Air Force Marathon sees increase in runners

The number of people who participated in the Air Force Marathon races at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base increased this year compared to past races despite early showers Saturday that dampened the course.

Around 12,700 people from all 50 states and 15 countries ran in races. That marks about a 1 percent increase since last year’s race, said Brandon Hough, marathon director.

The 23rd annual marathon weekend featured a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and toddler 1K this year and welcomed Air Force chief of staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, the most senior officer in the Air Force.

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Goldfein said he was running in memory of Airmen who were lost in 2018 and his command teams and leaders, according to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Goldfein finished the half-marathon alongside Air Force Materiel Command’s commander, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. and Chief Master Sgt. Stanley Cadell.

“We should never ask Airmen to do what we would never do ourselves, and I will tell you as chief, I’m not going to ask you to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Goldfein told a crowd of runners. “So I’m looking forward to seeing you out on the course.”

The marathon, which is a Boston Marathon qualifying race, started and ended at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force this year. This year’s races included a number of new features, including fireworks at the starting line, according to the base.

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The full marathon course also runs through several local communities, including the city of Fairborn and Wright State University’s campus. Around 25,000 participants, volunteers and spectators took part in the race overall.

The men’s full marathon winner was Juris Silenieks of Bath Twp., Ohio, who finished with a time just over two hours and 22 minutes. Ann Alyanak, of Bellbrook, won the women’s full marathon with a time of just over two hours and 52 minutes, according to Wright-Patt.

“There’s no other race where you’re going to run 20-plus miles through an active duty installation, be greeted at the beginning with a flyover from actual Air Force aircraft to getting your medal at the finish from a general or a chief master sergeant,” Hough said. “So from start to finish, it’s just very unique with the military, and it’s an experience you can’t find at another large city marathon.”


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