Edwards servicemember to run 144.4 miles in memory of fallen Airman

Courtesy photo

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  — One Edwards team member and her husband will run 144.4 miles Oct. 7-8 in memory of Maj. Troy Gilbert who died in 2006. Maj. Jenny Poisson and Lt. Col. Matt Poisson will run in the Lake Tahoe Double Dare as both a tribute to Gilbert and a fundraiser for non-profit scholarship foundation Folds of Honor. The run is part of the 2015 Lake Tahoe Marathon events taking place this fall.

The Poissons served with Gilbert in the late 2000s as members of the 62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Gilbert was killed Nov. 27, 2006, when his F-16C Fighting Falcon crashed 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, while engaged in support of coalition ground combat operations. On the day of the accident, he was flying with the 524th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

“I wanted to do the Tahoe Double Dare. I decided to attach the run to a cause and I didn’t really have to think for more than two seconds, immediately Troy came to mind,” said Maj. Poisson. “He’s with us every single day that I serve and is really a motivator for me in my continued service. Because of his actions, 22 men on the ground were able to go home to their families.”

Maj. Poisson, an individual mobilization augmentee to Air Force Senior Scientist for Information Assurance, serves as a full-time reservist in Air Force Operational and Test and Evaluation Detachment 5 at Edwards. Her husband, GPS Warfighter Integration Branch chief at the Space and Missile Systems Center Los Angeles, is a former director of operations for the 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards. Now, the 416th FLTS is rallying together to offer the couple support when they take on the Double Dare. The support team will be on hand to supply the runner’s food, water and dry socks.

In response to Gilbert’s death, Folds of Honor awarded scholarships to the five children that he left behind. The Poissons have already started collecting donations to sponsor them in the 144.4 mile run. They hope to raise $50,000 each for the organization.

“I really couldn’t think of a better organization to run for. While whatever I raise doesn’t go to the Gilbert family, it’s sort of a thank you to the Folds of Honor for helping the Gilbert family and a pay it forward to help out another military family.”

One lap around Lake Tahoe is 72.2 miles with an elevation change of 3,974 ft. and takes roughly 16-17 hours to run. In the Double Dare, participants will run one lap Oct. 7 and then run it again the very next day. While her husband has no background in running, Maj. Poisson went to college on a full athletic scholarship for distance running.

To train for the race, Maj. Poisson runs four days a week and does strength training for two days. Each week she completes a six-mile run, an eight-mile run and two long runs that increase a few miles each week. The training is “grueling,” culminating in two back-to-back 36 mile runs.

Even on her shorter runs, Poisson trains as if it’s race day. She carries her CamelBak and food pouches and wears a headlamp for areas of the race with no light.

“You have to practice eating while you’re running because one lap around Lake Tahoe will burn four days’ worth of food,” said Poisson. “It’s sort of the same mindset of General Patton; the more you sweat in training the less you bleed at war.”

Folds of Honor was created by Maj. Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, to provide educational opportunities to the families of those killed or permanently disabled in service to America.

For more information about the Poisson’s Lake Tahoe Double Dare run visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/poissonfoldsofhonor.

You can also follow Maj. Poisson’s training schedule on her twitter account @jmpoisson79.