20th Air Force Marathon a huge success

Rachel Harley from Birmingham, Ala., crosses the finish line to become the winner of the 20th U.S. Air Force Marathon women’s full marathon division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with a time of 2:58:34. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Rachel Harley from Birmingham, Ala., crosses the finish line to become the winner of the 20th U.S. Air Force Marathon women’s full marathon division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with a time of 2:58:34. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

First Lt. Zebulon Hanley of San Antonio crosses the finish line to become the winner of the 20th U.S. Air Force Marathon men’s full marathon division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with a time of 2:47:04. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

First Lt. Zebulon Hanley of San Antonio crosses the finish line to become the winner of the 20th U.S. Air Force Marathon men’s full marathon division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with a time of 2:47:04. (U.S. Air Force photo / Rich Oriez)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- After a 30-minute weather delay, over 15,000 runners, walkers and spectators from all 50 states and many foreign countries gathered Sept. 17 to take part in the 20th annual U.S. Air Force Marathon at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Col. Bradley McDonald, the 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, said he was impressed by all the people responsible for organizing the marathon.

“In my first year here, I have been amazed by the outstanding Airmen of team (Wright-Patterson) and the great support we've received from the Miami Valley who helped make this such a phenomenal event,” McDonald said. “It takes an enormous amount of planning, hard work and more than 2,400 volunteers to make this a world class event and I sincerely thank each and every one of them for a job well done.”

The three-day event kicked off Sept. 15 with a free sports and fitness expo. Along with participant’s bib pick up, the expo offered more than 100 exhibitors featuring the latest in sports, fitness, health and nutrition.

Pre-race activities included the Breakfast of Champions on Sept. 16, featuring guest speaker, four-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi at the Fairborn Holiday Inn followed by the annual Gourmet Pasta Dinner at the Air Force museum.

“We are always excited about the Air Force Marathon,” said Rob Aguiar, the Air Force Marathon race director. “But this year is super special because we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary and we’ve added a lot of new pieces that we think people will enjoy.”

New to the marathon this year was the introduction of the official Air Force Marathon mascot, Tailwind. Also new was the Air Force Marathon mobile race app where participants and spectators could stay abreast of the latest marathon information including tracking runner location.

Runners had the option of competing in the full marathon, a half-marathon, and 10K, as well as a wheeled division. The Air Force Marathon is sanctioned by the USA Track & Field Association and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

In conjunction with the marathon, in its eighth year, the U.S. Air Force sanctioned deployed location races oversees. These races offer deployed military members the opportunity to share the marathon experience while deployed.

This year's men's full marathon winner was Zebulon Hanley, of San Antonio with a time of 2:47:04.

“This was the first Air Force Marathon I ran in so I was just trying to hit my paces and keep up with the leaders and the cards just fell right,” Hanley said. “Some of the leaders slowed down toward the end and I felt good enough to keep going and it worked out.”

Due to the weather, Hanley said he was not able to make his goal time but winning the marathon has given him a great sense of accomplishment. “I am also very grateful for the volunteers. They spent a lot of time to get ready for the marathon and then again on race day,” Hanley said.

This year's women's full marathon winner was Rachel Harley, of Birmingham, Alabama, with a time of 2:58.34.

“I feel awesome, this was my first marathon so I didn’t know how I would do,” Harley said. “My dad and grandfather were both in the Air Force so this marathon was very special for me and I am thankful for everyone who serves their country.

"This event was excellent right off the bat; it was well organized and everyone did an amazing job,” Harley said. “I am glad to have experienced this marathon and will definitely be back for sure next year.”

Winners are listed below. All times are unofficial at the time of this release:

-- Men's full marathon: Zebulon Hanley, San Antonio -- 2:47:04
-- Women's full marathon: Rachel Harley, Birmingham, Alabama -- 2:58:34
-- Men's full marathon, handcranked wheelchair division: David Berling, Avondale, Arizona -- 1:14:27
-- Women's full marathon, handcranked wheelchair division: Holly Koester, Walton Hills, Ohio -- 2:12:21
-- Men's half-marathon: Sean O’Hollearn, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia -- 1:14:37
-- Women's half-marathon: Emily Shertzer, Jonestown, Pennsylvania -- 1:22:40
-- Men's 10K: Steve Chu, Colorado Springs, Colorado -- 35:37
-- Women's 10K: Courtney Stroble, Yellow Springs, 42:45
-- Men's 5K: Steve Chu, Colorado Springs -- 15:55
-- Women's 5K: Anne Pennington, Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium -- 21:06