445th ASTS Airmen run in NYC Marathon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angela Jackson
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Every year on the first Sunday in November, runners from all over the world gather to run in the New York City Marathon. Since its inception in 1970, the NYC Marathon has attracted premiere athletes, professional and recreational runners. Over 50,000 runners finished this year’s race Nov. 5, 2023, including three Airmen from the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron: Maj. Nancy Costa, Capt. Daniel Shields, and Capt. Megan Busellato.

Starting in Staten Island, the 26.2-mile course spanned the five boroughs of New York and extended through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, before ending in Manhattan at the famous Central Park finish line.

Although Costa, 445th ASTS medical service flight officer in-charge, grew up in Long Island, this was the first time she had ever run through the city.

“I remember asking my mother if I could run around the block when I was 6 years old. I grew up with New York City as my backyard, so to be running in the city was nostalgic for me yet I experienced it in a different way.”

Costa received a scholarship and ran competitively for the University of New England, but today she runs for her love of nature and the joy it brings. Costa has run over 60 marathons and prefers to do so alone.

“Whatever the weather, I’m out running in it. Some of the most peaceful runs are in the dead of winter. There’s light snow on the ground, the air is crisp, and the earth is still. Those are my favorite runs.”

For Shields, 445th ASTS flight surgeon, running is a family affair. He has run several races with his father and brother. The NYC marathon was the second one the three have run together.

“My dad was a runner and I thought it was normal for him to go for three-hour runs on weekend mornings,” Shields said. “When I was young and started running, I couldn’t even run a half mile lap around the neighborhood, but with persistence I was able to do a two-mile run without stopping.”

To date, Shields has run 14 marathons and credits his father and brother as major influences but concern for his health catapulted him into marathon training.

“When I turned 18, I remember walking up a flight of stairs and feeling out of breath,” Shield said. “I knew I had to do something to improve my health. I thought training for a marathon would be a good marker of being physically fit. So, at 19, I ran my first marathon in Columbus, Ohio.”

Costa and Shields make it a point to run every day. In fact, Shields is on a 1,910 day running streak.

“I will find a way to run even if it’s just running laps around a room,” said Shields, who confessed he had done at Officer Training School. “My roommate probably thought I was crazy.”

Since they started running, Costa and Shields have run over 2,050 marathon miles (the distance from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio to Las Vegas). They both agree there’s a certain level of pride that comes from finishing a long race.

“Marathon running requires preparation, dedication, and the drive to do your best,” said Costa. “It feels good to accomplish something that you know is hard. It’s going into it knowing it will be uncomfortable, but you don’t back down. You have to be committed and consistently push yourself to do better and look toward the next challenge.”

Both Costa and Shields are doing just that. Costa’s next race will be a 100 miler this summer, and Shields hopes to be selected for the Berlin Marathon this year, and plan to run the Tokyo Marathon in 2025.