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50th FSS to host annual half marathon

Runners take off from the starting line during the 13th annual half marathon at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 12, 2018. This year’s event takes place Oct. 2 and will have road guards on Enoch Road and Irwin Drive to ensure runners remain safe.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Rogers)

Runners take off from the starting line during the 13th annual half marathon at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Oct. 12, 2018. This year’s event takes place Oct. 2 and will have road guards on Enoch Road and Irwin Drive to ensure runners remain safe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The 50th Force Support Squadron will host its 15th annual half marathon at Schriever Air Force Base Oct. 2.

The 13.1-mile race, which begins and ends at the fitness center, follows Schriever’s perimeter with a detour up Enoch Road. Road guards will be available to protect runners as they cross Enoch Road and Irwin Drive.

“As of [Sept. 18], we have 22 participants, so we should be able to spread everyone out,” said Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports manager. “We’ll have water on the route every three miles and we’ll have the course patrolled in case someone has an issue [injury, dehydration, etc.].”

For new participants, Cannello said the concern is runners won’t pace themselves and become exhausted before they finish.   

“If you start too strong, you’ll really regret it around mile nine,” Cannello said. “Your goal as a first-time participant should be to finish and not worry about a specific time other than you have to finish within three hours.”

Cannello doesn’t expect the half marathon to be too difficult for participants and said runners normally finish between one and a half and two and a half hours.

Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Voorhees, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, welcomes the challenge of the event and said he’s prepared for the race.

Voorhees participates in 5K races and said he runs up to four miles nearly five times per week while wearing a 15-pound vest. Though he hasn’t run the 13.1 miles of the half marathon during his training sessions, “in quite some time,” Voorhees said the race is more of a mental challenge than physical.

“You have to push past the hurt and just keep going until you cross the finish line,” Voorhees said. “There’s adversity in running because your mind tells you to slow down or stop because you’re hurting. You have to tell your body you’re not done and keep going. That’s the mentality I come at it with.”

Voorhees said everyone has different personal challenges and obstacles that help them complete the race. Lt. Col. Gail Smicklas, Schriever Air Force Base inspector general, shared similar sentiments.

“Running helps me decompress and focus,” she said. “I love to run for exercise, but I also run to think about goals, relationships, work, etc.”

If runners wish to drop off extra clothing or gear during the race, the 50th FSS will provide aid stations every three miles where workers will collect belongings. For more information about the half marathon, contact Cannello at 567-6658 or by email at seth.cannello@us.af.mil.

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