James Beyer, 46, of Dayton, Ohio, crosses the finish line at 2:35:47 to win the men's marathon at the 2013 Air Force Marathon. (Michelle Gigante/Air Force)
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United States Air Force Marathon Logo (Michelle Gigante/Air Force)
More than 5,800 people registered on Jan. 1 to compete in the 18th annual Air Force Marathon, which is set for Sept. 20 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The sign-ups, compared with 5,100 a year earlier, set a one-day record for the opening day of registration, when $5 to $10 discounts were offered.
But there is still time to participate. Here’s what you need to know:
1 Registration. Race director Robert Aguiar in a news release encourages participants to register early. The race, open to military members as well as civilians, is capped at 15,000 runners, so more than one-third of slots already are taken. Last year’s event sold out in May.
Early registrants also pay lower entrance fees. For those who register through April 1, the fee is $90 for the marathon and $75 for the half-marathon. The fees go up $5 on April 2 and jump another $10 on June 2.
The 10K costs $40, the 5K, $30, through April 1, with similar price increases for those who sign up after April 1.
The registration fee is non-refundable. The only exception is official military deployment. There are no refunds for temporary duty or permanent change of station orders.
2 Historic run. The Air Force Marathon began in 1997, the same year the service celebrated its 50th anniversary. It is a USA Track and Field Association event and a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon.
The race has been held the third Saturday of September ever since its start. The 26.2-mile course begins and ends at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and winds by the Air Force Institute of Technology, Headquarters Air Force Material Command, the Wright-Patterson flight line, Huffman Prairie Flying Field and the Wright Brothers Memorial Monument.
Festivities begin Sept. 18 with the Sports and Fitness Expo at Wright State University.
3 Guest speaker. Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon for the past 26 years, will serve on a panel of running experts who will answer questions during the “Breakfast of Champions” on Sept. 19. He will sign autographs and meet runners afterward. The same day, he will speak at a pasta dinner at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
4 MAJCOM challenge. Major command teams can compete for a coveted traveling trophy in both the marathon and half-marathon. A marathon team is made up of four runners — three men and one woman. A half-marathon team includes six runners — four men and two women. The team with the lowest combined time wins.
Air Education and Training Command holds the marathon team title, with a time of 12 hours, 54 minutes and 52 seconds.
Air Force Materiel Command holds the half-marathon title, clocking in at 9:29:38.
5 Ones to beat. Going for a military record? Active-duty men will have to beat Brian Dumm’s 2010 marathon time of 2:27:49. Active-duty women will have to beat a record set by Lori Eppard Wilson the first year of the Air Force Marathon — 2:55:4.