Donnie Starling has been deployed eight times in his 16 years with the U.S. Air Force. He’s humble about his service, insisting it’s been easier on him than many of his fellow combat veterans. But he does acknowledge something that’s helped him get through the tough times: running.
“It keeps you balanced,” he says. “That’s my exit to just let it all out, and it gives me something to focus on.”
To share this benefit, Starling started a local group for Team Red, White, Blue, the national nonprofit that connects military veterans and communities through athletic and social events. Team RWB Las Vegas works out together every week, socializes every month and does community service every quarter. Their first big athletic event is the November 8-9 Ragnar Relay, a 24-hour, 186-mile race run by teams of six or 12 people in successive 3- to 8-mile legs from Lee Canyon around the Valley to Lake Las Vegas.
Starling is competing on a 12-person team, but as captain of Team RWB Las Vegas, his focus is on logistics and sponsorships. Lucky for him, the relay will be a walk in the park: A runner since childhood, Starling has done two Marine Corps marathons and two full Iron Man triathlons.
To join or support Team RWB Las Vegas, visit its Facebook page.