WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- At the 26th annual Air Force Marathon, new and returning winners overcame a warm sun and steep elevation to beat out thousands of competitors.
Local runner Jason Salyer from Tipp City, a Department of Defense civilian and two-time half-marathon champion, captured first in the full marathon with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 23 seconds.
“This was very much home turf,” Salyer said. “It’s such a cool feeling to win. So many runners are just very supportive of one another. A lot of my friends are runners, and a lot of my training partners are my friends, and it definitely helps elevate my performance to another level.”
It’s such a cool feeling to win. So many runners are just very supportive of one another.
Jason Salyer, male full marathon winner
“This was my second or third-fastest marathon, which is impressive because this course is not conducive to fast times, with really huge hills early on and late in the race. It was a challenging course.”
A newcomer to the Air Force event, Gabby Bobadilla won her first-ever marathon gold in the women’s full race, despite the challenging conditions.
“I knew that the heat was going to make it a little tougher today, and I didn’t expect the rolling hills again at the end, which made it harder directly in the sunlight,” said Bobadilla, a physical therapist from Cincinnati. “But overall, it was a good course. Running under all those planes at the finish line and all the cheering was pretty cool.”
Bobadilla completed the course in just over 3 hours and qualifies for the 2023 Boston Marathon.
Even as the Air Force event made an in-person comeback itself this year, both the male and female half-marathon champions ended lengthy breaks from racing with their wins.
“It was a really awesome day—my first race in over three years, so it’s nice just to toe the line, get to the start line healthy and compete a little bit,’ said John Mascari, an Indiana native, who finished in just over 1:09 to win the men’s half-marathon. “Overall, I feel like today had a bigger purpose. Military members sacrifice a lot for us. Seeing them rooting us on, I think I can go the extra mile because they go the extra distance for us nonstop.”
Rebecca Murray, the 2010 full marathon female champion and this year’s half-marathon’s winner, crossed the line in 1:18:48, returning to the Air Force Marathon after a 12-year absence.
“I took some years off, but one of my coaching clients is currently in the Army, and she wanted to run this,” Murray said. “That inspired me to come on out today, support the troops and run the course again. It inspired me to give back what I can, which is the gift of running”
It inspired me to give back what I can, which is the gift of running.
Rebecca Murray, female half-marathon winner
Earlier in the day, Brandon Hough outran competitors in the 10K with a time of 35:20, and local Paralympian Grace Norman-Taylor took first among the women, crossing the line in 39.57.
Salyer, the overall marathon champion, said there’s nothing quite like the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base race.
“The Air Force Marathon stands out as having one of the best overall atmospheres—the fireworks, the jets on display, the uniformed men and women, the volunteers,” he added. “There was a ton of support out there today.”
To view a full list of official times and more information on the event, go to www.usafmarathon.com.