Marathon runner to keep decade-old promise

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 78 ABW/PA
While many will spend the weekend on the couch watching football, one Robins employee will be running 26.2 miles as a fulfillment of a promise made to a friend a decade ago.

Just six weeks after turning 50, Lt. Col. Joyce Fiedler will be participating in the New York City Marathon. She ran in the Marathon 10 years ago with her best friend, who had just turned 30. They made a promise that they would run it together again this year in celebration of major age milestones.

"I realize it's harder to stay active and healthy at my age, but by running a marathon, I hope I can inspire others to be more fitness oriented," said Fiedler, chief of medical staff in the 78th Medical Group.

Running in the NYC marathon, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, almost wasn't meant to be. With the exception of members of the New York Road Runners Club, spots in the NYC marathon are granted via a lottery system.

Fiedler did not win a spot in the race, but was determined to keep her promise to her friend. So she decided to run for Team for Kids, a charitable organization that works to combat child obesity and helps promote fitness in children by bringing fitness programs to schools. It was given spots in the race.

"I am excited to be running for such a worthy cause," said Fiedler, who has raised several thousand dollars for the organization.

This will be Fiedler's fifth marathon. She ran the NYC Marathon in 1999 and 2000, the Vancouver Marathon in 2000 and the Marine Corps Marathon in 2001.

After years as a civilian physician, she joined the Air Force in 2002, and her race participation has since been limited to 10Ks and half marathons.

She said knowing how to train has been helpful, but not having a running partner has been a challenge.

"This is the first marathon that I've trained for by myself and that has been difficult," she said. "For my previous marathons, I trained with a running partner or with a group. But knowing what to eat and what to wear was helpful."

She said not everyone wants to or is able to run marathons, but those who have the desire can look to her for motivation.

"I don't consider myself an elite athlete, so I am a living testament to people who like to run for enjoyment that it can be done," Fiedler said. "A lot of people say, 'I can't do that.' Well, the word 'can't' is not in a runner's vocabulary."