USAFE sponsors Airmen in marathon

Airmen in Europe have an opportunity to become one of 18 U.S. Air Forces in Europe sponsored participants in the 13th annual U.S. Air Force Marathon.

Selected individuals representing USAFE will be provided lodging, airline travel and some local transportation at the event (no per diem). Interested Airmen should contact their local fitness center staff to submit their application by Tuesday.

The marathon will take place Sept. 18 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The temporary duty dates from USAFE will be Sept. 17 to 21.

“Last year, over 9,000 runners participated in the marathon, and registration for the 2009 marathon is currently outpacing last year’s totals,” said Maj. Alejandro Garcia Jr., USAFE chief of community support and sustainment branch directorate, manpower, personnel and services, in an e-mail. “This year, the goal is participation by more than 10,000 runners.”

Races include the full marathon, including wheeled division, a half-marathon, 10-kilometer race and a 5K event, which will be held on the grounds of neighboring Wright State University.

“The half-marathon course is new again this year and routed on a loop that provides a more scenic and flatter course than previous years. It is a great event for those who enjoy some distance but don’t have time to train for the rigors of a full marathon. The 5 and 10K are great distances for family and friends to do together whether walking or running,” said USAF marathon director Molly Louden.

Associated activities in previous years have included a sports and fitness exposition and a gourmet pasta dinner at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The expo normally features a variety of vendors with running apparel and other sporting goods.

Another aspect of the marathon is the service-wide competition for active-duty Airmen that determines the command with the best long-distance runners in the Air Force. The USAF Marathon’s MAJCOM Challenge “Commander’s Trophy” is awarded annually by the chief of staff during the Fall CORONA to the commander of the winning major command.

The USAF Marathon is the world’s only air and space power marathon. Runners are treated to a variety of fly-bys at regularly scheduled intervals by America’s most advanced military aircraft, but the featured aircraft will be a static display of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance system.

The USAF Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying race, certified by the USA Track and Field Association. The 26.2 mile run traverses historical places on Wright-Patterson AFB, including the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, the base’s flightline, Huffman Prairie Flying Field (where the founding brothers of modern-day flight, Orville and Wilbur Wright, first learned to fly in 1903) and the Wright Brothers Memorial.

(Courtesy of USAFE Public Affairs)