By Betsy Kozak-Howard, ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.October 25, 2013
Running has always been a favorite pastime for Tanya Peel, supervisory procurement analyst with the Army Contracting Command -- Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Two years ago she took her passion to a new level and established a goal to run a half-marathon in every state.
"I've completed 13 states toward my goal and by doing the math, I estimate that I will reach my goal in approximately five years," said the Maryland native. "There are so many half-marathon races in the U.S. I have to pick and chose the ones that I want to participate in. It gives me a sense of well-being to support races that have a worthy cause such as the Wounded Warrior Program. I also look for races with a course that has beautiful scenery near water."
In early October she took a break from her position as chief, Information Systems and Technology Branch, Special Security, Logistics and Technology Division, to run a half-marathon held in Portland, Maine. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles and her finish time was a little under two hours, according to Peel.
"My normal running rhythm for a half-marathon is 1 hour, 57 minutes which equates to an average pace of 8 minutes, 56 seconds per mile," stated Peel. "Through more training, I'm hoping to improve my overall time by lowering my pace per mile. So far, I've placed in two races, taking third in my age group."
Peel receives a participant T-shirt for each race she competes in and has accumulated more than 40 T-shirts. "I not only run in half--marathons, but I participate in a variety of other races such as the APG Turkey Trot 5K Run, Fire Cracker 5-Miler, and the Army 10-Miler. I wanted to capture the memories from each run, so I had a quilt made with the T-shirts. It's beautiful."
The mother of two also completed a full marathon -- all 26.2 miles. The race was the inaugural Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Savannah, Ga., in November 2011.
"The Savannah race will always stand out as my favorite, as well as my most difficult," Peel pointed out. "It was both mentally and physically challenging. I completed the marathon in 4 hours, 33 minutes and it took a lot out of me. I hit what runners refer to as the wall between miles 22 and 24 but I connected with the runners around me and we encouraged each other to the finish. This was my most memorable race because my entire family travelled to Savannah to watch me cross the finish line -- that was priceless."
Peel tries to incorporate her running schedule with family vacations.
In February she will travel to Texas for a half-marathon followed by races scheduled in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Peel is also a member of the Renaissance All Sports Athletic Club in Harford County, Md., a non-profit running club that promotes amateur sports competition and physical fitness.
"I find running very gratifying and I hope to inspire others to take part in the sport," Peel concluded.