BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - The 2019 Air Force Female Athlete of the Year award was presented to Maj. Amy Natalini, director of headquarters 8th Air Force’s commander’s action group at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
"I love running and I started running because it's one of the cheaper sports to do, all you really need is a good pair of running shoes," Natalini explains, "You don't need a fancy watch, you don't need a fancy iPod."
Before most of our alarms even go off in the morning, Amy Natalini begins her grind.
"I typically wake up between 4:20 and 4:30 in the morning and head out the door, whether that's going to the YMCA to swim at the pool, or getting on the elliptical, or running 10 to 12 miles in the morning," said Natalini.
Its the love for long-distance running that pushes her to new heights.
"For me, it's really a stress reliever and getting out there on the road and really being able to clear my mind."
Running also taps into her competitive spirit.
"I've done 43 full marathons and about 43 half marathons," she said 2018 was a big year for her, "Last year was a little crazy I did eight full marathons I think two half marathons and lots and lots of 5Ks."
It was her third-place finish in the military women's category at the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. that could potentially put her in the international spotlight.
“I qualified for the World Military Games which is going to be held in October in China. We’re still waiting to hear on the selection for that, so hopefully there’s a team of four men and four women going specifically for the marathon, (and) I hope to be going along with another Army woman and two Marine Corps women.”
When she’s out of uniform and not running competitively, Natalini volunteers her time, coaching and mentoring people of all ages on the importance of fitness and nutrition.
“I hope that I inspire a lot of airmen to get out and start running,” she said, “We do a lot of running clinics on base and work on their form and nutrition, and a lot of them have come back to me and say hey I’m not going to start running full marathons but I did sign up for my first 5K.”
Encouraging others to not only set goals but to exceed them.
“Running is not for everybody I get that, not everybody loves running, but for the Air Force, we have to do it. (So) I just encourage everyone to do what they can whether that’s a mile, a 5K or 10K and work your way up.”