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Reservist conquers Ironman race

Lt. Col. Maggie Elder takes first in women’s division, eighth overall

Lt. Col. Maggie Elder, 36th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer at McChord Field, finished first in the women’s division and placed eighth overall in a Half Ironman competition Feb. 19, with a time of 5 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds. /Courtesy photo

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(446th AW PA) - Lt. Col. Maggie Elder is a Reservist, wife, mom to three boys and a full-time grad student. Surely she wouldn't have the time to pursue any other personal goals, such as elite physical fitness.

Think again.

The 36th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer competed in an Ironman 70.3 race in Corpus Christi, Texas, Feb. 19. Elder took first place in the women's division and placed eighth overall, with a time of 5 hours, 24 minutes and 2 seconds.

"I am so proud of her accomplishment, as a husband and as a military member," said Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "The boys and I couldn't be happier. She's off to run the Boston Marathon next month, and we hope she'll do well there, too."

Demonstrating just how far anyone can go by setting small goals and working toward them, Elder said she didn't really start running until she turned 40 years old.

"I played sports in college but I really started running while deployed to Kuwait in 2009," said the San Antonio, Texas native. "I was turning 40 years old and running seemed like a good way to stay fit."

Since 2009, Elder has competed in a number of runs, but this was Elder's first Half Ironman competition.

Preparing for the multi-sport endurance competition included a 20-week training program focused on swimming, running and cycling, said Elder.

"I worked out two to four hours each day and practiced yoga on my one weekly training day off," said Elder.

Her workout regimen was supported by training at the JBLM Lewis Main swimming pools, McChord Field fitness annex, and through nutrition counseling. Elder said everyone, including Reservists, active-duty military members, dependents and civilians should take advantage of the services offered here on base.

"It's all free and available to everyone," said Elder, who encourages a healthy and active lifestyle.

Elder isn't resting after her recent 70.3 Ironman win. She's planning to compete in the Boston Marathon in April and a full Ironman competition in June. An Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, is a three-part race that involves a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride, ending with a grueling 13.1-mile run that is both a mental and physical challenge.

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