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Running for Ron

Pam Stapleton is kind enough to share her running story with the Air Force Marathon and our readers. Here is her story and why she runs for Ron.

I’ve been doing the USAF 5k since 2014 and there are two things that I always put on my race bib – #werunforron and W8VZM. 2016 is my 3rd Air Force Marathon 5K.
After my boyfriend, Ron Bowman, celebrated his 50th birthday in 2012, he wanted to start running again to get in shape and he set his sights on running the USAF half marathon. He knew he was more than a bit out of shape and spent the next few months on appointments with different doctors to get a complete physical. Much to his delight, all the doctors gave him the okay to start an exercise program and gave their blessing to train for his goal. His ultimate goal was to run the USAF half marathon on September 20, 2014 . . . and with the help of a trainer at our local gym, he devised a training program to reach that goal. I’m not a runner and had no desire to do a half marathon but I figured I could sign up for the 5k as a way to motivate him to train and reach his goal.
We had a competition to see who could sign up the fastest for the events when registration opened on January 1, 2014. He was more excited than I had seen him in a long time . . .
Sadly . . . Ron was killed in a car accident on his way to work on January 20, 2014.
My oldest nephew, Brian Burk, took up the challenge of training for a half marathon and we had Ron’s bib transferred to him so Brian could run the race in Ron’s honor.
Getting off the couch and training for the 5k got me through some very dark days following Ron’s death. Our two dogs, Rocky and Millie, were always happy to “drag” me around the block as part of my training program. After a few months, I realized that while I still didn’t enjoy running I was pretty good at “walking really fast” . . . and I was starting to look forward to the USAF 5k. While I was training for the 5k, I lost 15 pounds, dropped my cholesterol to the lowest level it’s been in years, and have managed to avoid taking some medications my doctor was recommending for my blood pressure and a low potassium count. In a roundabout way, I guess I benefited from Ron’s desire to get healthy by running . . . so I run to honor Ron’s memory and to honor his commitment to getting healthy.

My two sisters, their husbands, my nieces and nephews all joined me for the 5k and it’s now an annual family event to honor the man that we love and lost way too soon. Ron was a Ham Radio Operator and W8VZM was his “call sign”. So I put that on my race bib every time in memory of him.
We run for Ron.