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When the Rubber Meets the Road

Capt Mary Young poses for a photo

It took Capt. Mary Young, Inspector General chief of operations inspections, one run with a friend to begin the journey of overcoming some bumps in the road. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyler Placie)

Capt Mary Young poses for a photo with her medals from marathons

Capt. Mary Young, Inspector General chief of operations inspections, competes in marathons, in part, to strengthen her resiliency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyler Placie)

Capt Mary Young poses for a photo with her medals from marathons

Capt. Mary Young, Inspector General chief of operations inspections, uses a positive mental attitude and mental discipline to overcome life's challenges while competing in and completing marathons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tyler Placie)

Scary. Too much. Impossible. These are all words that might describe times in the life of an Airman.

Those same words could also come to mind when discussing running marathons.

Capt. Mary Young, Inspector General chief of operations inspections, uses a positive mental attitude and mental discipline to overcome life’s challenges and while competing in and completing marathons.

“If you’ve ever attempted a marathon, then you know there’s some truth to the saying that running is 90% mental,” said Young.

The mental part of training and completing a marathon has had a significant impact on Young’s career in the Air Force and in life.

“During my first years of college, I experienced some bumps in the road,” she said. “One evening, a friend I worked with suggested we go out running a couple miles to talk.”

Young went on that run.

“I found an extraordinary amount of healing in just that one run,” she recalled. “My friend and I continued to run together for several months, and the strength I found in running farther and farther distances inspired me to look forward and set my goals high.”

She met her goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon three years later, only two years after giving birth to her son.

“Running showed me I am capable of anything I set my mind to, has taught me to stand tall after failure, and has helped me grow as an athlete and as a person,” said Young.

Capt. Young’s journey started as one run with a friend.

Many Airmen also face bumps in the road, and while these roadblocks may not be a literal marathon, it may still feel like it’s going to last forever.

Young believes that the lessons she’s learned where the rubber meets the road can easily be leveraged to the struggles in daily life.

When she was asked how she views the parallels between dealing with struggles in life and a marathon, she said, “Don’t ever give up! If you hit a rough patch, strategize to get through it; force yourself to stay positive and just keep trying.”