Medical group runners represent at AF Marathon

The Air Force Marathon is held annually at Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base, Ohio. This year, the marathon was held Sept. 17 and two runners from the 86th Airlift Wing were there to compete ― Capts. Elissa Ballas and Lindzi Howder.
Ballas, a physical therapist in the 86th Medical Operations Squadron, was selected as one of four women to compete on the all-Air Force team against other services.  
“I’m honored to represent the Air Force in national and international races,” Ballas said. She also said that having this event to look forward to gave her the motivation to train harder.

Ballas competed in cross country and track throughout high school and college.  She began running marathons after she graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2003 and has competed on the all-Air Force team in numerous races. Ballas is also planning on competing in her first 50 mile race in November.

Howder, a registered dietitian and nutrition program manager in the 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, is a recreational runner who found her passion for running while she was in college. She was selected to represent the U.S. Air Forces in Europe team in the MAJCOM challenge at the Air Force Marathon. 

Howder said the training for the marathon was intense, especially in the last few months.

The MAJCOM challenge is based on a point system that factors in both participation and performance in the full and half marathon events. The winning team is presented with the traveling trophy at Fall CORONA. Team USAFE hopes to beat out last year’s winners ― Air Force Reserve Command.  

Ballas and Howder enjoy sharing their running passion and expertise with anyone who is interested.

Howder teaches a monthly class at the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center, “Running for Dummies.” In the new year, the HAWC is also starting up a running group for all levels of runners.

For more details, call the HAWC at 480-4292.

Note: Staff Sgt. Micah Larsh, biomedical equipment repair technician, 86th Medical Squadron, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, also participated in the AF Marathon.

(Courtesy of the 86th Medical Group)