WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — As the 2022 History & Heritage Race Series flies toward the Air Force Marathon, registration for the next virtual race opened Feb. 1 featuring the 1986 MH-53 Pave Low.
The upcoming event marks the second of six virtual races as the series returns for a second season.
While the Air Force Marathon, held annually the third Saturday in September, features aircraft still in service, the History & Heritage Race Series began in 2021 to highlight retired aircraft that gave wings to the Air Force’s legacy.
Especially equipped to assist in special operations missions, the heavy-lift, long-range MH-53 helicopter was an all-weather platform capable of operating in rain or shine, day and night with low emissions.
“We are excited to share the great history of the MH-53 Pave Low with runners from around the world, as the Pave Low proudly served the USAF across multiple decades, engagements and mission types,” said Brandon Hough, Air Force Marathon director. “For many Airmen, the sight of an MH-53 was ultimately one of great relief, as these aircraft went where others did not to support our men and women in uniform wherever they were needed.”
The MH-53 on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force was used by the 20th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron for 38 years. The aircraft helped rescue American prisoners of war held at Son Tay prison near Hanoi, North Vietnam.
The Pave Low was the last of five HH-53s to survive the mission. Before retiring in March 2008, the helicopter flew in other combat assignments such as Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
The second race in the History & Heritage Series will begin March 1. Participants may run or walk the full marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K distance wherever they’d like, track it with a GPS device to confirm their mileage and time, and upload their results.
All registered participants will receive a commemorative patch, finisher’s medal portraying the MH-53 Pave Low, information card on the aircraft, downloadable completion certificate and race bib.
For more information and to register for the race, visit http://usafvirtual.com.