Air Force Marathon sets registration record

  • Published
  • By Chris McGee
  • Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs
The Air Force Marathon has eclipsed last year's registration numbers and is on pace to attract 6,000 runners for the first time in its 11-year history.

The marathon, set for Sept. 15 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, officially surpassed last year's total number of 5,027 runners, with 5,404 registered runners as of Sept. 6.

Registration is ahead of last year's clip by about 20 percent.

The number of participants are ahead in two significant categories -- the full marathon and half marathon, said Molly Louden, the marathon director.

"Two areas where we especially wanted to see an increase was in the full and half marathons," Ms. Louden said. "As for now, we have 1,722 runners registered for the full marathon compared to 1,598 this time last year, and we have 19,650 signed up for the half marathon, an increase from 1,734 at the same time last year.

"Half marathons and full marathons are long-distance races that are really booming in popularity," she said.

Besides the full and half marathons, the Air Force Marathon offers four-person relay races and a 5K Race. A wheelchair race is also available. The marathon will start with an opening ceremony at 7 a.m. Sept. 15.

This year's marathon is one of the Air Force's major public events in a year when the service is commemorating its 60th Anniversary. For the first time in the marathon's history, the 5K Race will occur Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Wright State University. In previous years, the event was held within the larger marathon on base.

The 5K Race's new date and location is part of a new marathon partnership between the base and the university. The 5K Race will start and end at the Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University, with the route winding around the campus. Just as the Air Force is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Wright State is observing its 40th anniversary.

Another new development aimed at lifting the morale of runners this year is a change to the marathon course, allowing the public to cheer on the runners through stretches of downtown Fairborn, next to the base. Previously, the marathon course was on base and did not accommodate public spectators.

Other features the marathon will continue to offer this year are Air Force aircraft flyovers and senior officers presenting medals to the finishers.

The two-day Sports and Fitness Exposition will take place Sept. 13 and 14 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University. Free and open to the public, the event drew approximately 10,000 people last year.

A gourmet pasta dinner will be held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Sept. 14 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Individuals wanting to register for the marathon or obtain more information on the Sports and Fitness Exposition or the Gourmet Pasta Dinner can do so at the marathon Web site at