Stepping up

  • Published
  • By Airman Jack Sanders
  • 3rd Wing Public Affairs
The air seems thick and everything on the sidelines begins to blur as the race proctors voice, seemingly muffled and distant, shouts "Go!"

The runners' bodies thrust forward, wind whipping past their faces.

"I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards," said Alberto Salazar, a runner.

At the end of the raceway the crowd, which had disappeared after the first mile, is gathered cheering as the runner comes around the bend. Looking up he sees the faces of all the fans cheering and yelling for him as he finishes the home stretch with all he has.

When the race is over and all the cheering ends, the runner has peace with himself as he knows he gave the race his all. "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift," said runner Steve Prefontaine.

"Knowing what I run for and who I run for, that's one of the big things," said Matthew Klundt, 3rd Security Forces Squadron. Klundt is a runner, who's placed in and won several races in Anchorage, Alaska.

Hundreds of people are getting up and taking their place at the starting lines around the world. They all have different reasons, and they all come from different origins. However, they all take their stand at the line. The race isn't what matters sometimes. It could be a professional race, an amateur race, or even some kids racing from street light to street light.

Klundt, who has been in the Air Force for nearly three years, said that he began distance running again when he deployed to Korea this past February. He ran at least six miles a day to start.

It isn't uncommon for military members to work on their physique while deployed. "One of the other guys I deployed with and (I) pretty much ran every day," said Klundt.

With the extra running he did overseas, Klundt decided to take up racing again.
Most runners, like Klundt, start running at an early age out of enjoyment.

"For me, one of the things I like about it is it's a very good stress reliever," he said. "So whenever I'm mad or upset, that's my release. I just go out and run."

Klundt's determination has led him to win several of the last races he participated in. Like all runners, Klundt can return home with a feeling of pride at a job well done, because they stepped up to the line.