Virginia Air Guardsman competes in Air Force Marathon MAJCOM Challenge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Johnisa B. Roberts
  • 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The distance for a half-marathon run is 13.1 miles. According to many running sources, if a person can run three miles, they can also train for and successfully complete a half-marathon. This is especially true for Maj. Sharon Ehasz, 192nd Fighter Wing Equal Opportunity director.

Ehasz competed in the U.S. Air Force Marathon as a member of the Air National Guard "MAJCOM challenge team" on September 18, 2015 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Ehasz was one of two females to run as part of the half-marathon team. In total, the team was comprised of 10 members - six running the half-marathon and four running the full.

"When people ask me why I run, I tell them I run because it is not only fun, but I am able," said Ehasz. "There are many who can't run, but wish they could; I don't take my ability to run for granted."

The ANG team competed against 11 other Major Command teams as part of the MAJCOM challenge. The competition included teams from Air Combat Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force District of Washington, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Force Mobility Command, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Mobility Command, Pacific Air Forces Command, and United States Air Forces in Europe.

The MAJCOM challenge awards a prestigious traveling trophy to the commander from the victorious MAJCOM. The trophy is awarded based on a point system that factors in both participation and performance in the full and half marathon events, according to the Air Force Marathon website. Each team members' time from the full and half-marathon is averaged together, and the team with the lowest combined time is the winner.

Individually, Ehasz finished third in the half-marathon for her age group, while the ANG team placed second overall in the MAJCOM challenge behind ACC with a time differential of only 5 minutes, 32 seconds. This placement was a tremendous improvement for the ANG team since they placed last in 2013, and eighth in 2014.

"As a whole, the race was slower this year due to weather when comparing past results to this year's results," said Ehasz. "Many of us on the team did not make our time goals because of the weather, but when put into perspective, we did really well!"

In addition to Ehasz's third place finish, several other members of the ANG team received age group placements and one took an overall placement, according to Ehasz. These team members received the following awards: Airman 1st Class Annelise Rowe, 124th Force Support Squadron, received 1st place overall military female (half-marathon); Tech. Sgt. Travis Kallay, 128th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, received 1st place age group male 35-39 (half-marathon); Staff Sgt. James Munnis III, 167th Airlift Squadron, received 1st place age group male 50-54 (marathon); Col. Christan Stewart, Kentucky ANG Joint Force Headquarters, received 2nd place age group male 45-49 (marathon); Airman 1st Class Franz Konczak, 149th Force Support Squadron, received 2nd place age group male 25-29 (half-marathon); and Maj. Laura Johnson, 150th Financial Management, received 2nd place age group female 35-39 (marathon).

"I define a runner as someone who runs, regardless of pace or distance, as part of their life and routine, whether it be for fitness, fun, or sanity," said Ehasz. "Everybody has a talent and running is one that someone can use to push and better themselves and others."

The Air Force Marathon is held every year and features a full marathon, half-marathon, 10K, and 5K races. It is a USA Track and Field certified course, and both military and civilian personnel participate in the races. The event serves a number of charities including the Air Force Enlisted Village, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Team USO, Dayton Children's Hospital, Research Down Syndrome, and several more.

"For anyone interested in running in a large race, my advice is to go for it; there are people at these events from every walk of life and level of fitness," said Ehasz. "Everyone has a unique story bringing them to the race, and no two have been the same...the key is that whatever their reason, they show up to the starting line."