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Colonel's training and dedication pay off

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sean Martin
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Coming down the last half mile stretch and seeing the finish line, she was singing loudly and dancing along. She had a great burst of energy knowing she had just completed a 50-mile marathon.

This runner is Col. Jill Higgins, Air Force Global Strike Command chief, personnel division, who has competed in more than 10 marathons throughout her life.

"I have competed in various marathons across the U.S., to include the Air Force and Marine Corps, Bataan Death March and the Iron Horse Ultra Marathon," said Higgins. "I also completed a 50-mile marathon to celebrate my 50th birthday."

Higgins credits her friend for being the reason she got into running.

"In 1999, a friend of mine asked me to help her at the Marine Corps Marathon," said Higgins. "While at the 10-mile marker with supplies for her, I was watching all the runners. The folks in the front of the pack looked like typical runners, but the ones in the middle didn't. I saw a nun who looked about 70 years old running in her habit, a guy with only one leg, a more than 200 pound woman and 300 pound man and thought to myself, if they can do it, so can I."

Higgins has a workout routine that prepares her for the long distances, since marathons take a lot of training and dedication.

"I typically train five days a week with short runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, medium runs on Wednesdays and Sundays and a long run on Sunday," said Higgins. "For anything more than 10 miles, I use a walk/run tempo with 10 minutes of running and two minutes of walking."

Training, although important, is only a small piece of what is needed to complete a marathon.

"Whenever I sign up for a marathon, I tell everyone I know that I am running one so they help hold me accountable," said Higgins. "Sign up for one, commit to it, tell everyone you know and just run your own race. The fact that you are out there and moving is what's important, not how fast you're going."

Although Higgins is not the fastest runner out there, she gives it her all and doesn't quit until she crosses the finish line.

"If you have the determination and drive, a marathon is something anyone can do," she said.