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23rd Air Force Marathon launches with early, dampened start

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Air Force Materiel Command’s commander, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., congratulate participants in the 23rd Air Force Marathon, hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2019.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force Materiel Command’s commander, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. Stanley Cadell, AFMC Command Chief, prepare to run the half-marathon in the 23rd Air Force Marathon, hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2019. The marathon attracts more than 13,500 runners yearly, and the course spans through the adjacent towns, celebrating the birthday and the history of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash)

Juris Silenieks, Bath Township, Michigan, crosses the finish line winning the 2019 Air Force Marathon with a time of 2:22:37.  (Air Force photo by Wes Farnsworth)

Juris Silenieks, Bath Township, Michigan, crosses the finish line winning the 2019 Air Force Marathon with a time of 2:22:37. (Air Force photo by Wes Farnsworth)

2019 Air Force Marathon 10k race starts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Runners take off from the starting line launching the 10k race of the 2019 Air Force Marathon. The 10k started on time just prior to a weather system moved in forcing a delay to the full and half marathon starts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Gen. David L. Goldfein celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the 2019 Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.(U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Gen. David L. Goldfein celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the 2019 Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Ann Alyanak of Bellbrook crosses the line at 2:52:15 capturing the Women's title for the 2019 Air Force Marathon.(U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Ann Alyanak of Bellbrook crosses the line at 2:52:15 capturing the Women's title for the 2019 Air Force Marathon.(U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Emily Shertzer, Jonestown, Pennsylvania, takes the Women's Half Marathon at 1:23:10 for the fourth year in a row. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Emily Shertzer, Jonestown, Pennsylvania, takes the Women's Half Marathon at 1:23:10 for the fourth year in a row. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Jason Salyer of Columbus won the Men's Half Marathon with a time of 1:12:56. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

Jason Salyer of Columbus won the Men's Half Marathon with a time of 1:12:56.(U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Fireworks and rain marked the start of the 23rd annual U.S. Air Force Marathon, featuring more than 13,000 runners from all states, all ages and all ranks.

The Air Force Marathon is actually a host of fitness and family events, including a 1K kid's race, a full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K runs, with rain delaying the start of the 10K, full and half marathons.

Fireworks were also added to the start of each of the day’s races.

This year marks the 23rd annual running of the Air Force Marathon, starting and ending at the  National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Sept. 21.

Each of the runners has their reasons for running hundreds of miles to train for and participate in fitness events like the Air Force Marathon and the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein, spoke with the crowd about his reasons for running and the name he carried on a bracelet.

“I'm running for a couple of groups today. First, I'm running for all those Airmen we've lost over the many years and their families, especially Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin,  who we lost in 2018, a special tactics combat controller,” said the general. “The second group I'm running for is our command teams, and this is our flight commanders,  squadron commanders, group commanders, wing commanders and their Senior NCO teammates.  Because if you're part of a command team in the United States Air Force, you're fit. We should never ask Airmen to do what we would never do ourselves. And I will tell you as chief, I'm not going to ask you to do something that I'm not willing to do myself.  So I'm looking forward to seeing you out on the course.”

Goldfein finished the half-marathon alongside the Air Force Materiel Command's commander and command chief master sergeant, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. Stanley Cadell, respectively.

The marathon also drew a range of fitness participants, ranging from entire families in some of the shorter races, to the Air Force’s top male competitor from the third annual Air Force Alpha Warrior Final Battle, Capt. Noah Patricia, a C-130J instructor pilot from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

The full marathon course also runs through several local communities, including the city of Fairborn and the Wright State University’s campus, which close roads and host events for the marathon’s 25,000 participants, volunteers and spectators.

“Elite runners have come from all 50 states and 15 countries to join us, and it’s incredibly exciting,” said Brandon Hough, race director, U.S. Air Force Marathon. “There’s no other race where you’re going to run 20-plus miles through an active duty installation, be greeted at the beginning with a flyover from actual Air Force aircraft to getting your medal at the finish from a general or a chief master sergeant.  So from start to finish it’s just very unique with the military and it’s an experience you can’t find at another large city marathon.”

Winners are listed below.  All times are unofficial at the time of this writing:

 -- Men's Full Marathon Overall, Individual: Juris Silenieks, Bath Township,  Ohio -- 2:22:37

 -- Women's Full Marathon, Individual: Ann Alyanak, Bellbrook, Ohio -- 2:52:17

 -- Men's Full Marathon, Crank Wheelchair Division: David Berling, Avondale, Arizona -- 1:13:54 

 -- Women's Full Marathon, Crank Wheelchair Division: Holly Koester, Walton Hills, Ohio -- 1:57:29

 -- Men’s Full Marathon, Push-Rim Wheelchair Division: Joey Gibbs, Ocala, Florida -- 2:14:15

 -- Women's Full Marathon, Push-Rim Wheelchair Division: Jenna Fesemyer, Champaign, Illinois -- 2:14:15

 -- Men's Half Marathon, Individual: Jason Salyer, Columbus, Ohio -- 1:12:58

 -- Women's Half Marathon, Individual: Technical Sgt. Emily Shurtur, Jonestown, Pennsylvania -- 1:23:14

 -- Men's 10K, Individual: Daniel Garza, Dearborn, Michigan -- 33:22

 -- Women's 10K, Individual: Maria Scavuzzo, Oxford, Ohio -- 36:37

 -- Men's 5K, Individual: Justin Weckler, Xenia, Ohio -- 18:14

 -- Women's 5K, Individual: 1st Lt. Maria Stephens, Beavercreek, Ohio -- 18:49

Planning is already underway for the 24th Annual U.S. Air Force Marathon is already underway, which will be Sept. 19, 2020.