Wright-Patt running group gains followers

Airmen, civilians, family members prep for Air Force Marathon

A group of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel gather at a path on Skeel Avenue to run every Monday at 4 p.m.

The route is 1.1 miles each way and participants are encouraged to run as much as they would like.

The group formed around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 with only a few people who just enjoyed running. It has since evolved into a much larger group encompassing military and civilians alike who run both competitively and casually.

“We have people who come out and run 6 miles and some come out and walk, it just varies,” said William Neitzke, the 88th Air Base Wing’s Safety Office director.

Although running can be a difficult task for some, having a group of people with you can help make this a consistent, healthy habit.

“It’s always easier to run with a group of people because it gives you a bit of accountability, when you know people are going to be here and remind each other and push each other,” Neitzke said. “You know, folks say, ‘I wouldn’t have done this on this cold day if you guys hadn’t been here,’ and that’s important, having folks to help you with that.”

Many of the runners often compete in distance races, including the annual Air Force Marathon at WPAFB, making the group very knowledgeable.

“Being in this group, there is so much wisdom and knowledge, and it’s nice to have these people who are willing to share their experiences free of charge,” said Senior Airman Michael Mannozzi, a Religious Affairs specialist at the 88 ABW Chaplain’s Office.

The running group is open to everyone, and it meets on Mondays, excluding holidays and Air Force Materiel Command Family Days. Runners meet up in the parking lot on Skeel Avenue across from the Prairie Trace golf course clubhouse.

There is a portable restroom available on site and the parking lot is available for use.

As an Airman, I participated in the run myself June 27. The group was very welcoming and excited to have another person join the group. I ended up running more than six miles that day, thanks to them.

Having other people running by my side, talking with me and pushing me to keep going felt much better than when I used to run alone. It makes me want to come back next time to do even better.

I felt pretty sore the next morning but the feeling of accomplishment, being part of the group and the excellent night’s sleep made it totally worth it.

On behalf of the run group, we hope to see you out there next time — and don’t forget to bring some water!

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