Sports: Two runners leave competitors in the dust
November 15, 2006
RAF MILDENHALL — Two members of the 352nd Special Operations Group recently won their divisions in the United Kingdom regional cross country meet for all runners at U.K. air bases.
Airman 1st Class Kyle Gibson, 22, of Mishawaka, Ind., completed the 5K race at the Thetford Forest track in 18 minutes, 59 seconds to win the men’s open division.
On the women’s side, Special Agent Jana Allen, 29, of Moore, Okla., took the top spot in the open category with a time of 24 minutes, 57 seconds. She is a member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations embedded within the 352nd.
Gibson’s time was the best among the 21 runners in his division, but still nearly two minutes off his best time as a high school athlete.
“I stopped running as much as I used to, and now I do more intramural sports like flag football and basketball,” Gibson said last week. “Still, I was surprised with the time.”
Gibson competed in the race last year and finished third, although he acknowledged that’s more a result of different competition than improved times.
“The two guys who beat me last year were not there,” he said. “One was deployed, and I don’t know about the other one.”
A team of runners with the best times in regional races conducted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe will compete with athletes from six air forces in Europe in a January cross country meet in Poland. Gibson would probably be among those runners, but he will have to miss the event because he has scheduled leave during that time.
However, the three-year Air Force veteran plans to return to the track to compete in the mile race in the USAFE track and field competition next year.
Allen said she normally runs about 10 to 15 miles a week, more out of enjoyment than any drive to compete.
“I’m not a competitive runner. I just do it for fun and to stay in shape,” she said.
“I enjoy signing up for road races because it keeps running interesting. It can get boring if you are running endless circles around the track.”