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Teamwork makes the dream work: How the AF marathon was won

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Capt. Jason Brosseau won the 2015 Air Force Marathon with an overall time of 2:46:01. Brosseau credits not only the many runners who encouraged him to get closer, but also his teammates at the Advanced Space Operations School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lori O'Donley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Capt. Jason Brosseau won the 2015 Air Force Marathon with an overall time of 2:46:01. Brosseau credits not only the many runners who encouraged him to get closer, but also his teammates at the Advanced Space Operations School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lori O'Donley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Capt. Jason Brosseau crosses the finish line in first place at the 2015 Air Force Marathon with an overall time of 2:46:01. Brosseau credits not only the many runners who encouraged him to get closer, but also his teammates at the Advanced Space Operations School. (Courtesy photo/Wes Farnsworth)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Capt. Jason Brosseau crosses the finish line in first place at the 2015 Air Force Marathon with an overall time of 2:46:01. Brosseau credits not only the many runners who encouraged him to get closer, but also his teammates at the Advanced Space Operations School. (Courtesy photo/Wes Farnsworth)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This year's Air Force Marathon winner is a captain stationed at Peterson,  an instructor at the Advanced Space Operations School, a full-time doctoral student at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and a member of the Air Force Marathon team.

Capt. Jason Brosseau won the 2015 Air Force Marathon with an overall time of 2:46:01.

The first time he ran the Air Force Marathon in 2010, he and his teammate, Maj. Brian Dumm, ran in second and third place respectively. At mile 18, Dumm told him to make a move. Dumm took off, Brosseau didn't.

Brosseau watched his teammate take the 2010 championship while he took third place. He said he knew if he were to return, it would be for the win.

"This race is five years in the making," said Brosseau. 

This year's race unfolded in an unexpected way. The morning was hot and muggy, and Brosseau started with a per-minute-mile time faster than he was capable of maintaining. He was in second place when he caught up with Master Sgt. JuanJose Moran. The two ran together for three miles at a 5:20 pace. He knew he could not keep this pace up this early in the race and backed off. For the next 10 miles he watched Moran get further and further away.

He was then passed by another runner, a civilian named Matt from Dayton, Ohio. They ran together at a 6:10 pace for three miles until Brosseau could not hold onto that pace any longer and watched as Matt left him behind.

He considered dropping out; thinking today was not his day.

Then at mile 20, the lead pack of the marathon intersected with the beginning of the half marathon. In the past, Brosseau would have been upset to have to zig zag between runners to catch up. This marathon was different.

He came across half marathoners who began to cheer him on. So much so, that for the next two miles runners helped pace him while psyching him up to get closer to the leader. About 10 half marathoners would run next to him for the next few miles encouraging him to get closer to this guy and run him down.

"I made it to mile 25 and I caught him [the lead runner]," said Brosseau. "It's go time and I'm running all by myself. It was pure adrenaline."

The runners who took turns running side-by-side with him helped change his perspective. Something happened that last mile.

"It was a complete flip [from 'I'm going to drop out'] to 'wow, you're actually doing this,'" said Brosseau. "They made a difference."

Brosseau credits not only the many runners who encouraged him to get closer, but also his teammates at ASOPS.

"I, without a doubt, would not have been able to pull this off by myself," said Brosseau. "
This has been one of the most supportive units I've ever been a part of - specifically Aaron Greaver, and he's been phenomenal.

He credits Greaver and Staff Sgt. Lucas Woods, for being pivotal assets throughout his journey of not only training for the Air Force Marathon, but being excellent teammates at ASOPS.

"I wouldn't be able to do it without them," said Brosseau. "I wouldn't be able to train at the level I'm training right now if it wasn't for a team that supports me and work so well together."

He credits the culture of teamwork at ASOPS to leadership, where the director of operations and squadron commander both approved and signed off for him to compete in the marathon.

When Brosseau competes, he is reminded by the strategy from his former cross country coach, Matt Sparks, at Southern Illinois University, now a coach for Notre Dame.

"You never want to be that guy who makes the first move in the race," Sparks said. "You want to be the guy who makes the last move. The guy who makes the last move is the guy that wins."

Out of the seven or eight marathons he competed in so far, this Air Force Marathon was my most memorable, said Brosseau.

What's next? He is the team captain for the Air Force Marathon team. The team participates in two major races a year, the Air Force Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. Brosseau recruited internationally for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25. His seven men and four women team will bring their A game to hopefully sink Navy, beat Army and take the title, Brosseau said.

"We do go out for bragging rights; who's the fastest service."

The advice he offers to anyone starting college or considering running further than for a PT test, is simple.

"You've got to do something you love," said Brosseau. "If you're working on a degree, you've got to find something that you're passionate about. The same thing about running, running is an enjoyable experience if you can find peace to it."

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