KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
On September 18, 2021, over 10,000 runners representing all 50 states and multiple foreign countries will participate in the 25th annual Air Force Marathon. Among them will be two Team Kingsley members, Capt. Kristine Raudy, 173rd Medical Group, and 1st Lt. Jared Boyer, 173rd Fighter Wing.
Raudy and Boyer will be representing the Air National Guard as part of an intra-Air Force Marathon competition pitting 10 members from each Major Command, as well as the Space Force, against each other. Called Challenge Teams, members of these teams will complete either the full or half-marathon, and results are calculated into a final score. Team ANG won first place in 2019 and second place in 2018.
Boyer, who works full-time in the 173rd Comptroller Flight, applied to be a member of the ANG team after prompting from 173rd Fighter Wing Command Chief, Dominic Ingle.
“My first reaction was no, there are younger, faster runners than me,” said Boyer. “I actually passed the opportunity to other Kingsley runners that I thought could do it.”
After considering the application process a chance to learn what’s expected of a Challenge Team competitor – and assuming he wouldn’t be chosen – he decided to apply. “I believe the most learning comes from trying and failing, so I thought, why not?”
Boyer received a shock in July when he was notified that he’d been selected as a team alternate runner. Less than a week later he got a second surprise – a half-marathon runner on the team had been injured and Boyer needed to fill the slot.
Boyer said his first thought about going from a team alternate to a team runner was to offer the position to the other team alternates. “If one of them was younger and faster, I thought they should be the runner,” he said. “I thought about it more, and then I thought about what my daughters would think of me doing this, and my dad. And I also thought, don’t cap myself – don’t fall into thinking that age 40 should look like this; so I decided I’m going to do this and do my best for my family.”
For many at Kingsley Field, Boyer is a familiar face at the gym or on the trail. His name is synonymous with activities such as the Run Doctor clinics, the Oregon National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition, Kingsley’s Health Education Awareness Team (HEAT), and the newly-installed base fitness trail.
“I come from a family of nurses and doctors – we’re all into helping people,” he said. “When I started running I had eight years of pain and suffering trying to figure it out, so I want to help others be better runners without going through what I did.” Programs like the HEAT, and bringing the Run Doctor to coach runners to embrace better form, allow Boyer’s helpfulness to shine.
When a second runner on the ANG team was injured and a female alternate wasn’t available, Boyer helped fill the last-minute slot by recommending another avid Team Kingsley runner to the team. Raudy found out she’d be running the half-marathon less than five weeks before the race.
Raudy, a full-time physician’s assistant in Bend, Oregon, was ready for the challenge. She competed on the elite All-Guard Marathon Team for over a decade before moving from the Alaska Air National Guard to attend college in Washington State, and then joining the Oregon Air National Guard.
When asked to join the Challenge Team, Raudy said, “Absolutely – I’d love to run.” She explains that, “I like to be physically ready at all times. I’ve seen how stressful it is for people to be de-conditioned. When you’re ready, the PT test is nothing.”
With just a few more weeks than Raudy to prepare, Boyer said his daily regimen involves waking up by 4 a.m. and having his shoes on and laced by 5 a.m. He focuses on core strengthening, and mixes longer runs with more high-intensity workouts. Boyer also involves his daughters in evening circuit training, which allows him to stay close to his family even when taking time to prepare for competition.
Raudy also describes her children as a huge motivating factor behind her will to run and compete. “I want to be an example for my kids,” she said. “Don’t shy away from a little challenge. The easy road is boring and doesn’t provide opportunity. The mantra I live by is, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’”
Raudy explained that balancing both civilian and military careers with a family and training to run long distances at the same time are all challenging. “I want to show my kids that you will have bad days, but you can push on. We all have set-backs but those that persevere get ahead.” Raudy said she ran with a stroller when her children were little, and now that her children are older, her son is a faster runner than she is.
Boyer defines running as a mix of humility and pride – while the environment may throw harsh curveballs in the way of extreme heat, cold, or altitudes, understanding what the mind and body are capable of becomes the ultimate self-discovery journey. When a run gets tough, he’s able to treat it like a chess match and be in the moment, he says. “I think about my form. I think about the temperature, and hills. I think about having to leap over a skunk in the trail, or watching horses follow me down the trail. I think about when I need to hydrate and when my next food intake is.”
Reminding himself that there’s a difference between muscle taxation pain and injury pain helps him, too. “I have a good friend going through cancer right now. The pain from running is nothing compared to that.”
For Raudy, running became the best, most practical way to stay fit when she was focusing on being a single-mom and completing physician’s assistant school at the same time. “All you need is a pair of $70 shoes and you’re good to go,” she said.
Raudy explained that running doesn’t take a huge financial investment like most other sports, and it doesn’t require the time to drive to a gym to do it. “If you’re low on money or time, you can still run. It’s an hour a day to prevent the stress of not being ready,” she said.
With September 18th fast approaching, both Boyer and Raudy are focused on outcomes of the race. For Boyer, this experience is completely new. “I wanted to say no to doing this, in the beginning. But there’s something for me to learn here. Ultimately I hope someone else will say yes to trying something new,” said Boyer.
“I’m hoping Team ANG comes in like a wrecking ball and we take state,” laughed veteran-competitor Raudy. “We’re typically a decade older in the ANG than our active duty counterparts, but that extra experience counts for something.”
The race was originally scheduled to take place at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; however, due to current health protection conditions as a result of COVID-19, the race will be conducted virtually and Boyer and Raudy will compete from afar.