Off to a running start: 445th Airman, family run in AF Marathon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shen-Chia McHone
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Running may seem like just another fitness requirement for Airmen who are taking their physical fitness test. But for those who have remained faithful, striding through their struggles, they know what it feels like to savor the taste of sweet victory for the finish line.

Fifteen years ago, Col. Linda Stokes-Crowe, 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander, thought the concept of running for leisure was a crazy idea. Thanks to the Air Force fitness program, Stokes-Crowe participated with her family in the Air Force Marathon 5K and 10K courses.

"I have never been a runner or very athletic, but when I took command of my squadron, I wanted to demonstrate the importance of fitness to others and show them you never know what you are capable of doing until you try," said Stokes-Crowe. "As a leader, how can we ask others to do what we can't do ourselves?"

As a mother of four, Stokes-Crowe asked her own children, as well as her squadron, to run the race with her. Approaching 60-years-old, the colonel said she's in the best shape of her life and feels running has helped to extend her longevity.

"I truly believe running is something you can do no matter the age and when we focus on small increments of achievement, our positive outlook becomes the reality we are hoping to obtain," said the colonel. "I'm glad that I can be a leading example to people who saw me struggle in the beginning with my run and to look where I am today."

Stokes-Crowe says there are long-term benefits to running for those who make appropriate changes in lifestyle and the PT test is not just about passing the test. She said the PT test is much like a marathon, something you prepare for and work at all the time.

"I feel such as runner's high and I was amazed I was able to do so well, getting an excellent score on my PT test last year," Stokes-Crowe said.

It took much effort and discipline for the commander, training consistently and building up endurance for the long miles she had to conquer.

"The beauty of the marathon is that everyone gets that finish line experience. People with strollers and walkers, young and old -- we all get a medal at the end. And to the folks in my squadron and family, I appreciate the fellowship and fun we had in doing this, it's an activity we continue to have fun with -- and I love it," she said.