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Munnis makes All Guard marathon team

Staff Sgt. James Munnis, a flight engineer for the 167th Airlift Squadron,  recently competed at the 35th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and qualified for the 2012-2013 All-Guard Marathon Team. Munnis will now travel and compete in various marathons representing the West Virginia National Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Master. Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Staff Sgt. James Munnis, a flight engineer for the 167th Airlift Squadron, recently competed at the 35th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and qualified for the 2012-2013 All-Guard Marathon Team. Munnis will now travel and compete in various marathons representing the West Virginia National Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Master. Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

Martinsburg, W.Va. -- The air was cool and filled with a steady rain as the man came around the turn. He had reached the halfway point in the race and was feeling pretty good. As he ran, he passed other runners going in the opposite direction. They had already reached the turnaround point and were on their way back to the finish line. Seeing their excited faces and hearing their words of encouragement spurred him on.
As he reached the bottom of a large hill he knew he had only six miles left until the turnaround point. He sped on with excitement, all the while thinking about the finish line. Suddenly the winds seemed to shift and the sun was freed from its cloudy prison. He was now battling the wind, the sun and the six mile hill.
"I know I can do this, I am half way there," he thought.
Staff Sgt. James Munnis, a member of the 167th Airlift Wing's Flight Engineer Section, smiled as he recalled the hardest part of the 35th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon that took place in early May. Munnis was one of the 65 National Guard members who qualified for the 2012- 2013 All Guard Marathon Team.
"This is my first time running in this marathon," said Munnis. "I don't usually run that many big, timed races. I prefer to run for fun."
Munnis said the last marathon that he had ran before the Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon was to see if he could qualify for the West Virginia Guard Marathon Team.
"About a year ago I saw an article about Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kristen Roles, who had made the team," Munnis said. "She asked me about my times and told me to run in an upcoming marathon so that I could get on the state team." I went to the race and I qualified for the state team."
Munnis knew that in order to make the national team, he would need to train hard.
"Because I do run about six days a week, I know I was in good shape; but with a marathon you can't just do it without being on a training program." Munnis said. "About three months before the race I started on a program to build up my mileage."
Munnis' training paid off and he made the team completing the 26.2 mile course in 3 hours and 14 seconds.
"The training is the hardest part," Munnis said. "You have to have something in your mind that gets you through the training. The training is when you either win the event or lose it. The event is the fun part."
Munnis said there was clearly a bond between all of the guard members who ran the race.
"The amount of encouragement given by all of the guard members was huge," Munnis said. "From the people you were running beside, to the volunteers who were running the aid stations, everybody was just extremely positive."
Adding: "I want to thank everyone in my shop, without their support, this would have been a lot harder to accomplish."