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NEWS | Oct. 29, 2010

Triathlete captures 2nd base run

By Patrick Desmond 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

An Ironman once again outpaced the competitive field during Lackland's half marathon Oct. 23.

Charlie Rey, 342nd Training Squadron, can now add the annual 13.1-mile race to his other athletic achievements, including competing in Ironmans Brazil and Lake Placid.

Rey won the second annual Gateway Half Marathon in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 47 seconds, placing ahead of 108 other half marathon runners.

"Really, cycling is my thing," he said. "I decided to try this last night."

The pararescue student said he was inspired by the recent special tactics Airmen's 860-mile ruck march, honoring fallen comrades.

"I know a lot of injured veterans," Rey said. "It drives you to dig a little deeper. There's no better cause to dedicate this to."

Triathlete James Bales won the inaugural half marathon in 2009.

Amy Swiatecki-McCabe was the top female finisher in the half marathon, crossing the finish line in 1:45.38.

Swiatecki-McCabe used the 13.1-mile run as a warm-up for the Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon Nov. 14.

"It was a great opportunity," she said. "The course is really nice and I got to see a lot of Lackland."

Second overall in the half marathon, running instructor Timothy Pitt is proof teachers learn from their students, too, and that the running improvement program works.

While one of his students ran in the 5K, the instructor completed his run in 1:37.17, saying it helps to run with a crowd.

Said Pitt, "It's one thing to run on your own. But when you're with a group, you push yourself a little faster."

The Defense Language Institute English Language Center put their money on the right athlete in the 10K.

Sponsored runner and Colombian Eleazar Santos won the event in 46:04 during his first race in the United States.

In particular, the DLI student said the cross walk and bridge at Truemper Street - obstacles for most competitors on the day - were an advantage

"I just kept pushing over the bridges," he said. "I like to exercise my legs."

The 10K's top female finisher knows how to put the hammer down as well.

Having included many sprint workouts preparing for the same event at the Air Force Marathon, Angela Studer pushed out the fastest time for the women.

Studer said she "likes this event because it's smaller," and that, especially, if you run a lot, "you can really sprint over those bridges" in the otherwise flat course.

Three hundred Airmen from Air Force Basic Military Training and technical training participated in the 5K, though not for recorded times.

Trainee Andrew Loman was the first across the 5K finish line. Between deep breathes, he verbalized his gratitude for the opportunity.

"It's been a while," he said. "I enjoyed getting out of the dorm and seeing Lackland."

Known for his speed and endurance on the soccer field, Warhawks striker Miguel Amaya was the first runner to record a time during the 5K run. Starting out ahead of the pack, he was later overtaken by Loman.

"He just caught up to me," the Airman from the 59th Training Squadron said, while adding,"I like to see fellow runners. I love doing road races."

Julie Klauck finished second overall and first for the women in the 5K with a time of 24:29.

Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis, 502nd Air Base Wing command chief, and his honorary commander, Tim Salier, director of sales for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, handed out awards and Spurs tickets to the winners, and medals as runners crossed the finish line.

Chief Lewis said he wanted to support the races, not only because it legitimizes running and physical fitness on base, but encourages "it as a way of life."

The trainees, mostly running to the cadence of military training instructors, once again left their mark on the annual event's 5K.

Military Training Instructor Raven Mirabeau, 323rd Training Squadron, led his troop in jodies while running at an elevated pace.

"They're all in shape," MTI Mirabeau said about being able to pump out the quick pace while singing.

In addition to adding atmosphere to the event, Mirabeau said, the jodies are a token, passed down through the Armed Forces long and storied history.

But, the three-mile run wasn't enough for the soon-to-be Airmen. Troops began knocking out sets of push-ups as runners finished the last 100-meter dash.

Operating the event's chip timing system, Michael Kaplan said seeing the trainees in action really goes a long way of saying "something about the reputation of the Air Force" and its fitness program.