HomeNewsArticle Display

Pilot chases Olympic dreams

Capt. Daniel Castle, a 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, is passionate about running for the love of competition, reducing stress and pushing himself to do the best in everything he does. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Thornbury)

Capt. Daniel Castle, a 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, is passionate about running for the love of competition, reducing stress and pushing himself to do the best in everything he does. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Thornbury)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.)

It's early morning, the sun is bright and warm but the air is still cool. Sitting on the maroon colored track, he slides his bright-red running shoes over his foot, grabbing each lace and begins to tie a knot. After preparation, he begins his workout.

Capt. Daniel Castle, a 349th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, is one of five Airmen selected throughout the Air Force to participate in the World Class Athlete Program, which allows service members of all branches to train as their primary duty.

Castle will be spending the next year training for the 2016 Olympics 1500-meter race.

"One of my dreams that I have always had is to try and make it to an Olympic team," Castle said.

Castle graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2009 and will be heading back to train at the U.S. Olympic Complex. He will train with his former coach Juli Benson, an Academy cross country head coach and track and field assistant coach, who specializes in middle and distance runners.

During the yearlong training, Castle will be running nine to 10 times a week, an hour to an hour and a half at a time totaling 70 to 80 miles each week. Some days will consist of long runs ranging from 15-18 miles; relatively short distances, such as four to five miles at his aerobic threshold; sprinting different lengths from 200 to 400 meters; as well as weightlifting three to four times a week.

Running has been a part of Castles daily routine for several years now. Even with the hectic duty day as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, he makes sure he contributes to his goal each day. He often runs during lunch breaks or at 10 and 11 p.m., if the day doesn't flex to his schedule.

His highly competitive running career started in college. His senior year, he set the Academy record, placed 15th in the NCAA and 20th in the U.S.; however, running is more than just a friendly competition to Castle.

"Running is something I'm very passionate about, not only for the chance to compete," Castle said. "It's my conduit to decompress from all the stresses in life and I believe in being world class by pushing myself to do the best in everything that I do."

After graduating college, he didn't slow down. Within a year, he completed his master's degree and continued running 40 to 60 miles each week.

"Determination, the idea of chasing dreams and the Air Force core values have built Castle into the Airman he is today," said Staff Sgt. Shalamar Coleman, the 22nd Mission Support Group NCO in charge of group administration.

The Olympics are a year away, but in the meantime, Castle will represent the U.S. this October in South Korea at the World Military Games, a competition between the countries across the world in which service members form a team to compete against each other.

Aside from his goals as a runner, he plans to continue his Air Force career by becoming an instructor at the Academy, so he can inspire younger Airmen to chase their dreams.

"I would love to be able to teach and mentor the next generation of Air Force officers," Castle said. "(I want) to fuel the fire of living passionately."

His drive and desire to improve himself and others comes from his beliefs in the Air Force core values.

'"Excellence in all we do,' I really believe in that," Castle said. "I believe that it is the foundation to a life that is worth living, which has helped driven me to continue running; despite five deployments; many temporary duty assignments; being my best as an officer, leader and Airman. Making time to work out and run every day under the foundation of excellence is what has allowed me this chance, six years later."

Engage

Twitter
The 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 1, recently participated in Astral Knight 20, a U.S. Air Forces… https://t.co/WObBS1CVdM
Twitter
Increasing warfighter capacities The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is leading the construction of $107 million i… https://t.co/1Ff7PEW1Hl
Twitter
"Medic!" 🚑 @KunsanAirBase Airmen participated in medical evacuation training, Oct. 27, 2020. Medical personnel ar… https://t.co/iucvbtLGGB
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: #ICYMI Airmen of the @AKNationalGuard's 210th & 212th RQS rescued an injured hiker at Byron Glacier. Due to inclement wea…
Twitter
The best of the best. Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airmen participate in the 2020 Lightning Challenge at Fort… https://t.co/x31SkdJUK4
Twitter
Speaking the same language is crucial when working with our allies and partners. #ReadyAF https://t.co/S78oFS1yMF
Twitter
"Calling search and rescue" @374AirliftWing Airmen participate in a Samurai Readiness Inspection at Combined Arms… https://t.co/16NG8UuD77
Twitter
The two-week exercise is in tandem with the Polish air force near Powidz, Poland. #Partnership #ReadyAF https://t.co/oj2EPRUBSF
Twitter
.@USAF_ACC conducted an experiment known as Agile Flag 21-1 from Oct. 21-29 to test agile combat employment and a n… https://t.co/sZF2HgNUeI
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force will soon conduct focus groups with Total Force Airmen and Space Professionals abou… https://t.co/uPAlbUEYxt
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: For 50+ years, #MinutemanIII #ICBM fleet has underpinned our strategic force & played critical role in ensuring protect…
Twitter
RT @RealAFOSI: Between Oct. 20 and 21, 2020, Iranian threat actors conducted an information operations campaign by sending emails, masquera…
Twitter
Ready day or night The 8th Fighter Wing at @KunsanAirBase stands ready to conduct counter-air, air interdiction,… https://t.co/8FzXyQPwFo
Twitter
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Vice Chief of Space Operations tests positive for COVID-19 https://t.co/El9DBFkpAg
Twitter
Global reach Approximately 200 Airmen and four B-1B Lancer aircraft with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from… https://t.co/XdxCzteeGx
Twitter
Small business partnerships 🤝 @AFWERX is recommending more than 250 proposals as part of its X20D Small Business… https://t.co/vzVcj7Idfc
Twitter
Rapid strategic delivery 📦 The 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, deployed with @USAFCENT, is responsible for… https://t.co/WxSke8iXnG
Twitter
Fulfilling mission-critical requirements The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the #USAF a patent… https://t.co/wtf5K6NITn
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Looking forward to this dialogue today with Dr. Austin.
Twitter
Accelerating change Airmen from the 366th Fighter Wing and 389th Fighter Squadron participate in Agile Flag 21-1 a… https://t.co/07r8CmEgl9
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,299,100
Follow Us