Cannon marathon raises about $1,500

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

How does a 13.1-mile run at 7:30 a.m. sound to start your Saturday?

More than 50 people ran the first 27th Special Operations Support Squadron Wizards Half Marathon at Cannon Air Force Base Saturday morning, with support from about 45 volunteers.

The event raised a take-home total of $1,500 to $1,600 for the Wizard Advisory Council, coordinator Tech Sgt. Adam Bolen estimated.

The advisory council, made up of squadron members, supports the squadron with such things as holiday parties and a clothing drive for Iraqi families.

Runners came from as close as Clovis and as far as Alamogordo and Arizona.

“I’m training for a marathon in October, and I thought this would be a good tune-up race,” said the first female finisher, Becky Rowley of Clovis.

With a time of 1:39.22, Rowley said she did about as well as she hoped.

“The course was really nice,” she said. “Conditions were about perfect.”

Among the men, Michael Kiss came in first with a time of 1:36.24.

Carl Armstrong, Clovis resident and a retired Airman who came in third among the men, said he ran the half marathon to train for a triathlon in November.

“I like this race a lot,” he said.

Armstrong also planned to compete in another race the day after the half marathon.

The squadron’s 1st Sgt. Brian Rollefson said about 75 percent of the runners came from Cannon, but he hopes to bring in more people from the community next year.

Along with the race, the morning included face painting, an inflatable jumper, an awards ceremony with medals for the first three male and female finishers, a raffle and a barbecue lunch, courtesy of the squadron’s spouses club.

Bolen said it was a big deal to have 45 volunteers from the squadron come out on a day off because they work hard during the week.

“It shows a lot about the people in our squadron,” he said.

Organizers have been working on the event since June. Because it has “a lot of moving parts, a lot of logistics that take a long time to get coordinated,” Bolen said. The idea came from the experience Rollefson had with a similar event at another base.

Bolen said the squadron received numerous donations from the community.