HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
Editor's note: The following article is the first of a four-part series about four Hurlburt Field Air Commandos who have earned a spot on the Air Force Special Operations Command Marathon team participating in the 20th Annual Air Force Marathon Sept. 17.
The Air Force Marathon is a run held the third Saturday in September each year at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. With more than 15,500 marathon enthusiasts slated to participate in this year’s 20th iteration of the event, each runner has a story of their own of what has led them to this point.
For Nathaniel Kjos, running was his way of strengthening the relationship with his father and preparing himself to join the Air Force, which has led him to a spot in this year’s full marathon.
“For me, running was a way for me to connect more with my dad when I was younger,” Nathaniel said. “As I grew up, I started to enjoy running more and more, that’s how we connected.”
The son of Robert and Tammy Kjos, of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, chose to take the oath of enlistment in 2013, as his parents had before him.
“As I decided I wanted to join the Air Force, I realized I needed to up my game,” he said. “I started to run more before I joined.”
Now a Senior Airman, Nathaniel is a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 11th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron here.
“I knew Nathan would be successful with whatever he wanted to do,” Robert said. “I’m glad he chose to serve his country and do something bigger than himself.”
Along the way through his career, Nathaniel learned about an annual event that caught his eye, the Air Force Marathon.
“A couple years back, I found out the Air Force hosts an event like this,” he said.” I wanted to make it my goal to do this one day.”
His goal is scheduled to become reality at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 17, when he begins the 26.2 mile run that traverses historical places on Wright-Patterson, including the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the Air Force Institute of Technology.
The five-foot-nine-inch sprinter is preparing to participate in this year’s full marathon by performing the needed long-distance running and weight training. The combination of the two helps him maintain his muscle strength while also building his endurance and increasing his speed to compete in events like the one he has been waiting for, the Air Force Marathon.
“He has gotten a lot better as a distance runner over the last two years,” Robert said. “What he’s showing is, when you stick to something and persevere, you can reach those goals you set for yourself.”
Today, Nathaniel is one of four Airmen representing Hurlburt Field as part of the Air Force Special Operations Command’s 10-man marathon team that is scheduled to participate in the event.
“My goal is to finish within the top 15 percent of my age group, maybe 20 percent overall,” Nathaniel said. “I did a little bit of background research of the previous marathons of the final times and those are some mighty fine times.”
Why the Air Force Marathon one may ask?
“I enjoy serving in the Air Force and also really enjoy running, so I might as well put two-and-two together,” he said.