AIR FORCE MARATHON AT WRIGHT-PATT NOT SOLD OUT

Satur­day event at Wright-Pat­ter­son base has so far drawn 13,500.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - COM­PLETE COV­ER­AGE

WRIGHT-PAT­TER­SON AIR FORCE

— The Air Force Marathon BASE planned for Satur­day was trail­ing roughly 2,000 run­ners be­low a sell­out as of Thurs­day, but or­ga­niz­ers ex­pected to tem­po­rar­ily re­open reg­is­tra­tion for the hal­fand full-marathons.

A 5K race today at the Wright State Univer­sity Nutter Cen­ter and a 10K race Satur­day at Wright-Pat­ter­son had sold out, ac­cord­ing to marathon di­rec­tor Rob Aguiar.

This year’s race, which also will mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the Air Force, had so far drawn about 13,500 run­ners from all 50 states and at least a dozen coun­tries, said Aguiar. Reg­is­tra­tion re­opened Thurs­day and was due to con­tinue through race day, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers.

The se­ries of four races ac­com­mo­date a to­tal of about 15,500 run­ners who com­pete in a 5K, 10K, and a half- and full-marathon.

The last time the race did not sell out was 2010 when the marathon had a max­i­mum of 10,000 com­peti­tors, Aguiar said.

Run­ners have more races to choose to com­pete in and the Air Force Marathon may be feel­ing the ef­fects of that com­pe­ti­tion, he in­di­cated.

“(In) the rac­ing in­dus­try, in gen­eral, there’s a lot more races than there’s ever been,” he said. “In other words, our cus­tomer has a lot of op­tions.

“I don’t be­lieve there’s any con­cern,” he added. “We’re still a fan­tas­tic race (and) we’re still a race that peo­ple want to do, (but) there’s just a lot more races that folks can at­tend.”

To mark the Air Force’s birth­day, two air­craft — a World War II-era P-51 Mus­tang and an F-22 Rap­tor stealth jet fighter — will fly

over the start­ing line, he said.

The gath­er­ing is a ma­jor sporting event in the re­gion, and Aguiar said the se­cu­rity will be tight­ened this year with more con­crete bar­ri­ers in park­ing ar­eas.

He rec­om­mended at­ten­dees ar­rive at least two hours be­fore a sched­uled race starts to avoid traf­fic is­sues.

Par­tic­i­pants, who will be screened onto the race grounds, must use clear plas­tic bags as part of the se­cu­rity mea­sures, he said.

A sports and fit­ness expo where run­ners pick up bibs and visit 100 ex­hibitors was sched­uled through today at the Nutter Cen­ter.

“The No. 1 thing for everyone is to get to the Expo in a timely fash­ion, pick up your packet, and try to gain as much in­for­ma­tion as you can as the run­ner or the spec­ta­tor or the vol­un­teer (so you) are com­fort­able with what is needed of you the fol­low­ing day,” he said.

Tracey Judd, of Tampa, Fla., and for­merly of Cen­ter­ville, will run her first marathon Satur­day at Wright-Pat­ter­son, the place her late fa­ther once worked.

“It’s good to come back home and if I’m go­ing to try it my first time, might as well be right here and do it at WrightPatt,” she said.

Her goal? “Fin­ish,” she said. “That’s it. Have fun and fin­ish.”

The marathon, which launched in 1997, needs an army of vol­un­teers to put ev­ery­thing to­gether and run the race.

David A. Craw­ford is one of 2,400 ex­pected along the race course Satur­day.

Craw­ford, 65, and a re­tired Air Force master sergeant with ex­per­tise in emer­gency man­age­ment, over­seas dozens of Ham ra­dio op­er­a­tors and oth­ers who com­mu­ni­cate any med­i­cal or other in­ci­dents to or­ga­niz­ers.

The Beaver­creek res­i­dent has vol­un­teered for nearly two decades.

“I’ve got 65 peo­ple that help me do this job,” he said. “It’s a big team ef­fort and we couldn’t run the race with­out them be­cause we can get in­for­ma­tion back to the com­mand staff within about 10 sec­onds of the in­ci­dent oc­cur­ring.”

Vol­un­teers set up the course, hand out water, food, blan­kets and medals, and take on a myr­iad du­ties, he said.

“You’ve got many, many eyes out there,” he said. “... We’ve got peo­ple do­ing ev­ery­thing.”

Crews are ready to give out 31,200 water bot­tles, 19,000 bot­tles of Ga­torade, 150 cases of bananas, 7,000 bagels, and 12,000 “heat sheets” or blan­kets.

They’ll also set up 16,000 feet of fenc­ing and 405 porta-pot­ties, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers.

Park­ing is avail­able on the Air Force mu­seum grounds. Run­ners with race bibs may also be dropped off from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. at the Nutter Cen­ter to ride an RTA shut­tle bus to the start­ing line at the mu­seum. Run­ners can be picked up be­gin­ning after 8:30 a.m. at the mu­seum or after 9:30 a.m. at the Nutter Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers.

RTA buses will de­part the mu­seum to take run­ners back to the Nutter Cen­ter start­ing at 9 a.m. through 2 p.m., ac­cord­ing to spokesman Brian Brack­ens. Fair­born Fly Zone shut­tles de­part the start line area at 7:40 a.m. They will de­part down­town Fair­born at 9:45 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., he said.

CHRIS STE­WART / STAFF

The Air Force Marathon, as seen in this file photo, is a ma­jor sporting event in the re­gion. Se­cu­rity for this year’s event has been tight­ened, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers.

BAR­RIE BAR­BER / STAFF

David A. Craw­ford of Beaver­creek will be one of an ex­pected 2,400 vol­un­teers at the Air Force Marathon on Satur­day.

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