Spouses take stab at half marathon

Nicole Kulas (green shirt) and Emily Ozgul (pink shirt) run past the water station by Arkadas Park during Incirlik's first half marathon Nov. 18. Both women have been training for the half marathon for more than nine weeks. This is Mrs. Kulas' fourth half marathon and Mrs. Ozgul's first. They finished just over two hours.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Patrice Clarke)

Nicole Kulas (green shirt) and Emily Ozgul (pink shirt) run past the water station by Arkadas Park during Incirlik's first half marathon Nov. 18. Both women have been training for the half marathon for more than nine weeks. This is Mrs. Kulas' fourth half marathon and Mrs. Ozgul's first. They finished just over two hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Patrice Clarke)

Nicole Kulas (left) and Emily Ozgul hold up their half marathon numbers after finishing the race.  Both women have been training for the half marathon for more than nine weeks. This is Mrs. Kulas' fourth half marathon and Mrs. Ozgul's first. They finished just over two hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Patrice Clarke)

Nicole Kulas (left) and Emily Ozgul hold up their half marathon numbers after finishing the race. Both women have been training for the half marathon for more than nine weeks. This is Mrs. Kulas' fourth half marathon and Mrs. Ozgul's first. They finished just over two hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Patrice Clarke)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Running a mile and a half in less than 14 minutes is a daunting task for many Air Force members. For others, completing a 13-mile half marathon would be out of the question, but two Incirlik spouses took the challenge head on.

Nicole Kulas and Emily Ozgul finished the first Incirlik half marathon in two hours and five minutes, Mrs. Kulas's personal best.

The journey didn't start this morning at 7:27 a.m. when the marathon began; it actually started more than nine weeks ago when they decided to run the marathon.

"I have run three half marathons before this one," said Mrs. Kulas. "When I heard about it, I encouraged Emily to do it too."

"I started running when I was 35," said Mrs. Ozgul. "My mom was 60 and she was running three miles and I could only walk around the block. This was my first marathon. So I started training with Nicole."

The two, along with two others, met every Saturday at 6:30 a.m. to do long runs.
"We started off small," said Mrs. Kulas. "We eventually moved up to doing six miles then 11 miles and so on."

While the training was ongoing, the pair had a lot of support from the two people closest to them ... their husbands lieutenant colonels Ender Ozgul, 39th Medical Group dental flight commander and Chris Kulas, 728th Air Mobility Squadron commander.

"I just told her to keep pressing," said Colonel Ozgul. "Between the two families we have six children and we would make sure the kids were good so they can train."

All the training culminated early Nov. 18 when the gun blew and the race began.

"It started off very well," said Mrs. Kulas. "About four or five miles into the race we were like wow, we are doing a great job this is flying by."

To keep going, the pair chatted with each other throughout the race and listened to music.

"One of my friends said she would be our personal water girl," said Mrs. Kulas. "She said she would come out and bring water. I thought she would eventually show up at around 8 a.m. after we had been running for a while. She was out at 6:30 a.m. and brought water to me and Emily throughout the entire race."

The pair crossed the finish line just over two hours after the race began.

"The most satisfying thing was watching them come through the finish line with smiles on their faces," said Colonel Ozgul.

"I feel a great sense of accomplishment," said Mrs. Kulas.

"I am proud of all the commitment they put into doing this run," said Colonel Kulas. "You can't just walk out one day and run a half marathon. There has to be training and preparation. They put in the work and they succeeded. I am so proud of that."

Though this half marathon is over, it's not the end.

"We plan on doing the Tarsus marathon in March," said Mrs. Ozgul.

"We do?" questioned Mrs. Kulas. "Ohh right ... we do," she said with a smile.