More than 13,000 runners participated in the 5K, 10K, half and full marathons during Air Force Marathon weekend in 2018. Runners in 2019 will enjoy redesigned courses and additional events to improve their race weekend experience. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Holly Ardern)

Air Force Marathon makes major changes for 2019

The Air Force Marathon opened registration for their 2019 event Jan. 1 with major changes designed to improve the experience for more than 12,000 annual runners.

Marathon staff have added a 1K kids’ run, called the Tailwind Trot, and extended the Fly! Fight! Win! Challenge that debuted in 2018 to include an option to run either a half or full marathon in addition to the 5K and 10K races.

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“We’ve never had an event specifically for the kids and we think it’s time to offer that,” said Race Director Brandon Hough. “Running is an amazing activity that brings so much to people’s lives; there’s no better way to celebrate that than by inspiring our youngest runners.”

Beyond the new events, other changes include redesigned full marathon, half marathon and 10K courses as well as new start times for the events. The 10K race is now scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Sept. 21 followed by the full and half marathons at 7:30 a.m. The Tailwind Trot and 5K race, presented by Wright State University, are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively, the night before.

“We’ve altered the courses to not only improve the runners’ experience as they make their way through the rich, historic backdrop of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s military community, but also to ensure proper separation of the different races to make it safer and easier to maintain whatever pace runners choose throughout the event,” Hough said.

Runners can also expect changes at the race start with the addition of a corral system with staggered starts based on previous race times or on predicted times. The corral system is intended create a faster and safer running environment for all participants.

“We can’t wait for runners to experience all of the changes we are planning,” said Hough. “We really listened to all of their input on previous events and are excited to see how they enjoy the improved race experience.”

Additionally, the Sports and Fitness Expo, to be held again at the Wright State University Nutter Center, will now feature more vendor booths, a relocated New Balance Dayton Apparel store and a mobility clinic for disabled runners.

“There is a lot of excitement in the running community for our 23rd race,” Hough added. “The changes we’ve made this year are certainly driving a lot of that excitement.”

That excitement was evident as marathon registrations opened with a 22 percent increase over the same date from the previous year. Hough says that while he’s encouraged by the numbers, the focus of the Air Force Marathon is, and always will be, on creating the best possible experience for runners.

The 2019 United States Air Force Marathon is presented by Northrop Grumman, USAA and Boeing and is scheduled for Sept. 21. The Sports & Fitness Expo is scheduled for Sept. 19, and Sept. 20. The Breakfast of Champions is scheduled for Sept. 20 from 8 to 10 a.m., and the Gourmet Pasta Dinner is scheduled for Friday evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. For more information about the Air Force Marathon go online to www.usafmarathon.com.