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Total Force takes on Air Force Marathon

A portion of the 17 member marathon team pose for a group shot before a training run for the Air Force Marathon at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont. Aug. 15, 2016. The 20th annual AF Marathon will be located in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby/Released)

A portion of the 17 member marathon team pose for a group shot before a training run for the Air Force Marathon at the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Mont. Aug. 15, 2016. The 20th annual AF Marathon will be located in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby/Released)

Montana Air National Guard members train for the Air Force Marathon Aug. 15, 2016, in Great Falls, Mont. by putting their shoes to the pavement. The 20th annual AF Marathon will be located in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby/Released)

Montana Air National Guard members train for the Air Force Marathon Aug. 15, 2016, in Great Falls, Mont. by putting their shoes to the pavement. The 20th annual AF Marathon will be located in Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 17. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Staff Sgt. Lindsey Soulsby/Released)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Training has begun for 17 runners in preparation for the 20th annual Air Force Marathon scheduled September 17 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Maj. Michael Loy, 120th Airlift Wing maintenance group operations officer and marathon troop commander, collected a team representing the total force to include members from the 120th AW; Joint Force Headquarters, Helena; 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB and the Army National Guard.

While participating individually, Loy is creating a team mentality with group running opportunities.

"I communicate with them and set up days where we can run," Loy said. " The USAF Marathon page has different running plans. Everybody that wasn't training for a marathon found a plan and is actively working."

The team is comprised of a variety of ranks with first-time and veteran marathoners.

"I run four days during the week and on the weekend I'll do a 10-mile run," said Senior Airman Kristan Hall, 341st MW emergency management technician. "I run about 40 miles a week."

According to the AF Marathon website the marathon was first held in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Air Force. It has since grown into a 15,000 participant event, with runners from all fifty states and many foreign countries.

Montana will be in attendance thanks to the transportation of the 120th AW C-130 Hercules to Columbus, Ohio, where the flight crew will complete a mission and the runners will personally find their way to Dayton for the race.

"Honestly the goal for the team is to have an outstanding experience finishing the race, be a leader in fitness and embrace the total force," Loy said.

The next military marathon is the Marine Corps marathon scheduled for Oct. 2 in Arlington, Virginia.
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