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Keep it going one step at a time

Master Sgt. Blair Burdick, 4th Space Operations Squadron, runs the quarter-mile track early in the morning as other participants sleep in hammocks during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Participating in the challenge hit close to home for Burdick and the rest of 4 SOPS; one of their Airmen was in an accident in April. Fortunately, the family members were able to stay at a Fisher House to be with the Airman. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Master Sgt. Blair Burdick, 4th Space Operations Squadron, runs the quarter-mile track early in the morning as other participants sleep in hammocks during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Participating in the challenge hit close to home for Burdick and the rest of 4 SOPS; one of their Airmen was in an accident in April. Fortunately, the family members were able to stay at a Fisher House to be with the Airman. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Eleven teams participate in Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 18-19, 2016. The event challenged Team Schriever to complete a 24-hour run and walk relay with the hopes of raising funds for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Eleven teams participate in Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 18-19, 2016. The event challenged Team Schriever to complete a 24-hour run and walk relay with the hopes of raising funds for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Airman 1st Class Brandon Files, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, relaxes in the squadron’s tent city during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Most teams set up tent cities, while one team opted for a recreational vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Airman 1st Class Brandon Files, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, relaxes in the squadron’s tent city during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Most teams set up tent cities, while one team opted for a recreational vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Staff Sgt. Aurora Antonio, 19th Space Operations Squadron, run on the track during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The challenge raised $2,300 for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Staff Sgt. Aurora Antonio, 19th Space Operations Squadron, run on the track during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The challenge raised $2,300 for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

A participant sleeps in bed during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The individual was participating in the 24-hour run and walk relay.. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

A participant sleeps in bed during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The individual was participating in the 24-hour run and walk relay.. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Participants walk the quarter-mile running track during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The event challenged Team Schriever to complete a 24-hour run and walk relay with the hopes of raising funds for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Participants walk the quarter-mile running track during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The event challenged Team Schriever to complete a 24-hour run and walk relay with the hopes of raising funds for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Airman 1st Class Jolene Kalinay, 50th Force Support Squadron, walks the quarter-mile loop wearing a towel for warmth during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The challenge is a 24-hour run and walk relay. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Airman 1st Class Jolene Kalinay, 50th Force Support Squadron, walks the quarter-mile loop wearing a towel for warmth during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. The challenge is a 24-hour run and walk relay. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Capt. Kelcie Haner, 4th Space Operations Squadron, plays music to encourage participants in the early morning during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. All proceeds for the event went to the Rocky Mountain Fisher House, a “home away from home” for military families during a difficult time when a service member is at a hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Capt. Kelcie Haner, 4th Space Operations Squadron, plays music to encourage participants in the early morning during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. All proceeds for the event went to the Rocky Mountain Fisher House, a “home away from home” for military families during a difficult time when a service member is at a hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Some participants walk the quarter-mile loop early in the morning during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. During the 24-hour event, participants completed more than 1,700 miles around the quarter-mile lap. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

Some participants walk the quarter-mile loop early in the morning during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. During the 24-hour event, participants completed more than 1,700 miles around the quarter-mile lap. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

First Lts. Clint Swalls and Christian Figueredo, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, rest before running during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. During the event, volunteers provided food and played music to encourage teams to keep moving. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)
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First Lts. Clint Swalls and Christian Figueredo, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, rest before running during Schriever Challenge at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. During the event, volunteers provided food and played music to encourage teams to keep moving. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The moon and stars seemed too tired to show their lights; only the light poles along the running track illuminated the ground. The breezy wind coming from all directions felt like summer had left Schriever Air Force Base weeks early, and autumn is beginning to take its place.

Master Sgt. Blair Burdick didn’t mind the weather at all. It was actually perfect for him. “Thankfully, it wasn’t raining. Just a little bit of a light wind,” he said.

He started at 4:15 a.m., about 15 minutes late. The sergeant had a valid excuse—he was at a party. Before you say anything, it was the 4th Space Operations Squadron’s dining in, celebrating the 100 years of total Milstar command and control. It was a big deal so he stayed up late for the celebration.

The squadron actually decided at the last minute to put a team together. However, they deemed Schriever Challenge was worth the steps.

At exactly 3 p.m. Aug. 18, runners began their quest to fulfill the 24-hour relay of running and/or walking on a quarter-mile loop, over and over again.

“The event is geared toward raising money for the Rocky Mountain Fisher House in Denver,” said 1st Lt. Lindsay Winningham, 50th Operations Support Squadron and one of the head organizers for the event.

The non-profit organization provides a “home away from home” whenever a military member is at a hospital. Rocky Mountain is just one of the locations around the country that provides this type of service to military families. 

“They can essentially be taken care of; they don’t have to worry about anything but being there for their family member,” explained 1st Lt. Joshua Winningham, 3rd Operations Support Squadron.

This hits close to home for Team 4 SOPS. In April, one of their Airmen was injured in a motorcycle accident. Through Fisher House, the family members were able to be with the Airman.

“We have a member who is using the service, so why don’t we get out there?” Burdick said. “We put together a team and raised as much money as we can.”

Along with 4 SOPS, 10 other teams participated in the challenge; nine from the same unit, while one was a mish-mashed team. A maximum of 10 members may form a team, although some have less. Only one rule mattered: at least one person from each team has to keep it going.

And keep it going they did.

Teams set up tent cities in the fields for resting. One team opted for a recreational vehicle, while some individuals roughed it out, sleeping in hammocks tied on trees.

Volunteers served food, drinks and more to make sure participants had enough energy. Music reverberated throughout the field to encourage runners and walkers alike to keep moving.

“They have been extremely helpful. This would not have been successful without the volunteers. It takes a very special kind of person to come in at 2 a.m., stay until 6 a.m. and then go to a full duty day after that,” Lindsay said.

Even during a brief rain at approximately 2 a.m., teams were not deterred.

“We had an option to move the event inside the gym but they wanted to continue and do it outside,” Joshua said.

The steps continued.

Some were slow, others were fast. But in the end, each step had a purpose – to keep on going for a cause.

Burdick finished his 2-hour and 15-minute run with 52 laps, or 13 miles.

“It was a great event and it was for a good cause,” he said. “However, it’s painful. My calves are killing me.”

After 24 hours, Schriever Challenge completed more than 1,700 miles and raised $2,300 for the Fisher House. 

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