ST Airman finishes first at AF Marathon

  • Published
  • By Capt. Neil Samson
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

In the same manner Pheidippides ran 40 kilometers from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce Greek victory over Persia, another warrior performed a similar act of physical might centuries later. 

In a first-ever win, 14-year AF Veteran Master Sgt. Juanjose Moran, 26th Special Tactics Squadron flight chief, recently crossed the Air Force Marathon’s 26.2 mile finish line in 2:37 as the first overall active duty military finisher. 

“I have always been an athlete, and I have been running all my life,” said the combat controller from the Midwest. 

Trailing the overall winner, Steve Chu, by a mere nine minutes, he was inspired to run his second marathon after his first one did not go as planned.  That was 10 years ago. 

“I had the opportunity to run the marathon this year, and I convinced myself to participate,” said Moran.  “So I signed up and began training using a regimen I instilled on myself.” 

While the rigorous demands of his career field already require general physical fitness, through squadron physical training sessions twice-a-week, he consistently ran long distances each week, two of those days were run at marathon goal pace.   

Moran says he never took a day off, even when he wanted to, due to the physical demands of being a combat controller. 

Combat controllers are special tactics Airmen who embed with special forces teams, such as Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, to provide close air support and establish airfields in a combat environment.  Over the course of 2 1/2 years, these Airmen are put to the test through rigorous physical and mental challenges, including combat survival, airborne, parachute and diving training.      

“Two days a week, our unit takes part in squadron PT that consists of heavy circuit training involving different calisthenics and weight-based exercises not limited to running,” said Moran. “Even though running maintains my fitness, I find that working other muscle groups improves my running.”  

Moran also says diet enhances running performance, but his key is to eat regularly and indulge in moderation. 

As Moran reflects on his elite performance, he imparts his advice for those wishing to run a marathon to simply just to get out the door. 

“Don’t think too much about it,” says Moran.  “Try to enjoy running and slow down.  It is important to have modest goals as a beginning runner and to slowly add more distance as the miles begin to accumulate under your feet.” 

The 2014 Air Force Marathon set another record sell-out year with over 15,000 participants.  Participants included those running in the marathon, a rim wheelchair division, half-marathon, and a 10K run.