Longtime Air Force Marathon volunteer finds experience rewarding

  • Published
  • By Sarah Amato
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Each year, it takes thousands of volunteers to power the annual Air Force Marathon, and David Pfister can attest to what a thrilling and rewarding experience it can be.

Pfister, 70, a longtime marathon volunteer, has supported the event since its start in 1997 - becoming a familiar face among the race’s 2,000 annual volunteers. From warehouse preparation to handing out participant shirts to assisting with race-day registration, no matter how big or small the task, he’s there to help make the marathon an outstanding success.

“It’s always an exciting event,” said Pfister of New Carlisle. “It is great to meet all the runners that come in from all over the world. You have an opportunity to hear all their stories about why they have come here to run. They are all very excited to be here.”

Pfister’s commitment to the Air Force and Wright-Patterson can be traced back decades. A retired civil servant, he worked for a number of federal agencies before finally ending his career as the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Enterprise Computing Center on base in 2013.

At first, Pfister used volunteering as a way to escape the daily stressors of work life. Along with his involvement in the marathon and its related activities, he has also supported local initiatives throughout the years including blood donation banks and food pantries, among others. Today, he also works as a part-time high school sports referee.

Rachael Ferguson, Air Force Marathon director, said Pfister is a faithful volunteer who has worked behind the scenes to support almost every aspect of the marathon.

“We are grateful for his knowledge, serving spirit, kindness and support,” she said. “Volunteers like Dave make our event possible and a great experience for all.”

Pfister’s commitment to the marathon does not end at merely volunteering. He also participates in the event’s 5K, but as a walker, not a runner, he said laughing.

He credits the Air Force Marathon staff for making volunteering at their events a worthwhile experience.

“No matter what you do, they really appreciate you and are always very accommodating,” he said. “They are happy to have you there.”

Pfister encourages others to consider donating their time to support the event.
“Volunteering doesn’t take a lot of time…offer the time you have,” he said. “You are well instructed on how to get things done, and you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy it. I certainly have over the years.”

How to Volunteer

Volunteer registration for the 2023 marathon, which is set for Sept. 14-16 at Wright State University and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, kicks off May 1.

“Without our volunteers, we would not be a success,” Ferguson said. “It takes thousands of hands and feet to put together everything we do to provide a world-class experience for our participants, and our volunteers contribute a huge portion of that work.”

Marathon volunteer opportunities include supporting race day and the annual Air Force Marathon Health & Fitness Expo as well as assisting with warehouse organization and tasks.

Individual volunteers must be ages 16 or older. Those under the age of 16 must volunteer with a parent, guardian or trusted adult.

For more information on how to volunteer or its benefits, please visit https://www.usafmarathon.com/volunteer/. Positions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.