July 27, 2012

One step at a time

by Laura Mowry
Staff writer

Capt. Joshua Stoley, 412th Test Wing protestant chaplain, runs during the 2011 Southern California Half Marathon in Irvine, Calif. Stoley will head Team Edwards marathon team Sept. 15 to compete in the 16th Annual Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio.

Sept. 15, Team Edwards will send four Airmen to run the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio.

The four Airmen make up half of the Air Force Materiel Command’s team and will give it their all to make sure the trophy stays with the command after last year’s success.

One of those runners is Capt. Joshua Stoley, 412th Test Wing chaplain, who vowed to make fitness an important part of his life after failing his first ever Air Force PT test. He will represent Team Edwards along with Master Sgt. Nancy Gonzales, 412th Security Forces Squadron; Staff Sgt. Alysse Pratti, 412th SFS; and Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Hines, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

One step at a time Stoley worked his way up, earning one of eight coveted slots on the Air Force Materiel Command’s marathon team. It was a valuable lesson and one worth sharing.

Anything is possible, if you take it one step at a time. That is the message teaches his children, while they ride their bicycles beside their father as he trains for the upcoming marathon.

Whether applying the lesson to running or life in general, it is a principle that he is eager to share with others. Although staying healthy and fit to fight is a top priority for Stoley, equally important is the quality time he spends with his family while training.

“Being joined by my children is really encouraging. It’s great that they want to spend time with me, not playing video games. Riding a bike six to seven miles is a challenge for them,” said Stoley. “Ultimately, I want to set an example for my children.”

His children started out one step at a time and eventually one mile at a time. Now, Stoley’s children have mastered distances upwards of seven miles and have no trouble pedaling their bicycles, keeping pace with their father.

A distance of seven miles is a unique opportunity for Stoley to spend time with his children, mentoring and helping them to grow spiritually – another top priority for the chaplain.

“Not everything is easy. Riding your bike seven miles sounds daunting, particularly if you’re a 6-year-old. I want my children to understand that if you’re taking one step at a time, by the time you’re finished, you realize that you really can do anything,” said Stoley.

“Whether I’m teaching my son math or we’re praying together, it is important that we have that time. As a Christian family, it is important that we have this time to talk through scripture and see how he’s growing. It’s important that the obligation to train doesn’t take away from my family,” Stoley continued.

The bar is set high; not only was AFMC awarded the trophy last year, but Stoley set a personal record at the race. Although he will run the marathon again this year, the competition is not what motivates him to succeed.

“I’m not a competitive runner. I run for fitness and health. It has been neat to be selected and have the opportunity to represent the base and the command,” Stoley Said. “While running I have been passed by folks half my age or twice my age – it is just my race to run.”

After he finishes, you can be sure that he will be looking to sign up for the next race.

“I sign up early and then I’m committed. It keeps me honest, I’m just as lazy as everyone else,” said Stoley. “I take it one day at a time, one step at a time. If you do that, you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.”


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