JUST IN: Air Force Marathon going virtual for second straight year

Runners take off at the start of the 2019 Air Force Marathon on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. . U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/WESLEY FARNSWORTH
Caption
Runners take off at the start of the 2019 Air Force Marathon on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. . U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/WESLEY FARNSWORTH

Credit: 88th Air Base Wing Public Affair

Rising COVID numbers forced the decision, marathon organizers and base official say.

The U.S. Air Force Marathon is going virtual again, event organizers said Thursday.

The news will disappoint the more than 11,000 runners who had registered for the Sept. 18 event.

“The Air Force Marathon is announcing the shift of the 25th annual Air Force Marathon in-person events to a virtual event,” an email from marathon organizers said.

ExploreOptions for Air Force Marathon runners: Virtual run, defer or seek refund

“Due to the increased COVID-19 transmission both locally and statewide, the Air Force Marathon scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, will transition from in-person participation to a virtual event,” the announcement said. “The decision was made to protect the health and safety of more than 20,000 participants, volunteers and guests.”

“We have watched, wrestled and worked continuously over the past few weeks to determine how to best execute the marathon this year,” Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, said in the message. “To ensure the health and safety of all participants due to the continued high transmission rate of COVID-19 within our surrounding communities, we have decided to transition to a virtual event.”

“Our team feels the same disappointment everyone is feeling now,” said Brandon Hough, director of the Air Force Marathon. “There is a bigger picture here and that’s the safety of our participants, volunteers, and spectators and members of the Air Force.”

“I know this is a disappointment,” Miller said in a Facebook video. But he said rising COVID numbers forced the decision.

“We are seeing cases increase by the day,” he said. “As a matter of fact, in June we were only seeing approximately one to three cases per week. Now, we’re seeing ... last Friday I saw 19 cases in a single day, tracked by the installation.”

ExploreOptions for Air Force Marathon runners: Virtual run, defer or seek refund

In an interview last month, Hough told the Dayton Daily News he was pleased by the registration numbers he had seen to that point.

Registration had been perhaps 10% below where it stood at a similar point in 2019, but that was not bad news, he said at the time. He expected registration to speed up as the events approach.

“We’re going to put on a great race for those who do come,” Hough said earlier this summer.

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