by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs
4/15/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Katie
Heath, wife of 90th Fighter Squadron F-22 pilot Capt. Kevin Heath,
finished the Boston marathon in 3 hours and 48 minutes, approximately 20
minutes before the explosions that killed and injured runners and
spectators April 15.
Heath was in the family area about two blocks from the finish line where the first explosion occurred.
"This has been a very emotional day for me," said Heath. "Running a
marathon is very taxing and then to have such a horrific event occur --I
have been in shock most of the day. I have nothing but great things to
say about the race coordinators and volunteers. Up until the explosion
this was such an amazing experience. And even after everything happened
everyone was so willing to help. We have been welcome in basically all
Heath qualified for the Boston marathon after completing the Anchorage
Mooses Tooth marathon August 19 in 3 hours and 29 minutes.
Heath, who grew up in South Bend Ind., swam competitively and always
cross trained by running. She began running again after the birth of her
"Running for me is the one thing physically where I can put it all on
the table and push my body to the limit whether it's a 3 mile or 26.2
mile run. It was the only way for me to shed my baby weight after having
two babies close together and I feel cleansed and refreshed after every
run," she said.
Training for a marathon during the winter in Alaska proved to be
challenging and meant that all of her long runs would be on the
treadmill at her local gym.
"Running has helped me re-focus on Katie as an individual again and not
just the label as mommy, wife and military spouse. Running is something
of my very own and all the accomplishments that come with it. However,
there is no way in the world I would be able to accomplish my goals
without the enormous amount of support from my family!"
Heath met her husband during a swim meet when her college, Texas
Christian University, was competing against his college, the United
States Air Force Academy, in 2002. Prior to arriving in Alaska in 2010
the Heath family was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan where Capt.
Heath flew the F-15.
"When Katie runs it gives me an opportunity to return some of the
support she gives me every day," said Capt. Kevin Heath. "During the
summers the kids and I follow her around on her long runs along the
Glenn Highway trail. We are her mobile support vehicle--offering her
food water, Gatorade and encouragement on her 10 plus mile runs. It
helps her out and the kids love chasing her around."
Heath hopes to continue to run at her current pace and qualify for another Boston marathon.
"I absolutely intend on running this race again," she said. "Running it
in honor of those who were affected has motivated me even more."