An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Oct. 25, 2023

Minnesota Guardsmen Put in the Miles on Marathon Team

By Staff Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

ST. PAUL, Minn. - “I really didn’t run until I joined the Army when I was 17,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer St. Amand, a recruiter with the Minnesota National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “I was in basic training and the drill sergeants made a big deal about it; it lit a fire in me to continue to push myself more and more.”

St. Amand, who is originally from Canada, has served in the military for 17 years. She started with the Active-Duty component before taking a break. She decided to continue her service with the Minnesota National Guard in 2019.

St. Amand is also a member of the Minnesota National Guard’s Marathon Team. The team consists of four people selected to represent the state against 53 other state and territory teams every other year and compete for a spot on the National Guard’s Marathon Team.

“I didn’t just run the 2-mile in the Army; I kept going,” she said. “Now I run 100-milers. I love that as I grow older, I can keep challenging myself with it.”

Earlier this year, the Marathon Team — St. Amand, Sgt. 1st Class Adam Walton, Army Maj. Tim Gearns and Army Lt. Col. John Zimmerman — traveled to Nebraska to compete in the Lincoln Marathon. The Lincoln Marathon doubles as the National Guard’s qualifying marathon, where only 25 men and 15 women are selected for the following year’s National Guard Marathon Team. The Minnesota team placed 3rd overall. St. Amand and Walton qualified for the national team this year.

“When we go to the qualifying event, we represent the state of Minnesota,” said St. Amand. “If we make it on the national team, there’s different events throughout the year you can participate in, and everything is paid for.”

Walton, a member of the team since 2019, has been running since he was a kid.

“It’s a forever activity,” said Walton. “Be patient with yourself and continue to invest in your health. The marathon game is a long game. It’s not something you’re going to win when you’re 20 years old.”

Walton has qualified for the National Team three times. 

Both St. Amand and Walton have big goals for the upcoming year. St. Amand just completed the unofficial rim-to-rim-to-rim crossing of the Grand Canyon, running nearly 50 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation gain. She plans to represent Minnesota and the National Marathon Team at the Boston Marathon next spring. Walton looks forward to competing in the Anchorage Marathon in Alaska this summer.

Outside of competition, both Soldiers say that running is a big part of who they are and gives them the space to think innovatively and creatively.

“Sometimes, you are there to enjoy the experience,” said Walton. “It’s fun to have those races, where you are just enjoying running and enjoying the experience because being competitive all the time wears you out.”

Running also allows them to promote the National Guard and fitness.

“Being in the Guard is more important nowadays than ever,” St. Amand said. “People want to serve the people they know, and that’s what we do here; we serve our communities, and we serve our families.”
 

 

 

Related Articles
The build-up of Omaha Beach. Reinforcements of men and equipment moving inland. Photo courtesy of Center of Military History.
80 Years Ago, National Guard Units Played Key Role in D-Day Landings
By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy, | June 5, 2024
ARLINGTON, Va. – Their waterlogged footsteps were historic. That thought, however, most likely wasn’t on the Soldiers minds as they stepped ashore from rocking landing craft onto the French coast. Instead, the focus for most...

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Harrington, left, explosive ordnance disposal technician with the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing, and Senior Airman Benito Pacheco, EOD technician with the Nebraska ANG's 155th Air Refueling Wing, review X-rays of an improvised explosive device May 13, 2024, as part of the Audacious Warrior exercise at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin. The nine-day exercise included over 70 participants assigned to the Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve and U.S. Marine Corps, as well as military EOD specialists from the Czech Republic.
Guard Conducts Explosive Ordnance Disposal Joint Training
By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Gorman, | June 4, 2024
CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. - Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from multiple services and countries converged on Volk Field Air National Guard Base May 13 for the 10th annual Audacious Warrior exercise.The 115th Fighter Wing...

National Guard athletes race in the 46th annual Lincoln Marathon, which also serves as the National Guard Marathon Team time trials, held May 7, 2023, in Lincoln, Nebraska. More than 200 National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from across the country competed for spots on the All Guard Marathon Team.
Guard Soldiers, Airmen Compete for All Guard Marathon Team
By Staff Sgt. Lisa Crawford, | May 9, 2023
LINCOLN, Neb. - More than 200 Airmen and Soldiers representing the National Guard from all 50 states, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia ran the 46th annual Lincoln Marathon May 7, competing for a spot on the...