US Air Force Marathon 2012

by Joanne on September 16, 2012

A race for everyone . US Air Force Marathon Weekend.

5K on Friday. Saturday morning, 10K and Marathoners start the day at 7:30 am and Half Marathoners get one foot in front of the other at 8:30 am.


September 15th was perfect for running. The temperature at the beginning of the race was 50 degrees. By the time runners were crossing the finish line, it was between 64 and 70 degrees.  The sun peaked out on occasion from behind the clouds.


Start to Finish

Spectators were allowed to the starting line with runners. No formalities about the event except the search for both runner and spectator before entering the start area.  Flags designated expected finish times and an honor system was used for runners to place themselves accordingly.  Pacers were available for both the marathon and half marathon.

A little about the base and a well wishing speech by the four star General (a woman by the way) then the spectacular fly over by the B-2 Spirit which was the aircraft of choice for this years marathon. The plane is different every year and appears on the finishers medal.  It was an awesome pass by the B-2.  So quiet!  There were no sound barriers broken!


A stealth by any other name. *The B-2 is not stationed on the Wright Patterson base.

The course is best described as gentle rolling but mostly flat. An easy start then the most challenging hill of the day is at mile 1 1/2. It doesn’t last long and your legs are fresh so it’s a piece of cake. Since you run in the area of a military base, there aren’t many spectators until you reach mile 8 to 10 where you exit security gates and run around down town Fairfield. The Ten Mile point is a marked event and buses will transport those who would like to see their runner from the start then again at Ten Mile point.  The bus then transports back to the finish so spectators can continue to cheer the runner over the line. This was the most enjoyable portion of the race.  From mile 12 to just before 20, it’s a long stretch of quiet road.  There are plenty of aide/fuel stations, every 1 1/2 to 2 miles throughout the course, and porto-potties are at each of those stations.  So if you’re nervous about porto-potty availability, this is one race to have no fear.


A few bands were spotted along the course to motivate runners.  For the most part, you depend on conversation with other runners, jokes from the pace leaders, or get your self absorbed in your own thoughts. I found myself passing notable miles with remembrances of the Boston Marathon, e.g. mile 10 the scream tunnel, the hills to be expected at 16, and more.  In the beginning 4 miles, my running skort kept falling down.  I had to keep shifting fuel gels until I found areas that would allow my outfit to stay on.  Most annoying!  About mile 5, I thought of my sister enjoying her early morning long walk.  The boring straight away from 12 to 20 had me wishing for some kind of terrain change, up or down just wanted to use different muscles.  I had caught up to the 3:45 pacer and she was quite entertaining.  She warned about the slight mis-measurement of the course (although we were hitting the mile markers she said her Garmin wasn’t there yet…was she using that “coach type” philosophy or was there REALLY a mismeasurement?!) and promised if we stuck with her we would finish at 3:44:30.  I SO wanted to stay with her.


During those middle miles my thoughts turned to Shane and how I missed my running partner. As with all runs when he isn’t there physically, I wore my gold German Shepherd around my neck to touch it lightly knowing we really were together. I’d see him soon enough…especially if I ran faster!

Back at mile 10 1/2 as we passed through the security gate and back into the base, there was Ted on his bike.  He was having a good ride with no one questioning his presence.  He didn’t interfere with runners nor get in the way of any event volunteer so all was good and, most important, I loved having him with me.

There was a runner who’s shirt read “40th Marathon” and listed all her previous events and how many times she ran each. I wondered at what age she must have begun running marathons?!  Then there was the blind runner and her guide.  It was her 10th marathon.  There were completely barefoot runners as well as some running in sandals and other more natural foot wear. The roads were forgiving as they were clean, free from debris.

We came to the ramp to 844, the last notable incline of the race and I gave in to my legs. I jogged a little and walked a little, watching as 3:45 slowly crept away.  From that point, about mile 21, things got tough. I walked and ran two more times but pushed through the final 1 1/2 miles since seeing folks with their medals, hearing the noise of the fast approaching finish line. It kept me working harder to get there faster.

I crossed the line with these official stats:

  • 3:46:32 a new PR.
  • 5th in my age group out of 123.
  • 497th overall, out of 3297 finishers marathoners.
  • 83rd female of 1065.
  • 10K split = 52:38
  • 1/2 split = 1:50:59
  • 35K split = 3:04:55
  • Average pace:  8:39

If you’re adding to your marathon experience list, the US Air Force is a must.

This goes down as my 2nd favorite to Boston.

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  • At 2012.09.16 19:37, Lori said:

    Congratulations! Looks like fabulous weather, too!

    • At 2012.09.17 13:52, Joanne said:

      Thanks Lori. The weather couldn’t have been better.

      • At 2012.09.17 08:22, misszippy1 said:

        Congrats Joanne! Sounds to me like you hung tough when you were feeling bad. I’m glad you had a nice “redemption” race after Boston!

        • At 2012.09.17 13:53, Joanne said:

          It certainly was my Boston redemption race. Hoping for another in 3 weeks but if not, at least I tried and didn’t waste the training 🙂

          • At 2012.09.17 10:20, Nancy Jean said:

            Sounds like all the running angels gathered together to wish you well! SO happy it was a such a terrific experience (‘cept for the food!) and CONGRATS on your PR! Great pictures, love the one of you & Ted, and the medal is truly beautiful. You continue to amaze me — wish we could have cheered you on in person. You know you were in our thoughts Saturday morning. Hope this fabulous high lasts for a long while!

            • At 2012.09.17 13:54, Joanne said:

              I know you guys were there in spirit. Thank you so much.

              • At 2012.09.17 12:03, Bill Fine said:

                Great job on the PR, Joanne…..sounds like it was a wonderful race. The Air Force Marathon is one of the ones on my “list”, so it was great to read your report!

                • At 2012.09.17 13:55, Joanne said:

                  Thanks Bill. It should be on every runners list. A truly great event and so well put together and thought out.
                  Good luck at Hartford 🙂

                  • At 2012.09.17 19:13, CCU said:

                    Wow my friend, congratulations what an incredible race to go against 😀
                    Loving the feedback!

                    Choc Chip Uru

                    • At 2012.09.18 09:01, Joanne said:

                      Thanks 🙂

                      • At 2012.09.18 08:32, Heather said:

                        I was thinking about you on Saturday – it was a beautiful day to run!!!
                        Congrats on the PR. I knew it!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

                        • At 2012.09.18 09:40, Joanne said:

                          Thanks for thinking about me 🙂
                          Your words before the race meant a lot.
                          and….I forgot to answer re- Presque Isle – never knew they had a
                          race there. It’s gorgeous. Def. something to keep in mind.

                          • At 2012.09.18 21:44, Pam said:

                            Great job Joanne, very proud of you :)!

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