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Airman finds strength and self-discovery as he continues training for Air Force Marathon

Having past struggles with anxiety and the fear or trying new things, Staff Sgt. Kyle Hipol is challenging himself to run the Air Force Marathon Sept. 21. In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes since his training began in April, Hipol has realized that running has been therapeutic and has given himself a sense of self-discovery. (Courtesy photo)

Having past struggles with anxiety and the fear or trying new things, Staff Sgt. Kyle Hipol is challenging himself to run the Air Force Marathon Sept. 21. In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes since his training began in April, Hipol has realized that running has been therapeutic and has given himself a sense of self-discovery. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Kyle Hipol has been training since April to run in his first full marathon at the Air Force Marathon Sept. 21. Currently on a special duty position as a Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System support office consultant at the 711th Human Performance Wing, Hipol said he committed to making time to run and has made that his primary focus during off duty hours. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Kyle Hipol has been training since April to run in his first full marathon at the Air Force Marathon Sept. 21. Currently on a special duty position as a Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System support office consultant at the 711th Human Performance Wing, Hipol said he committed to making time to run and has made that his primary focus during off duty hours. (Courtesy photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – With less than two months to go, as Staff Sgt. Kyle Hipol continues to train for his first marathon at the Air Force Marathon on Sept. 21, he is discovering that he is becoming not only stronger physically but also mentally.  

Since his training began in April, Hipol’s initial concerns were finding the time to commit to training along with what mental and physical toll it would take.

Still driven to meet the challenge and maintaining his positive attitude, he has got his eye on the finish line.      

“Every day I am feeling stronger both physically and mentally,” said Hipol. “I have learned a ton about myself and I am far more determined than I thought I would be.”  

Now into the tail end of his training program created by runner and author Hal Higdon, Hipol has incorporated speed training, added longer distance runs, and core strength training. He has also cut out all sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks completely. Hipol is vegan and will be completing the marathon on a fully plant-based diet.  

Currently on a special duty position as a Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System support office consultant at the 711th Human Performance Wing, Hipol said he is committed to making time to run and has made that his primary focus during off duty hours. In addition, he has been dedicated to getting enough sleep, eating well and staying hydrated.

He also made sure he invested in the proper footwear.

“I purchased a new pair of shoes and almost instantly, I’m running faster, further and recovering quicker,” said Hipol. “I was always cheap on shoes, but not anymore.”

Having past struggles with anxiety and the fear or trying new things, on top of making healthy lifestyle changes, Hipol has also realized that running has been therapeutic and it has given him a sense of self-discovery.

“I have learned a ton about myself,” said Hipol. “I started more “purist” running with no headphones and taking several hours a week to be mostly alone with my thoughts. I’ve learned I am far more determined than I thought I was. When it’s hot and humid and I’m hurting, it’s easy to quit eight miles into a 10-mile run. But I don’t, and I didn’t know I had the drive to do that.”

Hipol said he has been astounded by the support he receives from friends and family as he prepares for the marathon. Some have been so supportive to the point they have also taken up running and living a more active lifestyle.

When asked if he had any training tips for other first time marathoners, Hipol said don’t try to do this alone.

“If this is your first marathon, I highly recommend going on group runs or sign up for local races to meet other runners, said Hipol. “Also, you can get connected with local running groups like Team RWB Dayton, go to local running stores such as Runners Plus, or you can even look me up on Facebook. I’m always game for a run.”

Since training, Hipol has ran four half-marathons and more than 150 miles and continues to tack on more miles as he trains.

“Having a community of people who inspire me, and who I can inspire is really motivating,” said Hipol. Running has shown me a whole world of new experiences, qualities about my character and most of all, I have met some amazing new friends.”

The 2019 Air Force Marathon is presented by Northrop Grumman, USAA and Boeing and is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. The Sports & Fitness expo is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, and Friday, Sept. 20. The Breakfast of Champions is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20, from 8 to 10 a.m. and the Gourmet Pasta Dinner is scheduled for Friday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. For more information about the Air Force Marathon go to www.usafmarathon.com.

*This is the second of a series of articles that will publish on Hipol’s progress leading up to the AF Marathon.