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Minot AFB master sergeant runs in New York Marathon to support Homes For Our Troops

Running for a cause

Submitted Photo Master Sgt. Casey Heinz ran in the New York Marathon earlier this month. Heinz, who is with 5th Maintenance Group at Minot Air Force Base, raised funds for Homes For Our Troops.

Master Sgt. Casey Heinz ran in the New York Marathon to help a cause – Homes For Our Troops.

Homes For Our Troops is a nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured veterans from 9-11 to present.

Originally from Grand Junction, Colo., Heinz said the New York Marathon is the first marathon she has ever participated in.

She has been at Minot AFB since September 2016 and is a maintenance scheduler with the 5th Maintenance Group. She and her family live in Minot.

She took up running around 2011 but didn’t increase her running until moving to Alaska.

“I guess I just needed an outlet of some sort and Anchorage had a lot of road races,” she said. “It gave me goals to work toward.”

“The only distances I did up there were half marathons and the small 5Ks,” she said.

Heinz transferred in the military from Alaska to Minot AFB and did more running when she got here.

Since she’s been at Minot AFB, Heinz said she has done more traveling related to her running. She’s flown to Florida and Montana to run races and traveled to other places as well.

To enter the New York Marathon, the largest marathon in the world, Heinz said “either you have to qualify or you can go in for a lottery to get a position. I didn’t get the lottery.”

Instead, she raised funds for Homes For Our Troops to get into the marathon. “A lot of charities do that,” she said.

Heinz said she raised much of the money through Facebook, reaching out to friends and family to donate. She also wrote letters to businesses.

“I had a commitment to raise $2,620 – $100 a mile,” she said. She raised the entire amount. She said she had to raise the money before the marathon.

This is the second time she has raised funds for Homes For Our Troops. The first time she raised funds for a 5K Disney World run.

Heinz completed a 16-week training plan to get ready for the marathon set for Nov. 3.

“They had different sections at the start area. It was very well organized,” Heinz said of the marathon.

“They had different colored bibs – blue, orange and green. Each area has different waves or corrals and you’re put into those corrals. You wait for your time. We didn’t start until 11 in the morning,” she said of her group.

She isn’t sure how many were in her group. “But more than 53,000 finished the race,” she said.

Heinz ran 26.2 miles. “I finished in 5 hours and 5 minutes,” she said.

The farthest Heinz had ever run before the marathon was 20 miles.

Yes, she said, she was tired when she was done running the marathon.

She said the runners around her and the crowd kept her motivated. “In New York there was nonstop crowd from basically Mile 3 to the finish. That really helps. You have a lot of people cheering you on,” she said.

She said the marathon takes the runners through five of the boroughs in New York City. She said they started in Staten Island and finished in Central Park.

Heinz said everyone who finishes the marathon gets a medal.

She said she’s glad she was able to take part in the marathon and feels good that she accomplished it.

What’s next? With a full-time job and a family, Heinz said she is not sure she will prepare for a marathon anytime soon again.

“There’s a few (races) next year that I’d like to sign up for – just half marathons,” she said. But probably not the New York marathon for a little while.

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