Military feature: Cannon airmen helps Air Force win armed forces triathlon

Freedom New Mexico

Capt. Ken Corigliano of the 11th Intelligence Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base was a member of the Air Force triathlon team that took all of the 25 gold medals available at the 2010 Armed Forces Triathlon Championship.

Corigliano finished 12th overall with a time of 1:52:51.

The event, held June 5 at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif., is an Olympic-distance triathlon consisting of a 1.5 kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.

Corigliano participated in the triathlon from 2006-2008 and 2010. It all started when he failed his physical training test in Reserve Officers Training Corp in 2002. A half-mile into a run and he stopped.

“I looked fit. I went to the gym. I lifted weights,” Corigliano said. “But healthy does not equal fit.”

Corigliano said he hated running and does still to this day. But he joined the track team at Saint Leo University in Tampa, Fla, and then the triathlon team at Florida State University.

Corigliano said there was a group of swimmers on the team who always did better than him. He asked his coach how to be as good as them.

“He told me I could never be as good as them. I had to be born with it,” Corigliano said. “That doesn’t compute with me. That’s not fair. Everyone has to have a chance.”

So he trained and worked hard and beat the same group of men in the next triathlon.

“You should be in complete control of your destiny,” Corigliano said. “I want to be that example.”

A man who couldn’t run more than a half mile or swim across a pool is now training youth to swim in Clovis and participates in triathlons.

“I love excelling and pushing others to excel,” he said.

Corigliano said the event was intense. He said the bike ride was so fast and aggressive, it’s spectator-oriented.

“Then you have 25 people coming out of the swim, ripping off wet suits and goggles running toward the bikes,” he said. “It was crazy.”

Corigliano said it was one of the most competitive races he’d ever participated in.

“Every world class athlete in all the forces was there vying for first,” he said.

Corigliano said his goal was to get in the top three. In 2008, he said he was 20 seconds behind third place.

The Air Force team took first place in every category, including the fastest male, fastest female and overall fastest team for both male and female categories.