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NEWS | June 5, 2024

AKARNG athlete takes home top honors in Lincoln Marathon, highlights Guard sports program

By By Seth LaCount Alaska National Guard

Alaska Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 5 Tracy Dooley took home top honors in her age bracket this year at the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 5, 2024.

 Running as part of the All-Guard Marathon team, Dooley finished first in her age bracket and was the top female competitor on the team with a time of 3:48:37.  This race was Dooley’s first time finishing first amongst her peers since running her first marathon for the team in 2016.   
 “Each race comes with its unique challenges, and everything seemed to go right this time,” Dooley said. “It’s an out and back race, so you get to pass your fellow competitors on the way back. I thought wow, I might get it this time.”

Twenty-one National Guard competitors from 17 states and territories competed. The athletes all ran the same course last year during the time trials to secure their spot on the team.

For the first time, the Lincoln Track Club presented awards specifically to the top National Guard competitors in the marathon. The Guard also unveiled the new marathon “Traveling Trophy”, and Dooley was one of the first names to be added to it, cementing her accomplishment for years to come.

“The All-Army sports programs are what have kept me in the Guard,” Dooley said. “These are the people that you stay in touch with and look forward to seeing. A lot of them have high positions of responsibility in the Guard and do a lot of difficult things. They apply that same discipline to athletics.”

Dooley is a lifelong athlete with a passion for service and fitness. At 54 years old, she still works out twice a day and pushes herself to maintain a high level of strength and conditioning.

In her 30s, she faced debilitating back problems that caused her to run less and take a more dynamic approach to fitness. She highlighted the benefits of embracing a range of athletics to stay in shape and shared that her best run times came when she was training in sports other than running.

“For me, low-impact sports like cross country skiing are much easier on your body, but even more challenging on your cardiovascular system,” Dooley said. “It’s an excellent way to keep your body in shape during long Alaskan winters.”

Dooley said she plans to be an active part of the program after she’s finished serving and wants to encourage every Guardsman to explore the opportunities that are available.

“It’s such a huge draw and payoff for retention efforts to have Guard programs like this,” she said. “If you’re a competitive person and you’re willing to put the work in, there is so much to experience.”