Pantexans on the run for Amarillo

December 17, 2015

At a rapid pace and behind the scenes, Pantex employees are using their passion for running to benefit the Amarillo community.



Scott and Dee Weaver put on their running shoes to help Amarillo charities.

Dee Weaver, an accountant/financial analyst in the Finance and Business Operations Division, has been running competitively since middle school. “I always ran track in school and then back in 2000 I started running 5 and 10Ks,” Weaver said.

It doesn’t matter the size of the race; Weaver has run marathons in Chicago and Fort Worth, just to name a few, and even the Tempe Ironman, but one thing she really enjoys is being able to give back to the community. You can count on Weaver to send emails out to everyone reminding them about upcoming events, such as the Komen Race for the Cure or the TRI to Make a Difference triathlon held annually at Lake Tanglewood.

“I always send out emails letting everyone know about upcoming runs,” Weaver said. “And I always get tons of responses; some people can’t participate in the different events but still want to help. That’s something that never changes — Pantexans’ willingness to help others.”

Thirteen Pantexans competed in this year’s Tri to Make a Difference triathlon by swimming 400 meters, biking 10 miles and running 3.1 miles, all while helping raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. During the summer, Pantexans also ran to help raise medical funds for a Pantexan’s family member who was battling cancer. “It was a last‑minute run, but many people were able to come together and raise more than $1,000 to help with the medical expenses for this little girl,” said Weaver.

Another member of the unofficial Pantex runners club is Steve Filipowicz, a Facilities Services senior manager. At age 61, he is currently training for his fourth ironman competition.

“I spend about 15 hours a week working out and training,” said Filipowicz. Not only does he enjoy running, but he uses it as a way to stay fit. “I won’t just work out for the sake of working out; running in different competitions gives me a reason to work out, and I need that goal to keep me going.” Apparently his method is working, because he has yet to have any health issues. “I’ve made it to 60 without needing any medications or having any health problems. I would like to keep going in that direction, and I think running is the main reason why I’ve been so healthy,” Filipowicz said.

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Steve Filipowicz runs in the TRi to Make a Difference Triathlon.

Much like Filipowicz, Rickey Hook, a facility manager for Waste Operations, enjoys the health benefits that running has to offer. “I was closing in on 50 and had never worked out regularly. I was 50 pounds overweight and took several medications to reduce my lipids and had taken an acid reducing drug for more than 20 years,” said Hook. “I was motivated by my wife, Vickie, to start working out, and not by her nagging or prodding me at all, but because she started and I saw the benefits to her.” Now at age 57, Hook is in excellent health, has lost 50 pounds and is no longer on medication.

Not only is running great exercise, but as Hook pointed out, it is a chance for you to bond with others, and that is something that Weaver enjoys about the activity. She and her husband, who also works at Pantex as a senior manager in Multi-Disciplinary Engineering, train together. “For me, it is so much more than just running — it is about the relationships you make along the journey. My husband, Scott, and I enjoy running and biking together. We help encourage and motivate each other to stay on track, keep pressing forward and cherish every mile together,” Weaver said.
 

One thing the three emphasize is that people interested in taking up running should take it easy and not get discouraged. “It took years to go from where I was to where I am now. It was a very gradual process but one that has been very gratifying,” said Hook.

Not only is running a physical activity – it is mental as well. “Training is all about building stamina. Sometimes you are out there and it hurts, but you have to push through it,” Filipowicz said. “The races at the Ironman distance, 140.6 miles, are won or lost in your mind. You have to learn how to push yourself through significant discomfort, and it can become very emotional.”

The informal Pantex runners’ club estimates their efforts for fiscal year 2015 have helped raise more than $5,037 by running various distances for local charities.