Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Coombs' success in running mirrors success in USACE

Louisville District
Published Aug. 21, 2023
Updated: Aug. 21, 2023
Craig Coombs, chief, Environmental Support section pictured during his first marathon – the 2012 Kentucky Derby Marathon.

Craig Coombs, chief, Environmental Support section pictured during his first marathon – the 2012 Kentucky Derby Marathon. (Courtesy photo)

Completing one marathon is an accomplishment for some and a goal for many others. For Craig Coombs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Support Section chief, that number is 51, or a marathon in every state plus Washington D.C. He has completed marathons in 18 states so far and has plans to complete five to six marathons per year until his goal is met.

The 21-year Louisville District veteran’s first marathon was the Derby Festival Marathon in 2012. His approach to running is the same as his approach to successfully completing environmental projects for USACE - planning, maintaining consistency and celebrating the wins.

“Looking back to celebrate the wins is an important part of anything in life,” Coombs said. “After completing 23 miles of the Chicago Marathon, I was averaging an eight-minute pace then slowed to an eight-thirty pace for my last 5k. I could have focused on the slower pace but ended up running my personal record.

”Coombs started in the Louisville District Engineering Division Co-operative Student Internship Program in May 2002, while attending Murray State University, eventually earning an environmental engineering technology degree in May 2004.

He has worn many hats at USACE including intern, project engineer, project manager, program manager and chief. Coombs has many memories during his eleven years of supporting the Reserve mission and recalled his most memorable time as supporting the people of New York during Super Storm Sandy. He enjoyed the experience because he saw the capabilities of USACE put to good use helping people after the storm.

When asked about how he faces challenges with running or when completing a project for USACE, Coombs said that making short-term attainable goals was the key to successfully overcoming the challenge.

“Craig puts great emphasis on the goals he has set and achieved for himself both as a marathon runner and a Section Chief in Project Management,” said Rachael Haunz, chief, Military/IIS Project Management Branch. “His goals and achievements are an inspiration to all around him!”

Chick Lock

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