Friday, September 18, 2015

39th SFS defender, grandfather accomplish AF marathon together

by Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

9/18/2015 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey  -- Tradition is a large part of military heritage, but it is also a large part of what makes a family. To keep her family's tradition alive one senior airman from Incirlik Air Base is taking the words 'family tradition' to a higher level by traveling more than 5,500 miles home.

In May 2015, Senior Airman Mary Tarasiewicz, 39th Security Forces Squadron unit deployment manager, was notified that she would be competing in the 2015 Air Force Marathon as part of the Air Force Enlisted Village Team.

"It's definitely an honor to be selected for the team," Tarasiewicz said. "I've done marathons before, but this year it's different because I'm not just running for myself."

Along with her team, the young Airman will also be running the 26.2-mile run alongside her 74-year-old grandfather, Don Tarasiewicz, who has run the Air Force marathon since its inception. This is the fourth consecutive year they will run the marathon together.

Tarasiewicz said her real motivation to compete is her grandfather.

"I literally do it because my grandfather is doing it," Tarasiewicz said. "He's 74, so I give him that extra motivation so he can keep going. Additionally, it's something I get to look forward to and train to do with him."

A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, located approximately an hour from the home of the Air Force Marathon, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the 39th SFS Airman said she practically grew up watching her grandfather compete in the race.

"My grandfather has run every marathon since the beginning," she said. "There is a small group that competes each year that have been here since the beginning, so I want to make sure he makes it."

On top of her commitment to the Air Force Enlisted Village, which requires participants to raise $500 for the organization, and her grandfather, Tarasiewicz said she also wanted to beat her goal of completing the marathon in less than four hours.

To accomplish her goal, she maintains a rigid training schedule that matches that of her grandfathers. As part of the training schedule, which begins with a 10-mile long run and builds up to 20 miles, the runner also participates in short distance road runs and indoor cardio.

With no plans to quit running the marathon in the near future, Tarasiewicz said that as long as her grandfather competes she will be out on the trail alongside him whether as a service member or civilian.

"I plan to join the guard soon, but I will always run with him," she said. "My grandfather always says, 'run for the health it,' which is why I will always do the race with him. The marathon also gives us a goal together."

In the near future Tarasiewicz will travel to her hometown, meet her grandfather and make the hour-long journey to the start line of the 2015 Air Force Marathon, which is scheduled for Sept. 19 this year.

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