Air Commandos achieve 360 degree wellness, represent AFSOC during AF Marathon

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE N.M. --

When civilians become Airmen they are required to cultivate and maintain a specific set of characteristics: mental fortitude, physical strength, spiritual wellness, and a healthy social life. For some Air Commandos at the 27th Special Operations Wing, those charges are accomplished through one simple act – running.

Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Allen, 27th SOW Inspector General superintendent, Tech. Sgt. Ming Ni, 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron Fleet Management and Analysis, and three additional members of Team Cannon are taking their passion for distance running to the largest stage the Air Force has to offer.

“This will by my first time participating in the Air Force Marathon,” said Allen. “I’ve always enjoyed running, but became a more consistent runner once I joined the Air Force 20 years ago. I’ve wanted to compete in the Air Force Marathon since I saw coworkers shadowing the event during my last deployment.”

According to the organization’s website, the Air Force Marathon was first held in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Air Force. Since then, the marathon has grown into a 15,000-participant event attracting runners from diverse walks of life.

“Before enlisting in the Air Force I had never run more than 1.5 miles,” Ni, a four-time Air Force Marathon participant said. “Once I got more comfortable with running, I started running more often and for longer distances.”

More than just a means to passing their physical training test each year, both Allen and Ni have come to depend on distance running for stress relief and enjoyment.

“I enjoy running because not only does it have great physical fitness benefits, it gives me time to work through any problems or situations going on,” Allen said. “It’s relaxing.”

Ni believes for him, the benefits of running are multifaceted.

“For me, running helps with just about everything,” the technical sergeant said. “It makes me a stronger person physically, mentally and even spiritually. When I go for a run, either for speed or distance, I have to push myself to finish, increasing my mental strength. It also allows my mind to focus on the blessings in my life, and by the time I’m done I’ve burned hundreds of calories.”

When they’re not killing calories on Cannon’s jogging trails, Allen and Ni are helping to provide the United States with specialized airpower, capable across the spectrum of conflict.

“As the superintendent of the wing IG Office, I oversee the planning and execution of wing, unit, and by law inspections as well as the complaints division,” Allen said. “We are able to offer an objective look at units and help ensure our Air Commandos are operating at their best.”

Within his unit, Ni has become something of a Renaissance man, never knowing what might come his way on any given day, but equipped to handle each scenario with calm competence.

“My job is to ensure the base has a safe and serviceable vehicle fleet to carry out missions,” Ni said. “Airplanes would not be taking off without fuel; the base would not be patrolled without law enforcement sedans; facilities and roads would not be maintained without maintenance trucks. It gives me and my teammates immense pride just to wear the uniform.”

With the mission well at hand, Allen and Ni have chosen to make their passion for distance running a priority, not just a pastime.

“I’ve found as with anything you find important, you have to make the time for it,” Allen said. “You will never ‘find’ the time. I’m either running first thing in the morning or getting it in during the evening. You have to find the motivation.”

Ni echoed the senior master sergeant’s sentiments.

“It’s simple,” he said. “If you love doing something, you will always find the time for it.”

For more information on the Air Force Marathon, taking place at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, Ohio Sept. 17, click here.