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Air Force Marathon director named to ‘40 Under 40’ list

  • Published
  • By Beth Anspach

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Devoted to running since competing in high school, Brandon Hough ended up turning his love for the sport into a career.

In May 2018, Hough was named the Air Force Marathon race director and has continued to grow and improve the event ever since.

“In my mind, Brandon was the natural choice for this position,” said Col. Paul Burger, former 88th Mission Support Group commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Natural, just as running marathon events has become for Hough.

He was recently named to the Dayton Business Journal’s 2021 “40 Under 40” list, which honors the region’s 40 brightest young business leaders who demonstrated success in the past year and made a difference. The award recognizes professional accomplishments, community leadership, awards and milestones.

After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 2011, Hough moved to Dayton and worked at the base as a contracting officer. Over the next several years, he earned his master’s degree in sports administration from Xavier University and began to work at races across the country. His first time running in the Air Force Marathon was 2012.

He joined the running industry full time in 2014 after separating from the Air Force and oversaw more than 20 annual races in Southern California, including runDisney, the Catalina Island Marathon, Anaheim Angels 5K and Long Beach Special Olympics World Games. In 2017, he and his wife returned to Dayton and started his own running company.

“I couldn’t see myself working for anyone again,” Hough said.

That was until Hough’s longtime friend and mentor, Rog Aguiar, decided to leave his position as Air Force Marathon director. The job seemed perfect for Hough.

Since taking over the reins of one of the largest marathon races in the country, with more than 15,000 participants, Hough has worked to improve and change the routes, added events such as the 1K kids race, and included more entertainment, displays and even fireworks at the start of the race.

He also created the “Fly-Fight-Win Challenge,” an opportunity for runners to compete in three events to obtain an exclusive medal.

“It was a very exciting opportunity to be able to lead a race that I deeply love and have been part of since 2012,” Hough said. “It’s incredibly humbling to work with the base and the community to produce the Air Force’s premier running event.”

Hough gives credit to the Dayton community, which he said is in large part what makes the Air Force Marathon a great event. More than 2,400 local volunteers are needed to help support the marathon and the fact organizers are able to interest that many says a lot about its impact on the community, he added.

 Burger said the “40 Under 40” honor is not a surprise.

“Brandon owns and is producing a series of races in the local area, from 5K to marathon lengths,” said Burger, who runs with Hough. “He lives in Yellow Springs and is very active in that community as well.”

As he continued running with Hough, Burger said their relationship evolved and his passion is clear to see. Burger also participated in the Air Force Marathon many times.

“It’s just very exciting to work with him and the rest of the team on growing and transforming this event,” Burger said. “We want to make it the best race event it can be for all the participants.”