WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base celebrated what would have been the race day of the 24th annual Air Force Marathon with a virtual event this past weekend.
Christopher Stanley and Rob Powers hosted the livestream on Saturday, the first section of which has been viewed more than 4,000 times on Facebook.
Runners from all 50 states and 32 countries participated in the virtual marathon, totaling 11,600 athletes. Runners as far away as the Middle East and Australia were able to conduct the race on their own terms, and upload their results to the Air Force Marathon website.
“We’re just blown away by the fact that so many of you all have joined us, signed up and kept grinding and training hard all summer,” said Air Force Marathon director Brandon Hough. “It’s been incredible. It’s inspired our team. It’s kept me going. I didn’t want to throw in the towel because I saw you guys not throwing in the towel.”
Organizers cancelled the in-person Air Force Marathon back in early June. Prior to the virtual announcement, the marathon had seen a drop in registrations which, according to Hough, matched trends industry-wide. However, within days of the virtual marathon announcement, registrations for the 2020 marathon spiked, and the race sold out in August.
“We’ve had support from all over the world, all over the nation, and from every Air Force base,” Hough said. “It’s been incredibly humbling.”
Security forces defenders and other Air Force officials ran in a modified version of the event during the livestream. Stanley and Powers shared stories of racers who had submitted their results for the marathon, half marathon, 5K and Tailwind Trot. Runners from around the country and around the world, including deployed military members, documented their journeys in their results submitted to the Air Force Marathon website.
The livestream also featured talks on the featured aircraft for the 2020 marathon, the HH-60G Pave Hawk.
Col. Patrick Miller congratulated the Air Force Marathon team on its ability to adapt to the unusual circumstances of this year’s event.
“It’s a crazy environment we’re in, and the adaptability and flexibility for the team to be able to pull off its first virtual marathon is a resounding success,” Miller said.
Runners still have a few days to submit their virtual results, which will be finalized Thursday, Oct. 1. The 25th annual Air Force Marathon is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2021.