WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFMCNS) --
In another historical first, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, is scheduled to attend the U.S. Air Force Marathon on Sept. 19.
General Schwartz's attendance marks the first time the service's most senior officer will attend the event, which is in its 13th year. The general, an avid runner, is scheduled to present trophies to the respective male and female top finishers of the full and half-marathon, wheelchair and 10K races.
Held annually at Wright-Patterson AFB, the USAF Marathon is the service's largest athletic participatory event, and is open to the public.
"We are honored and thrilled that General Schwartz will be joining us," said Molly Louden, USAF Marathon director. "Obviously, the general has a tremendously busy schedule. We so appreciate the commitment of his time to this great event."
Former Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall Ph.D. rode her bicycle at the first USAF Marathon in 1997.
In addition to the chief of staff attending the USAF Marathon, this year's event has shattered previously set participation records.
More than 9,000 runners have registered as of Sept. 11. The total number of runners in 2008 was 7,400.
"We haven't seen a jump like this in participation in the marathon since 2007, when we saw a 25 percent increase in registrations," Ms. Louden said. "In the past, the USAF Marathon has had surges in registration the week leading up to the event. It is quite possible we may reach 10,000 runners this year."
People who are interested in participating in the USAF Marathon can register up until Sept. 18, though race packets must be picked up by Sept. 18. There is no registration on Sept. 19.
Additionally, nearly 2,500 runners are participating in USAF Marathon-associated satellite races at deployed locations in the Middle East.
Other events associated with the USAF Marathon include the two-day Sports and Fitness Expo, Sept. 17 and 18, at the Wright State University Ervin J. Nutter Center, where all race packets must be picked up. More than 60 vendors will be in attendance. Guest speakers, including nationally-syndicated consumer warrior Clark Howard, and Boston Marathon Director Dave McGillivray, will offer free seminars. While the expo is free and open to the public, reservations are required to attend a speaker session. To make a reservation, call (937) 257-4350, or, DSN 787-4350.
A 5K race run in partnership with Wright State University will take place the evening of Sept. 18. The race will take runners through the university campus.
The ever popular - and sold out - Gourmet Pasta Diner will be served at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force the evening of Sept. 18. The event sold out in June.
For more information on any of these event, log onto www.usafmarathon.com.