RAF MILDENHALL, England --
Airmen learn quite a bit during their eight-week basic
military training. They learn attention to detail, basic combat skills and more,
but, overall – discipline.
In 2009, as trainee Benjamin Glenn participated in mandatory
runs at BMT, he learned something else about himself.
“(That’s) when I found out, when I was running with other people,
that I was actually pretty good at it,” Glenn said. “From then on, I just
Fast forward seven years to present day, and Staff Sgt. Benjamin
Glenn is a 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron CV-22 Osprey crew
chief, and a dedicated runner. He’s running half and full marathons in
elite-level times, and the Air Force Special Operations Command chose him to
represent the command in this year’s Air Force Marathon in September.
Every year thousands of runners from all over the world
travel to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to run in this competitive
long-distance race. Glenn was chosen as one of six people to run the half
marathon for AFSOC, in hopes of earning big points in the Major Command
He began competing in first half marathons at his first assignment,
Dyess AFB, Texas, and has yet to run any more races in the U.S.
“It wasn’t until coming over here that I realized I could
use it as a travelling excuse. I’ll pick a place and go run there,” Glenn said.
“My first full marathon was in Paris.”
So far, he’s run in 15 countries and completed eight half
and two full marathons.
“It’s really cheap to travel and do marathons – you just fly
there with a pair of shoes,” Glenn added.
As a CV-22 dedicated crew chief for a highly active
squadron, he doesn’t always have the luxury to train at his convenience or even
in comfort. Besides working whatever schedule the mission demands, he goes on frequent
temporary duty assignments all over Europe.
“It does eat into the running schedule, but I always bring
my gear with me and I take any chance I get to run,” Glenn said.
As a crew chief, he spends almost all day outside on the
flightline bearing the weather wherever he is.
“I don’t even have to go TDY,” Glenn said. “Sometimes just
at work I’ll have a crazy day and a crazy week of training where my body is
After being tired or worn out, there’s one thing that keeps
him dedicated throughout his training – discipline.
“I find it extremely difficult to run after work. Not only
am I depleted of energy, but my feet tend to get really sore from being on them
all day.” Glenn said. “It’s difficult, but if it means enough, you’ll do it regardless”
Besides dedication, this much running requires diverse
training. He uses a customized training plan that combines long, short,
interval, difficult and easy runs, as well as weight training, cross-training,
nutrition and well-needed rest days.
“Maintaining that active lifestyle and running gives you
more energy,” Glenn said. “And it gives you purpose. Everyone doesn’t
necessarily find purpose in aircraft maintenance, but find something outside of
work that you find enjoyment in. It doesn’t have to be running, try something
different, but find something.”
Glenn found purpose in running and it shows. Described by
his friends as nearly perfect, he stays humble and keeps pushing for greatness.
He’s recently taken up biking and swimming to compete in a triathlon in Spain a
month after the marathon, but he stays committed to the marathon. He hopes to
run the race in under one hour and 20 minutes and bring home pride for himself
and his unit.
“(It’s a few) solid hours of running, for some people more,
so at the end, you’re tired, exhausted even, but you did it, and that
feeling...I chase that,” Glenn said.