Promoting fitness through healthy competition
By Capt. Sherri Pierce, JFHQ/PA
/ Published November 02, 2010
Pease Air National Guard Base -- The air was crisp and the sun shone brightly the morning of Oct. 17 when runners, volunteers and supporters gathered at Pease Air National Guard Base for the 2nd Annual Pease Relay Race.
Senior Master Sgt. Mike Davis, 157th Air Refueling Wing Fitness Monitor and race committee chairperson, came up with the idea for a Wing relay in the summer of 2009 while on his way to a road race.
"I thought about the enthusiasm that these races generate," he said. "And knowing the Air Force was going in the direction of a fitness test based on running, I thought it would be great if we could have some type of event that would encourage running but also some squadron competition."
Davis references the July 1 changes to the Air Force fitness test which require more members to complete the 1.5 mile run which is 60 percent of the test. In years past, the aerobic portion made up only 50 percent of the test with the option of doing a two-minute step test.
Each team included seven or eight runners from various squadrons on base. Some teams were also supplemented by family members or friends who wanted to join in the competition. The approximately 28-mile course was broken down into eight legs ranging from 2 to 4.4 miles to accommodate "all levels of runners" according to Davis.
"The idea for the course was based around starting and finishing on base, touching the wildlife refuge, taking advantage of the foliage in beautiful Newington and running across the General Sullivan Bridge," Davis said.
During the inaugural race in 2009 only nine teams and approximately 70 people participated. Between runners, volunteers and supporters nearly 250 people attended this year's event.
"I'm pleased to see the level of participation...and I'm more excited seeing a large group of members and families come out on their own time and enjoy such an event," said Davis.
This year's winner was the 133rd Air Refueling Squadron team finishing in 3 hours and 23 minutes and 22 seconds
"If you are a runner and missed it, you missed a great event," said Davis. "If you aren't a runner, start working at it and get ready for next year's race."