Minot Airman selected for AF cross country team

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, laces up his shoes on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan was selected to be a member of the Air Force Cross Country team. However because he was unable to participate this season, he intends on trying out for the team in 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, laces up his shoes on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan was selected to be a member of the Air Force Cross Country team. However because he was unable to participate this season, he intends on trying out for the team in 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, runs at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan stays prepared for the Air Force Cross Country team by running long distance indoors during the winter and doing variations of sprinting exercises outdoors during the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, runs at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan stays prepared for the Air Force Cross Country team by running long distance indoors during the winter and doing variations of sprinting exercises outdoors during the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, crosses the finish line at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan was selected to be a member of the Air Force Cross Country team, however was unable to participate this season. He intends on trying out for the team in 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, crosses the finish line at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan was selected to be a member of the Air Force Cross Country team, however was unable to participate this season. He intends on trying out for the team in 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, sprints his last lap at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan makes time to run every day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, sprints his last lap at the McAdoo Fitness Center on Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Feb. 11, 2015. Sloan makes time to run every day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- It all started with wanting to get into shape. He used to watch members of the cross country team running after school, wishing it was him. Then one day, he wasn't just watching anymore. He was pounding the pavement alongside them.

At only 12 years old, Airman 1st Class Augustin Sloan, personnelist from the 5th Force Support Squadron, began something that would soon open many doors in his life -- running.

"Like anything else, when you're first starting off at something, you're going to be at the bottom," Sloan said. "But as the years go on, you'll eventually work to the top. That's what happened to me."

By his junior year of high school, Sloan was competing on the varsity team, where he was able place at the state level.

During his high school career, Sloan also lettered -- to earn notoriety in a particular academic area -- three years in track and field and three years in cross country, allowing him the opportunity to receive a college scholarship.

Sloan declined the scholarship and signed up for the Air Force instead.

"I wanted to better myself, and I believed I was capable of achieving something greater," Sloan said. "I was in the recruiter's office 24 hours later."


Now, approximately 500 miles away from home, the Montana native decided to take running to the next level, the Air Force level.

"I knew the Air Force had many extracurricular activities to offer," Sloan said. "I decided to apply for the Air Force Cross Country team."

The application process for the Air Force Cross Country team requires Airmen to submit their 5K, half marathon, and other distance times to determine if they are eligible. With a 5K time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds and the ability to finish a half marathon in 1:18:35, Sloan was able to make the team.

"I've always had that strive to compete," Sloan said. "More than anything, I love to be in a situation where I'm able to demonstrate my talents for my team."

Being a part of the team means that he would have to take a temporary duty assignment to travel and participate in races all over the country.

"Managing a military career while training to be a competitive runner is a daunting task, but he takes it on with the utmost dedication and effort," said Senior Airman Hayden Thomas, 5th Security Forces installation entry controller, and Sloan's running partner. "We met during a 5K when he was at Lackland Air Force Base and I was in tech school. Since we've both been stationed at Minot, we have logged many miles together."

Although he has been running for a while, he still finds room for growth. In September, he participated in the Bomber Run held on base. It was the first half marathon he's ever competed in, and he was awarded first place.

"It was quite a good experience for me," Sloan said. "It's got me addicted to marathons now."

To maintain his talent and remain prepared for the team, Sloan makes time to run every day. He alternates between running long distance indoors during the winter and variations of sprinting exercises outdoors during the summer.

"I get a run in two times a day, seven days a week," Sloan said. "If I take a day off in a week, that's pretty rare."

"It isn't uncommon for myself or another security forces member to be patrolling base during all hours of the day and see him running, even in the harshest of Minot weather," Thomas added.

Even though he made the team based on his run times, he was unable to compete this year because he didn't participate in enough races throughout the year to be eligible. However, with the following season approaching next February, Sloan intends to put forth his best efforts to make both the Air Force Cross Country and Track and Field teams for 2016.