Air Force cancels 2020 Marathon, offers virtual option

Fireworks go off at the start off the Air Force Marathon held on Sept. 21, 2019, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (Air Force photograph by Wesley Farnsworth)

In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and prioritize the health and safety of participants, Air Force officials have cancelled in-person running of the 2020 Air Force Marathon.

“The entire team and our mission and community partners have worked tirelessly for two months to find a way forward to produce the 24th annual event but have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the traditional in-person event,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “We know this is a challenging time for everyone, and the cancellation will be disappointing news to many.”

Numerous scenarios were explored to produce an event that was safe for all and met the high event standards. All scenarios led the marathon team to conclude the event would be unable to proceed in a manner that participants have come to expect.

“We simply cannot execute the marathon in a manner where the safety and security of our runners, volunteers, staff, partners and spectators is satisfactorily achieved,” explained Brandon Hough, Air Force Marathon director. “However, our team has worked hard to offer numerous options to registered participants to be as accommodating as possible.”

For those participants who are registered, the Air Force Marathon team has developed three options to choose from that are listed below. Additionally, for those who have yet to register, there is still time to sign up to participate in the virtual events.

Virtual Race: Complete the Air Force Marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, Tailwind Trot or Fly! Fight! Win! Challenge Series race virtually on any day in September and receive your 2020 bib(s), medal(s) and race shirt(s). With this option, participants will also receive a 20 percent discount to any 2021 Air Force Marathon race.

Gift an Airman: Registration may be gifted to a military member planning to participate in the 2021 Air Force Marathon or half marathon. By selecting this option, participants will receive a 20 percent discount to any 2021 Air Force Marathon race.

Deferral: Free deferral ($15 deferral fee waived) to Air Force Marathon race weekends scheduled for 2021, 2022, or 2023.

“Although I am disappointed we won’t have the in-person race, I planned to run the half marathon. I’m still looking forward to joining Airmen and participants from around the world running the virtual race this September,” Bunch said.

Participants are asked to make their selection by June 28 in order for the marathon team to stay on schedule with ordering items and planning the virtual race experience. If an option is not selected before the deadline, registrants will automatically be entered into the virtual race. All STARS participants will be honored and maintained regardless of which option is selected.

Participants who registered directly with the Air Force Marathon will be contacted via email with the options and necessary steps to take. Participants who registered through a charity partner are asked to reach out directly to that organization for the options available to them. Participants seeking a refund should contact the Air Force Marathon office directly.

For the latest updates from the Air Force Marathon, visit


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