Flying Through Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

wright patterson air force base half marathonSince I was a small child, I've enjoyed running, and it is likely because my parents were runners . . . my mom still is.  Don't get me wrong, I have my days when running feels like a chore, but I think that goes without saying for any sport that requires training.

The distance I typically choose for a race is a 5k, which stands for five kilometers . . . the equivalent of 3.1 miles.  On occasion, I run a 10k race (10 kilometers or 6.2 miles). Recently, I decided to try half marathons, which is 13.1 miles. Don't ask me why most of the races are specified in kilometers with the exception of the half and full marathon because I truly don't know!

Since I am a slow runner and absolutely detest hills, I wanted a race that was beginner friendly (huge time limit) and with little to no hills, which is very hard to find in the metro-Atlanta area. I began looking for half marathons online that would met my criteria and was having trouble finding one that was nearby. Flipping through a recent Runner's World magazine, I saw an ad for the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio, which offered a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon.  

Thinking this would be the perfect race for me, since Dayton is relatively flat, I found the official race website. Unfortunately, they didn't have an elevation map for the half marathon posted, so I found them on Facebook and inquired about it but got no response from the race officials, so I also emailed them. (I have yet to receive a response back from them.) However, a very nice man named Sid Busch answered my question that it was a very flat course and beginner friendly. He had run both the full and half marathon in previous years. I made my decision and signed up for the race.  

wright-patterson air force base half marathon finisher's medal
That was last year, and I decided to run the race again this year making it my second year running it and only my second half marathon. Even though I enjoyed the course being flat, I have to say that there are things that I definitely did not like about the race.  

Maybe I've become spoiled by the Peachtree Road Race (a 10k held on July 4 in Atlanta) having a D.J. or a live band at every mile, but I expected this for the Air Force Half Marathon since the distance is so much longer. There was a D.J. at the start/finish and around mile 5 or 6. At mile 8, there was a live band that play hard rock or heavy metal. I assume they were good because I'm not really into that type of music.

The lack of port-a-potties on the race course was a bit concerning to me as well. Typically, there was only one port-a-potty at each designated place with one spot having four port-a-potties. (They did have plenty at the start/finish area.)

Something that the Air Force Marathon is proud of is that they don't have assigned starting corrals for the runners. To me, this is a major faux pas on their part. Even with the race officials announcing over the P.A. system that slower runners and walkers should be in the back of the pack, many people don't listen to these instructions. Even if I'm a slow runner, I don't want to get penned in at the start line because there are walkers in the way. And, this year, I encountered so many walkers that were further up in the pack that I had to dodge at the start line that it was frustrating. I hate to think what the elite runners thought.

wright patterson air force base half marathonThe other purpose of the starting corrals is keep the race from bottle necking at the start line, and because the race didn't have the starting corrals, it took me six and a half minutes to get to the start line after the race started. Last year, it took me 10 minutes to get to the start line!!

However, the spectators are great. Part of the course passes through a golf course and a neighborhood. A father and son fried up bacon for the runners. I didn't partake, but it sure did smell good!

With all this being said, I'm going to push myself more during training so that I am capable of completing a half marathon in the metro-Atlanta area within the stricter time limits (and on hillier courses).


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