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AFSPC clinches MAJCOM Challenge victory


Veronica Leddy, operations engineering chief with the 50th Civil Engineering Squadron, and Nick Ruiz, executive officer for the 50th Mission Support Group, show off their Air Force Space Command running attire before the Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 15, 2018. Leddy finished the half marathon with a time of 1:43:40, and Ruiz finished with a time of 1:25:36, with Air Force Space Command placing first among twelve teams in the Major Command Challenge. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)


U.S. Air Force Space Command finished first among twelve teams representing the Major Command during the 2018 Air Force Marathon, Sept. 15 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.


Veronica Leddy, former operations engineering chief with the 50th Civil Engineering Squadron, finished the half marathon with a time of 1:43:40, and said the experience was great.


“It’s so cool there is an opportunity to represent where you work to do something I love to do and be surrounded by other people doing the same thing from a similar military background,” she said. “Everyone I met was really nice and I had a lot of fun.”


Although Leddy did not run as fast as she hoped, she was satisfied with the experience.


“I would definitely love a chance to come back and do better,” she laughed. “I think I went out a little too hard given the heat and humidity that day, so the hardest part for me was the entire second half of the race and convincing myself to keep running and not to walk.”


Leddy said the most rewarding part of the marathon was finishing.


“My parents flew out to watch me so it was really cool to finish and have them there,” she said. “My dad said he hopes to come again next year and run the 10K with my sisters, so hopefully I can get the opportunity to represent my MAJCOM again next year.”


Nick Ruiz, executive officer for the 50th Mission Support Group, agreed with Leddy in that the most rewarding part of the race was finishing.


“I spent a lot of time training and mentally preparing for this event, so to cross the finish line was a huge accomplishment and felt incredible,” he said.


Ruiz finished the half marathon with a time of 1:25:36, and said the well-planned event was morale-boosting, and running around thousands of other competitors was energizing.


“It was an experience I'd definitely like to do again,” he added.


Immediately after the race, Leddy PCS’d to Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, and felt the race was a unique way to say farewell to AFSPC.


“My husband is a KC-135 pilot so we finally got our joint spouse approved,” she said. “With him being a pilot, Schriever will probably be my last assignment in AFSPC. The experience of the MAJCOM Challenge will just be another great memory to have when I think about my two years in AFSPC, and to top it off, our team won the MAJCOM Challenge.”


Ruiz said he raced strong until the eleventh mile, the black flag conditions altering his pace.


“It was brutal with high humidity,” he said. “The sun came out to say hello and really tested my conditioning. The last mile was the hardest because you could see the crowd and the finish line and in your head it's so easy to be there, but I still had to push my body through.”


Ruiz was honored to be a part of the AFSPC team, and was proud to represent the MAJCOM.


“It's one thing to enter a race under your own name and do your best, but representing the MAJCOM and my teammates puts more worth into the race,” he said. “It makes me push myself more when I'm representing my team and my command.”


Both Leddy and Ruiz encourage any Airmen thinking about racing to commit.


“It was a really fun atmosphere and I really encourage anyone who is thinking about running a half marathon or full marathon to apply for the MAJCOM team next year,” Leddy said.

Ruiz echoed Leddy’s encouragement to compete.

“I encourage other competitors on the fence to apply for this MAJCOM Challenge since it’s a great experience. It’s also a fun trip to the Midwest representing your command,” Ruiz said.

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