BOSTON — David Coombs joined the Air Force at age 19 to get out and see the world. Coombs never imagined it would turn into a 23-year career, taking him on four deployments for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He continued on with two years in Egypt as the Force Protection Officers for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Not only was Coombs stationed across the U.S., but he was also able to travel to Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Normandy, France and by Naval vessel through the Suez Canal, all while serving.
Coombs was medically retired and is now running the 22nd TD Beach to Beacon to support Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation programs.
"Me, as a veteran, they have a program called 'Veterans No Boundaries,' which I've actually been a part of for about a year-and-a-half now," said Coombs. "I thought this would be a great opportunity to go back out there and do this run and to try an give back to that organization that's done so much for so many people."
Maine Adaptive, based in Newry, helps individuals with disabilities develop and enhance skills, and gain independence through year-round education and training. It also focuses on recreation, according to its website.
Over the last four months, Coombs has lost 25 lbs and has run and walked over 225-miles to prepare for the 10K. Coombs has run half-marathons before and is no stranger to long-distance running, but his back and knees won't allow him to run anymore without training. "Walk, jog, run, whatever I have to do to get to the end."
While on active duty it was challenging to sign-up in advance and hard to plan, says Coombs.
"One of the things I've always wanted to do is the Beach to Beacon," said Coombs. "If you have anything to do with running at all, and you're from the New England area, that's probably one of the most premier races that are out there."
Coombs says he loves returning to Maine from Massachusetts because 'it's a little more peaceful, and a little more quiet.'
There are nine runners in the 2019 Beach to Beacon supporting Maine Adaptive.