Running the 16th U.S. Air Force Marathon and its accompanying races is the easy part.
Fighting traffic to the event and finding a parking spot around the Museum of the United States Air Force, the host venue, will be the hard part.
More than 20,000 are expected to converge on the museum early Saturday morning. Of those, more than 15,000 runners from all over the world will be participating in the full 26.2-mile marathon, 13.1-mile half marathon and 10k (6.2 miles) races around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The congestion in the area may be increased due to heightened security. Traveling light and arriving early are advised.
“We can’t emphasize enough to everyone: Be there at least 1 1/2 to two hours prior to their race time and to be extra patient,” said director Rob Aguiar.
Three gates around the museum on Springfield Pike, Spinning Road and Woodman Drive will open at 5 a.m. Opening ceremonies will be at 7:10. Wheelchair participants will start at 7:25. with the full marathon and 10K going at 7:30. The half-marathon begins at 8:30, with the awards ceremony at noon at the museum.
A short video on www.usafmarathon.com gives details on entering the museum and parking. There will also be a shuttle bus for runners leaving every few minutes from Wright State’s Ervin J. Nutter Center beginning at 4:30 a.m.
The weather is expected to be clear with temperatures in the lows 50s during the races, which could lead to fast times.
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella of Shepardstown, W. Va., won the men’s portion of the marathon last year in 2:38.48. He also won the event in 2006 and will be a favorite again.
Sarah Thomas, who was active duty Air Force stationed at Scott AFB near St. Louis, was the women’s winner in 2:58.51 William Prom of Irvin, Calif., won the men’s half-marathon while Kara Storage of Beavercreek won the women’s half.
Runners must pick up their bibs and other race information on the floor of the Nutter Center today. There will be no race day registration.
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