Building runners for the future
By Airman Chester Mientkiewicz, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published October 01, 2015
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The number one reason for failure in the Air Force fitness assessment is running, according to recent test results. It is also the number one reason for injuries AF-wide according to a 2013 report from the AF Medical Operations Agency.
To fix this, our Health and Wellness Center held a running clinic to help airmen train others to run faster and have fewer injuries.
I was a state qualifier in high school, won many awards and trophies, broke the tape countless times and even coached cross country for a season. Running has always been a big part of my life. So I signed up for the class.
I wasn't always the star though. I also know what it's like to lose. At my first-ever high school track meet I crossed the line with no one behind me. I understood at that moment, I was last.
I was devastated for the rest of the year. Despite my defeat, I never gave up. I became a hurdler, not because I was good, but because no one else wanted to. It was the only way to be a part of the team. I know the struggle when it comes to running, and want to help others the way others helped me.
The instructors were Lt. Col. Mark Cucuzzella and Ian Adamson. Cucuzzella is a two-time Air Force Marathon champion and has competed in the Boston Marathon 20 times. Adamson has 18 Adventure Race championship titles and three Guinness World Records.
To have a strong run time, you need to be injury free, so we were taught proper form while exercising and ways to cope with injuries. Instructors discussed proper eating habits, basic facts on today's shoes as well as training plans for gaining speed and endurance to pass the 1.5-mile run with flying colors.
The instructors helped airmen with top PT scores better understand exercise to guide those who have room for improvement. We went over stretches and pre-run exercises that minimize injuries and keep people moving forward in their training.
I've attended clinics like this before, but none have been this in-depth. I sat in awe as these running legends offered us advice to help better ourselves for the future. I can say without reservation the new instructors on our base have the tools needed to shave time off almost anyone's run.
I'd feel guilty hiding this information from airmen. It was clear; I should pass this information to others around me as a certified instructor.
The future of the running clinic looks bright. The HAWC plans on holding clinics once a month open to all airmen looking to better themselves.
With the running clinic, gym facility and the new track here, the Gunfighters have the tools needed to be the best runners they can be, pass their physical fitness test and move toward healthy living.