Today’s U.S. Air Force Marathon will draw a field unlike most 26.2-mile distance races.
As usual, many will be running the distance for the first time. Others will have run in all 17 races that have been held on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
What makes this race so different is its military significance. It serves as the U.S. Air Force championship. Active members have been transported to the race from throughout the world. Members of NATO forces stationed in Europe have won this marathon.
And running with all that military might will be a sizable local field.
Race security always has been a priority because the event is held on a military base. Like most all other marathons since the Boston Marathon bombing this past spring, security has been heightened, including the use of bomb-sniffing dogs.
The racing began with Friday’s 5K that started and ended at Wright State University’s Ervin J. Nutter Center. Three races will be held today. The marathon (26.2 miles) and 10K (6.2) will start together at 7:30 a.m. The half-marathon (13.1) goes off at 8:30 a.m.
The two-day event is expected to draw a combined 30,000 participants, spectators and supporters. It also is expected to pump about $15 million into the local economy, according to the Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Race results can be found at the website usafmarathon.com. The race is certified and is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
Spectators can park for free in the fields adjacent to the start/finish line near the museum. An awards ceremony will be at noon at the site. There also will be a free after-party today at The Greene in Beavercreek that is free and open to the public.
The only other area marathon is sponsored by the Ohio River Road Runners Club. Its 45th race drew nearly 2,000 runners in April.