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Airmen running for a cause

Staff Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez, left, an instructor loadmaster with the 58th Airlift Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bart Bolin, bioenvironmental engineering technician with 97th Medical Operations Squadron, stand together at Wings of Freedom Park, Aug. 25, 2014. Gutierrez and Bolin plan to run in the Air Force Marathon Sept. 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Clark)

Staff Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez, left, an instructor loadmaster with the 58th Airlift Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bart Bolin, bioenvironmental engineering technician with 97th Medical Operations Squadron, stand together at Wings of Freedom Park, Aug. 25, 2014. Gutierrez and Bolin plan to run in the Air Force Marathon Sept. 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nathan Clark)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Every Airman must run one-and-a-half miles on at least an annual basis, but some dare to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks and run a full marathon.

Two Altus Airmen have set their aim on achieving this goal, but also want to raise $4,000 for the Air Force Enlisted Village, a non-profit organization that benefits widows and mothers of Air Force members.

For two months, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez, an instructor loadmaster with the 58th Airlift Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bart Bolin, a bioenvironmental engineering technician with the 97th Medical Operations Squadron, have been training for the 26.2 mile run, and now have less than a month until the Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Gutierrez started running eight years ago at Altus while he was in tech school, he said. Since then, he's run several half-marathons and always wanted to do a marathon.

"It's tough. I've gotten over the physical and mental part of training. It's the finding the time to do it," said Gutierrez. Between his work as an instructor, a flying schedule, time with his family and two college courses, running eight to ten miles a day can be difficult.

Gutierrez is not alone when it comes to the difficulties of conditioning for such a long run.

Bolin said he has always been a runner, but the training is still brutal. His first 13.5 mile run left his legs and knees sore.

Despite the difficulties of training, Bolin has been looking forward to a marathon to check off his bucket list, he said. "It's for a good cause, so that makes it even better."

"I usually run five to eight miles in the mornings on weekdays," Bolin said. "By the time I'm done, I'm refreshed and ready for work."

For Gutierrez, the training has been a family affair, he said. When he ran in the evening, he would push his 6-year-old daughter in a jogger. "My wife would come with us too, when we ran at the reservoir. She's been very supportive."

Gutierrez also stresses the importance of the Air Force Enlisted Village to his daughter, he said. "If something were to happen to me, my daughter will know that the Air Force will be there to help out."

The Air Force Enlisted Village is a non-profit organization benefiting widows and mothers of Air Force members in need, said Gutierrez. He believes it is a great cause and hopes to not only raise money for the organization, but to make it better known.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker is the President and CEO of the Air Force Enlisted Village, and was stationed at Altus AFB from 1957 to 1964 as a life support specialist and an air operations specialist. To Gutierrez it makes the tie between the retirement community and the base even stronger.

"It'll be nice to go represent Altus; show him we can get together for this good cause," said Gutierrez. "It's a team effort. We've had a lot of support from our leadership and those that have donated."

Bolin and Gutierrez hope to raise $4,000 for the Air Force Enlisted Village, and have already raised $1,600 toward their goal.

Gutierrez and Bolin say the money is going to a worthy cause and are very appreciative to have the opportunity to help.

"Giving money is great, but with this I feel like I'm giving money and time," said Bolin.

"Even if every Airman on base donated just one dollar we'd blow our goal out of the water," said Gutierrez. The money raised will benefit Air Force Enlisted Village, but it will show the support the organization and its residents have from Altus AFB and the Air Force as a whole.

 

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