WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Another successful Air Force Marathon with over 12,700 runners has come to an end and the marathon staff are already hard at work preparing for next year’s race.
“Producing the marathon is like a big party celebrating someone’s journey,” said Brandon Hough, Air Force Marathon director. “It’s like planning a party except there are about 15,000 runners and spectators coming. You can’t just run to the grocery store to buy food and drinks so there are contracts to be done to purchase these items. And you can’t mail out invitations so it takes a marketing plan to reach thousands of people to get them to attend. There are just so many moving parts in planning the marathon.”
Hough said the first action they take is preparing the website for the marathon registration process so when it goes live on Jan. 1 each year, the site runs smoothly for the runners when they register.
From approximately January to May, staff members tag team and attend various marathon expos and races across the country to advertise and recruit runners to participate in the next year’s marathon.
Now into July, Hough said the foundation of the marathon is set and final details are being wrapped up. They are finalizing contracts, medical plans and tying the knot on open ends with vendors and sponsors.
Although this year was Hough’s second marathon in the role as director, for last year’s race he had come on board a couple months prior so this was the first year he was able to make changes that fit into his vision of what he sees for future marathons.
Having that full helm of the event this year, he also incorporated several changes based on runner feedback.
“Based on the feedback from runners, we made several changes,” Hough said. “We made a significant overhaul of the courses, added a kids 1k race and added much more entertainment and displays throughout the course include fireworks at the start of the race. It was a new experience for all the runners this year including the ones who have ran in the past.”
Next year, Hough plans to continue to make more improvements to the marathon and will announce those changes in the months to come. One improvement Hough did share is his commitment to make the Air Force Marathon become more inclusive for athletes with disabilities and is working on ways to incorporate their participation.
The 2020 Air Force Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. The Sports & Fitness expo is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, and Friday, Sept. 18. For more information about the Air Force Marathon go to www.usafmarathon.com.