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Sharks competing in Air Force Marathon

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- -- A seven-member team from Patrick left Thursday to compete in the 11th Annual Air Force Marathon to be held Saturday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Four members of the team will compete in the relay, while two others will run the half marathon and another in the full marathon.

The four-member relay team will be made up of Tech. Sgt. Kelly Robles, Det. 1, 2nd Space Operations Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Corissa Pruett, 45th Security Forces Squadron; Senior Airman Austin Davis, 45th Space Communications Squadron; and Airman 1st Class Brian Munro, 45th Logistics Readiness Flight. Running in the half-marathon will be 1st Lt. Caitlin Reese, 5th Space Launch Squadron; and Staff Sgt. Kimberly Bertrand, Det. 1, 2nd SOPS. Rounding out the field and running in the full marathon will be Airman 1st Class James Devine from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

Sergeant Robles, like her relay teammate Sergeant Pruett, said she runs for the fun and the thrill of competition. She said someone once asked her what motivates her and she refers back to a five-kilometer run on the beach.

"Forty-five minutes after the first runner finished, I saw a 5-year-old girl and an 80-year-old woman cross the line together," she said. "The crowd cheered for them as much as they did for the person who crossed the line in 16 minutes. I can't begin to express the awe I feel when I see things like that."

For another member of the relay team, this will be his biggest race outside of the Patrick.

"Who could turn down an opportunity to represent Patrick in an event this big," said Airman Davis. "It was painful at first getting into running, but I've gotten past that stage. Now, it's a test of wills to push hard enough to compete."

Sergeant Pruett thought that joining the relay team would be a great advantage in terms of training. She said by working on speed drills, she was able to improve her time by over a minute and a half per mile.

"I get a sense of accomplishment from finishing a marathon," she said. "No matter what your time is, to just finish one is a great feeling of satisfaction in itself."

Sergeant Bertrand, running the half marathon, has been running five to six days a week to prepare for the race.

"This is my first marathon and I just want to see if I could do it, and see how far my body will allow me to push it," she said. "I'm only doing a half this year, but hopefully with more training, I will be able to do a full one next year."

Joining her in the half marathon will be Lieutenant Reese. She has 10 years of 5K experience behind her, but this will only be her second half marathon.

"My first (race) was last year and I won, so I'm hoping to do as well as I did at my debut and defend my title," she said. "I love to compete, and unlike team sports where you only compete against others, racing allows you to compete against yourself."

Going the distance will be Airman Devine. He's only been running seriously since January, but he's been active his whole life to include many years of martial arts.

"I only started running so I could run with my dad," he said. "My goal is to finish without stopping. To prepare for the race, I've been running a lot of miles; 500 since April." This is also the first marathon for Airman Devine.

Sergeant Robles said the team is thankful for all the help they've received from the Patrick community.