Alamo Wing Airman heads to Air Force Marathon

  • Published
  • By Benjamin Faske
  • 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The sun has not even broken the horizon when Master Sgt. Tito Carrillo begins his seven-mile morning run. Living in downtown San Antonio, the Riverwalk provides many scenic paths for him to explore; it is a runner’s paradise.

“It’s cool to run on the Riverwalk or to the Alamo,” said Carrillo. “Sometimes I run to the Tower of Americas; there’s nobody ever there, so it’s very peaceful for me, and easy to get those seven or eight miles out of the way. All you have to do is get out and run.”

Carrillo, a flight medic with the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, joined the Air Force Reserve in 2004 after witnessing his cousin’s graduation from basic training.

“Seeing the Airmen marching down the Basic Military Training bomb run on the parade field; I thought I could do that,” said Carrillo.
“I was at the University of Texas at San Antonio at the time taking classes and dropping classes,” he continued. “The Air Force was able to put me on the right path.”

After basic training and technical school, Carrillo reenrolled at UTSA and finished his bachelor’s degree in history in 2011. After college, he completed his alternative teaching certification and got a job teaching high school economics at Harlandale High School in San Antonio.

Carrillo began running competitively as a teenager when he joined the cross-country team at A.C. Jones High School in Beeville, Texas, in his junior year.

“Tito was strong and dedicated,” said Sherri Webb, Carrillo’s high school cross country coach. “He was the fastest runner on the team. He made the varsity team as a junior.”

“I used to make them run up and down Charco Road, which was one of the largest hills I could find in Beeville,” Webb recalled.

Carrillo also has vivid memories of Webb’s challenging coaching style. “I remember the time she dropped us off seven miles away from school,” he said.

“I thought, how am I going to do this? After I had accomplished the run, I thought okay; I guess I can do more."

Running long distance does take practice. When training for a marathon, Carrillo runs six days a week, and it’s not uncommon for him to run between 60 and 70 miles each week.

“I run two speed-runs a week, where I try to increase cardiovascular output and increase my heart rate, and the rest are just seven or eight-mile runs,” said Carrillo. “On Saturdays, I do my long runs. I’ll pick a trail and run between 10 and 15 miles. Complacency can stall a runner's performance in training; it’s important to be constantly pushing the body to improve on yesterday’s performance.”

When Carrillo trains for a marathon, he tries to incorporate both mind and body, so that they are in peak condition before the race.

“As we get older, to prevent injury you have to do the little things like stretching and hydrating,” said Carrillo. “Also, eating right, doing yoga, and getting massages are critical to performing better. Your body is like a race car; whatever you put in it is what you’re going to get out of it.”

This year, Carrillo was selected to run on the Air Force Reserve Command Challenge Team.

“I was so excited to hear that I was chosen for the team this year," he said. "I've been working on my training since I was notified."

The team is comprised of 10 marathon runners who will compete with other Air Force major commands at the 20th annual Air Force Marathon Sept. 17, 2016 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.