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U.S. Air Force Marathon registers 10,000th runner

A record field of runners take off to start the 12th Annual U.S. Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Nearly 7,400 people registered to take part in the marathon events this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ben Strasser)

Runners take off at the starting line of the 2009 U.S. Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in this file photo. This year's race registered its 10,000th runner on Aug. 12, meeting a long-standing event goal. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ben Strasser)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Marathon registered runner No. 10,000 on Aug. 12, surpassing a long-standing goal for the 14-year-old event.

There is still a month before the 5K run on Sept. 17, and the full marathon, half marathon and 10K run on Sept. 18. Registration for the half marathon reached its limit of runners Aug. 11 and was closed. There are less than 200 slots remaining for the full marathon, but there are plenty of slots available for the 5K and 10K runs.

"We're thrilled to achieve this important milestone," said Molly Louden, Air Force Marathon director. "Our goal is to make the Air Force Marathon a world-class event that is fun, rewarding and challenging. The increasing registration each year, in terms of bringing previous runners back and also attracting new ones, tells us we are hitting the mark."

In 2009 the marathon set an all-time record and posted a 35 percent increase over the previous year, but was still 31 runners short of 10,000.

The Air Force Marathon will be held Sept. 18 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Other events include a half marathon and 10K to be held on Sept. 18. Wright State University and the Air Force Marathon will co-host a 5K run on Sept. 17 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center. The Sports and Fitness Expo will also be held at the Nutter Center from Sept. 16-17.

The marathon course is a 26.2-mile run that traverses historical places on Wright-Patterson AFB, including the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, the Wright-Patterson AFB flight line, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, and the Wright Brothers Memorial Monument.

All levels of runners participate from around the world in the marathon, wheelchair, half marathon, 10K, and 5K races. Additionally, members' participation can earn points tallied toward the Major Command Challenge. The winning command earns possession of a prestigious traveling trophy. The top male and female Air Force finishers in all age groups and both the half- and full-marathon races earn points for their commands.

The MAJCOM Challenge is an Air Force-wide competition open to active-duty and activated Guard and Reserve service members. The challenge pits uniformed members of the service against one another in a friendly competition determined by participation points and race performance.

For more information about the races, or to register for the marathon, go to www.usafmarathon.com.