Airman unites Schriever through running

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(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Chris Blake)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Certain circumstances in life cause you to change your pace, and sometimes your entire route.

For 2nd Lt. Andrew Johnson, student with the 50th Operations Support Squadron, he had to run at a different pace after he was injured playing lacrosse in college at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

“I had to get away from the agile, cutting type of sports,” he said. “That got me into triathlons because I was swimming and biking a lot in rehab. Running just became a part of that.”

After speaking with other lieutenants in his squadron who also enjoy running, they decided to start a club where anyone on base could join.

“The process was a lot easier than I would’ve guessed,” he said. “We’re training for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon at the end of the summer, so we thought it’d be fun to get other people on base involved.”

After speaking with Johnson about running, 2nd Lt. Albaro Pillco, student with the 50th OSS, decided to join the club.

“Johnson is really passionate about fitness and motivated me to do the same,” he added.

Through the club, Pillco hopes to run marathons and participate in an Ironman Triathlon by the end of the year.

“The best part about running is running with good music, preferably on an empty road or trail, and pushing my body to new heights,” he said. “Johnson and 2nd Lt. Matthew Triplett with the 50th OSS, are putting a program together and I’m excited to start running with other running enthusiasts.”

Johnson emphasized the club is not meant to be too serious.

“It’s not some boot camp, run you to the ground kind of thing,” he said. “There are a few of us that are more serious about running, but I think it’s better with people. I just want people to get better at their run times.”

Johnson hopes through the club, members will branch out to other groups on base.

In addition to just running, Johnson is going to set up a pace list.

“If someone is nervous about their physical fitness assessment run time, they can contact someone at the running club and find a pace that works for them,” he said.

The club will meet twice a week, on and off base.

Additionally, Johnson is going to set up a group training schedule so club members will be able to train outside of the group runs.

“That will bring in the cross-training stuff,” he said. “If people want to swim or do yoga, they can implement that into their training.”

Johnson also hopes to incorporate off base events, like 5-kilometer races.

“Participating in events like these, we can represent Schriever in a positive way,” he added. “I want the club to be fun. I want people to get out there and have the mental image of ‘I can do this.’”

Although people enjoy running alone, Johnson wants to change their mindset, and encourage them to run with a group.

“I know people like to run on their own to clear their heads, but I also think the payoff of running with a friend is just as good,” he said. “No matter how you cut it, I think running can be very therapeutic.”

For more information about the running club, contact Johnson at andrew.johnson.128@us.af.mil.