WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force Marathon kicks off Saturday, Sept. 16 and vital to the race are thousands of members of the “Flight Crew,” who volunteer their time to help make race events a success.
From setting up the course, working the two-day Expo, handing out bibs and shirts, to manning hydration stations and providing entertainment for runners and participants, Flight Crew members are the engine that keeps the Air Force Marathon running.
“We couldn’t have this marathon without them,” said Jeanette Monaghan, volunteer coordinator. “From pre-race behind the scenes opportunities to race day finish line jobs our volunteers are the key to our success.”
Registration for Flight Crew positions is still open, and the Marathon has a need for volunteers to work the Expo and provide entertainment along the course.
Registration for the 21st annual US Air Force Marathon is still open and runners, walkers and wheeled participants are encouraged to sign up quickly.
This year’s marathon will honor the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force and will include a joint flyover by a P-51 Mustang – which saw extensive action in World War II – and an F-22 Raptor – a fifth generation fighter – representing the past and future of the Air Force.
Throughout the race, participants will the opportunity to travel past various historical landmarks including the Huffman Prairie Flying Field where Wilbur and Orville Wright developed the first airplane. In addition, there will be musical entertainment and fan sections throughout various points in the race including the Fly Zone, located in downtown Fairborn.
“We still have opportunities for runners to register in the full and half marathons as well as the 5K and 10K races,” said Air Force Marathon Director Rob Aguiar. “We’re very excited about this year’s race.”
Former US Army Special Forces officer and author Ivan Castro will serve as the guest speaker for the marathon, who is a highly decorated U.S. Army officer who lost his eyesight in a mortar blast while deployed to Iraq in 2006. After a 17-month rehabilitation, he returned to duty and until his retirement in 2016 was the only blind Special Forces soldier in the service.
Castro has completed more than 80 marathons, including the Chicago, New York, Marine Corps and Air Force marathons. He has also cycled across America and hiked 200 miles across Antarctica. He co-authored a book on his life titled “Fighting Blind: A Green Beret’s Story of Extraordinary Courage.”
“We are so excited to have Ivan as our guest for this year’s race,” said Race Director Rob Aguiar. “He has such an inspirational story and has overcome so much. I think runners are going to enjoy hearing what he has to say.”
Castro will speak at the Sports and Fitness Expo, Breakfast of Champions and at the Gourmet Pasta dinner.
The race is slated for Saturday, Sept. 16, while the Sports & Fitness Expo will be held Thursday, Sept. 15 and Friday, Sept. 15 at Wright State University’s Nutter Center. The event will also feature a Gourmet Pasta Dinner and Breakfast of Champions on Sept.15. For more information about the race, visit www.usafmarathon.com. For more information about volunteering and to register before the Aug. 31 deadline visit http://www.usafmarathon.com/volunteer/.