The US Air Force Marathon has come and gone for the 19 time this year, and it continues to grow. Approximetly 15,000 runners came to town to participate in the event, selling out for the fifth year in a row, bringing $12 million to the area and continuing to involve the entire community.
As a Darke County native, I had never heard of the Air Force Marathon until the summer months. But as it drew closer, it became more and more evident to me just how involved the community is with this event. The base commander himself said while I interviewed him that although it’s called the Air Force marathon, the event is important to the entire area. As I informed collegues, friends and family members that I was working on a story about the marathon, everyone seemed to chime in ways in which they themselves, or people they know, were involved with the race either as volunteers or runners.
It started with the sports and fitness expo at the Nutter Center a couple days before racers took off from the starting line. Guest speakers and a variety of vendors were available as resources to runners, providing support before they took off from the starting line.
Race day was Saturday.
Participants of the 10K and full marathon took off 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning; half marathon runners met the starting line an hour later. Thousands of individuals stood on the grounds of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. From the roadways it looked like a sea of people, made up in vibrant-colored t-shirts, were waves surrounding the planes outside. All there to pursue different goals, but present for the same reason.
Communities, such as Fairborn, provided an area for citizens to watch runners go by and offer support (and water).
The U.S. Air Force Marathon serves as a means of bringing the community together.
Which makes sense – the Miami Valley is the birthing place of aviation. Race participants ran right by the historic Huffman Prairie. WPAFB should be proud for providing a means of showcasing the rich hisory that surrounds the area, as well as a way for citizens of each community to come together for a common reason.