Excitement is building around the 21st Air Force Marathon set to take place at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Sept. 16.
“We are super excited about the 21st running of the Air Force Marathon,” said Rob Aguiar, Air Force Marathon race director. “This year in particular is very special because we are celebrating the 70th birthday of the Air Force, and the Air Force Marathon has been designated as an Air Force 70th Birthday Signature Event.”
Marathon weekend features four event distances, including the full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K races. First held in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Air Force, the Air Force Marathon has grown into a popular event with runners from all 50 states and many different countries around the world.
Aside from the actual races, there are several other events on the Marathon schedule, including the Air Force Marathon Sports and Fitness Expo. The expo will host more than 100 exhibitors featuring the latest developments in sports, fitness and nutrition. Held at the Wright State University’s Nutter Center Sept. 14-15, the expo is free and open to the public.
Runners will also enjoy a pre-race gourmet pasta dinner at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force prepared by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s own chef. The event’s guest speaker will be retired U.S. Army Maj. Ivan Castro, who sustained life-threatening injuries during 2006 combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite being blinded in both eyes, Castro defied the odds by battling back from his injuries, remaining on active duty and subsequently becoming the first blind graduate of the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Everyone who finishes a race also gets a medal celebrating this year’s two featured aircraft, the F-22 Raptor and the P-51 Mustang. Medals are presented at the finish line by senior Air Force leaders. All races begin and end at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force except the 5K, which takes place on the campus of Wright State University.
The Air Force Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying event and the course goes past a number of historic landmarks, including Huffman Prairie where the Wright brothers perfected manned flight.
Visit www.usafmarathon.com for more information about the 2017 Air Force Marathon.