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Wright-Patt welcomes runners to the 26th Air Force Marathon

  • Published
  • By Darrius Parker
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is set to welcome more than 11,000 runners, spectators and vendors during Air Force Marathon weekend Sept. 15-17. 

“Welcome to the 26th Air Force Marathon,” said Col. Christopher Meeker, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander. “After holding the marathon virtually for the last two years due to the pandemic, I am thrilled to bring the marathon back in-person. I look forward to seeing all the runners and spectators as we celebrate the return of the marathon and the Air Force’s 75th anniversary.”

Marathon weekend features four event distances, including the full and half marathons, 10K and 5K.

First held in 1997 to commemorate the Air Force’s 50th anniversary, the Air Force Marathon has grown into a very popular event, with runners from all 50 states and eight countries around the world experiencing the thrill of running beneath a C-17 Globemaster III on the final dash to the finish.

The Tailwind Trot 1K Kids Run was added in 2019 for little ones to also enjoy the weekend festivities. The 1K will be held Sept. 16 prior to the 5K at Wright State University. 

Runners and spectators will also find a wide variety of new food and drink choices at the finish line.

The weekend kicks off Sept. 15 with the Air Force Marathon’s Health & Fitness Expo at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.

The Expo features nearly 75 booths on tap with the latest developments in sports, fitness and nutrition. A free mobility clinic for lower-extremity amputee runners will be offered, with instruction provided by Optimus Prosthetics and American Paralympic gold medalist Grace Norman.

The two-day Expo is free, open to the public and runs 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 15 and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 16.

On Sept. 16, U.S. military veteran and Olympian Paul Chelimo will lead contenders on a 45-minute training run from the Holiday Inn in Fairborn starting at 6:30 a.m. He then returns to the hotel to speak at the Breakfast of Champions from 8 to 10 a.m.

Runners can enjoy a pre-race gourmet pasta dinner at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force that evening. Chelimo, who medaled in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, will be guest speaker.

Everyone who finishes a race will receive a medal with the featured aircraft, the AC-130J Ghostrider, celebrating their accomplishment. An additional special medal awaits those who complete the “Fly! Fight! Win! Challenge Series,” which entails completing three weekend races: the 5K, 10K, and half or full marathon.

All races begin and end at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, except the 1K Tailwind Trot Kids Run and 5K. Medals are presented at the finish line by senior Air Force leaders.

The Air Force Marathon is a Boston Marathon-qualifying event, and the course goes past numerous historical landmarks, including Huffman Prairie, where the Wright brothers perfected manned flight.

The featured aircraft for the 27th running of the Air Force Marathon will be unveiled during the “After Party at The Greene” in Beavercreek on Sept. 17.

Visit for more information about the 2022 Air Force Marathon and get the official 2022 Air Force Marathon app at the Apple App Store or Google Play.