Courses redesigned this year for AF full and half marathons, 10K race

Oganizers say the new full Air Force Marathon course is more scenic and exciting with fewer hills and crowds. (File photo)

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Oganizers say the new full Air Force Marathon course is more scenic and exciting with fewer hills and crowds. (File photo)

The U.S. Air Force Marathon office released course maps for the 2019 full marathon, half marathon and 10K, redesigned in response to runner inputs in order to improve safety and the running experience.

“We read hundreds of post-race surveys to see how runners felt about the current course and then spoke with lots of them about how we could improve the course,” said Brandon Hough, Air Force marathon director. “Once we had a tentative idea for new routes, we met with safety and medical officials and they felt the new proposals would lead to a safer experience as well.”

Notable full marathon course changes

• There is now a common first mile between all three races (Full, Half, 10K).

• The full marathon no longer runs down Kauffman Road to Ohio 844, instead crossing Ohio 444 immediately and then heading into Huffman Prairie, where it circles the flight line in the first half of the race.

• For the first time, the full marathon will run throughout the historic housing area of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

• The course has less elevation in its profile since it goes over the Ohio 844 overpass only one time.

• The full marathon course comes down Springfield Street by itself at the end of the event reducing congestion on the route.

Hough said the new full marathon course is more scenic and exciting with less hills and crowds, especially during the later stages of the event. Hough also said the new course places quieter miles in the beginning, saving the more exciting miles, like the Fairborn Fly Zone, later when runners could use the extra motivation, especially for those looking to qualify for other major runs.

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“The courses are all certified, and the full marathon is once again a Boston (Marathon) qualifier,” said Hough. “Now, with a better elevation profile, it will lend itself to being even better for qualifying. Plus, we are adding more pacers to align with the Boston qualifying times!”

Notable half marathon course changes

• The common start with the marathon removes course crowding concerns in the beginning.

• Congestion on Springfield Street at the race start is no longer an issue since the road is avoided and a corral system is being implemented with three separate starts.

• Runners will see for the first time the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing, United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory, all of which are vitally important to the mission at WPAFB and the mission of the U.S. Air Force.

Hough said the new half marathon course will allow runners to see more of the base as whole, spending more time on Area B. Hough does caution that the half marathon is also hillier due to the redesign, with three hills located at the first, sixth and ninth miles.

“The course is a bit tougher and has more hills, but we are the U.S. Air Force Marathon and we don’t shy away from a challenge,” said Hough. “Our event honors the service members who have sacrificed so much, in some cases making the ultimate sacrifice, so we know that our runners can make sacrifices and overcome any challenge we toss their way!”

Time and parking changes

Besides the course changes, the half marathon will now start at the same time as the full marathon with the 10K now starting an hour earlier – a move designed to fall in line with industry standards and to mitigate instances where the weather is warmer than optimal.

“Moving the 10K to 6:30 a.m. and the half to 7:30 a.m. will allow over 75 percent of our participants to finish an hour earlier to avoid the heat in warmer years, and it will free up our medical resources to better serve our marathon participants in the later stages of the event,” said Hough. “It was important for us to keep the 10K before the other two events to preserve the Fly-Fight-Win Challenge, which is in its second year and growing a great deal!”

Due to the new routes, Hough said anyone coming to race weekend should not attempt to use Gate 19B to park inside of Area B as the entire base will be closed to traffic until early afternoon. Instead, runners should use the free shuttles from Wright State University’s Nutter Center to the start line. Others should park in general parking.

The 2019 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. 19-20. The Breakfast of Champions will be Sept. 20, from 8 to 10 a.m. and the Gourmet Pasta Dinner on Sept. 20, starting at 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the Air Force Marathon go to www.usafmarathon.com.

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