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Running because she wants to

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Mark Lazane
  • 1st Special Operations Public Affairs Office
2nd Lt. Jessica Tullson, 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, is no stranger to running. She has been running recreationally since high school as a way to stay in shape.

At the end of last year, she heard about the half marathon being held at the Aderholt Fitness Center.

"It sounded like fun," she said. "I planned on training for it, but in the end, I only trained a little bit."

The lack of thorough training did not stop her from competing in the race however. Lieutenant Tullson finished in approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in her first true long distance attempt.

Some people may be content with that time and that distance.

Not her.

Instead, Lieutenant Tullson has spent the last seven months running 25-30 miles a week either on base or around her off-base home. She runs for a variety of reasons, but her main focus is on completing the 2009 Air Force Marathon held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio with a time under 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Lieutenant Tullson does not want to be alone in her quest, either.

"It would be great to have a big group from Hurlburt running in the marathon," Lt. Tullson said. "The more people I have running with me, the better. It should be a good time."

She has started an informal running club for those who want to train for the marathon but do not want to run alone.

She will be at the Aderholt Fitness Center ready to run every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6 a.m. Anyone is invited, but she asks that they let her know they'll be there so she doesn't waste a trip.

According to the Air Force Marathon's Web site, a prestigious traveling trophy will be presented at the annual CORONA conference to the commander of the major command that best represents itself.

The trophy winner will be decided based on a points system that factors both the number of participants and the individual performances in the full and half marathon event.

To encourage maximum participation in the event, the Air Force allows military members who are registered for the event to receive permissive temporary duty status from their supervisors.

In addition, Air Force Special Operations Command has set aside some money to help offset some of the costs incurred by the runners.

Though training can be laborious at times, Lieutenant Tullson seems to find joy in the preparation.

"I may not always be doing marathon-specific workouts, but I'm still working out," she said. "It's fun for me, and it's a great way to get into shape for the physical fitness test."

For those interested, it's not too late to sign up and be prepared, as long as they act quickly, according to Lieutenant Tullson.

"Running a marathon doesn't require any special skills," she said. "You don't have to be fast or a particularly good runner or anything. As long as you take the time to prepare, it'll feel great crossing the finish line no matter what your time is."

For Lieutenant Tullson, running has become more than just a thing to do or a mode by which she can prepare to pass the PT test.

"I like running because it gives me time to think about what I need to do that day, or to release stress from a long day," Lt. Tullson said. "I also like food. So I run to support my eating habit."

For more information on the marathon training program, contact the Aderholt Fitness Center.