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Commentary: Keep running for America

Do you believe that running marathons can help defeat terrorism?

Do you believe that running marathons can help the Air Force defeat terrorism?

The Air Force has the richest concentration of runners across the board than most employers in the nation, maybe the world. The total Air Force active duty, Reserve Command, and Air National Guard’s 500,000-plus service members all run 1.5 miles for their physical fitness tests. Still, we also have within that a subculture of marathoners who run for charities and personal goals. Or maybe we are “crazy,” like some tell us on the flightline.

It’s not hard to imagine why so many Airmen fighting our battles choose to push their bodies through one of the most grueling and testing sports.

Airmen seek excellence in all they do. That’s one of our Core Values. In this case, that would be running. If you are one of them, you know that significant running events like the Air Force Marathon have as many personal stories of challenge and triumph as there are entries, and we share our stories, too, of that battle, of those miles of pain and endurance. Isn’t that battling an enemy?

At this point, you more than likely figured that this is leaning toward the tragic events in Boston on Patriot’s Day and how Airmen have a significant role in the community by protecting the nation from criminals who plant bombs that kill innocent children.

As a four-time marathoner, I venture to say that any service member who has run a public race has already done a lifetime’s worth in the community for the nation’s common good. It’s those who hate that want us all to hide in a corner, yet we still fight, this time, in America’s neighborhoods and streets, with thousands of everyday race participants, in events across the nation, every weekend.

We can’t help it. As Airmen, we love overcoming such adversity wherever it dares to make a cowardly stance.

But maybe we should wear our race shirts with a little more pride now like we wear our battle uniforms. This time, it’s our turn to thank those we protect for fighting that battle with us. They run next to us. In marathons always, we now share a combat zone.

This time we see the finish line and know exactly how far it’s ahead: 26.2 miles.

Be a model. Keep running for America.

By Eartheditor

Hello. I am a prior U.S. Navy sailor and photojournalist serving on active duty with the National Guard – combined, for more than 22 years. This blog features my more memorable stories and photos from that news pile as well as creative writing. All images and stories are by me unless otherwise credited. I hope to backlog more as well as write new stories. Thank you so much.
- Mike R. Smith

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