FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marathon becomes official Air Force event
8/5/2004 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The U.S. Air
Force Marathon has been flying high for eight years and Air Force Services
Agency officials recently approved it as an official Air Force event.
"The official endorsement has always been kind of understood, it's just
never been written formally; now it will be," said Steve Carlyon, the 88th
Mission Support Group’s services division director here. "This is just part
of the evolution of the Air Force Marathon."
The marathon was initiated in 1997 as the base’s tribute to the 50th
anniversary of the Air Force. It is run on the third Saturday in September
each year in recognition of the anniversary.
Event officials said the Air Force Marathon offers unique touches to make
the experience stand out for all participants, not just competitive
runners. For instance, aid stations along the course and volunteers being
involved are event hallmarks.
It also differs in that it is run through much of the base, as well as
through such historic sites as the U.S. Air Force Museum and the area where
the Wright Brothers made early experimental flights. Also, participants are
given eight hours to complete the course, which is more time than other
Although the 26.2-mile marathon is the main focus, there is more to the
event, Mr. Carlyon said. Also offered are a 13.1-mile half marathon race; a
four-person relay race (26.2-miles with team members running different
parts of the course); a 5k race (3.1 miles); and a 26.2-mile wheelchair
In recent years, the Air Force Marathon has drawn more involvement,
according to Mr. Carlyon. A record 3,500 people participated last year,
while about 7,000 others volunteered or were spectators.
"We want to grow the event and make it bigger, and (so we) needed to put an
endorsement on it," he said. “Our vision is to attract 20,000 runers.
"Becoming the official Air Force Marathon brings that credibility to it.
Plus it ties in resources from the Air Force Services Agency for marketing
and promotional support; it ties in resources from public affairs and other
areas, and brings us up to that next step."
One of the steps will be tying the marathon into the Air Force's official
calendar of sporting events. This could entice more athletes to
Another potential boost will be in drawing name runners to the event.
Unlike many major sports, runners here may be able to compete alongside top
Mr. Carlyon said the upside to this would be competitors could see how they
compared to a world-class runner at various mile markers, and those top
marathoners would be available to speak to competitors and offer tips.
The Air Force Marathon is already a qualifying race for such world renowned
races as the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon.
The Air Force Marathon is not just open to military people but the general
public as well. It is an open event.
Even though much of it is run on a military base, anybody who enters will
be allowed to participate, regardless of age. A new awards category was
added this year to recognize runners age 12 and younger in the 5k race.
A question Mr. Carlyon hears periodically concerns leave for active-duty
people. He said permissive temporary duty is authorized, entitling
individuals to submit a request through their commander in lieu of taking
leave. All lodging and other expenses are the individual's responsibility.
The 2004 Air Force Marathon still has openings in all events. For more
information, call DSN 787-4350, commercial (937) 257-4350 or (800)
467-1823, or go online to http://afmarathon.wpafb.af.mil. (Courtesy of Air
Force Materiel Command News Service)