medal. I now know how Olympic runners feel."

The Air Force Marathon brought out runners like Lyons who share a passion for exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but more importantly for those who set goals and achieve them.

The remaining three runners, Joshua Cates, F-15E electronics weapons assignment officer, David Fain, AETC Fire and Emergency Services functional manager, and Debbie Landry, Air Force Personnel Center Airman Assignments Division chief, did just that when they crossed the finish line in the half marathon.

"My goal was to be under the 1:40:00 mark in the half marathon and I ran my personal best of 1:36:00, and finished 15th out of 283 runners in my age group," Fain said.
Cates shared a similar experience.

"I did quite a bit better than I expected to," he said. "I think the cool temperature and low humidity helped me. I certainly enjoyed the weekend and it was a great race, and it was a lot of fun to run with people from all over the Air Force."

Landry, who was within five minutes of her personal goal, was pleased with her final results.

"I was able to break two hours and finish in 1:55:55," she said. "According to the results, I finished 245th of 2,541 women, and 33rd of 296 in my age category."

All five runners recognized the efforts of Rikk Pradro, 902nd Force Support Squadron sports manager and the Rambler Fitness Center staff for helping them represent Randolph at Wright-Patterson AFB.

In sum, Fain described the nature of this year's record-breaking marathon event, the hard work each of the five 902nd FSS-sponsored five put into their race and their privilege of representing the Air Force and their base as "a tremendous success."