FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Soon runners will take their marks for the 20th annual Air Force Marathon Saturday. and it’s generating big bucks for the local economy.
At Wright Patterson Air Force Base organizers have spent all week setting up for Saturday’s race. It’s one that draws in tens of thousands of people every year and pumps millions of dollars in to the local economy.
More than 2500 runners took to the pavement Friday, running in the 10th Annual 5K race. Since last year, Wright State University President David Hopkins says participation has grown.
“Back 10 years ago, when we started it was probably a couple hundred,” Hopkins said. “That’s a five hundred increase from last year. It’s just marvelous.”
“It’s one of my favorites. I think it’s just the atmosphere,” runner Debbie Randolph said. “The soldiers, that’s it’s for huge charities, that it’s local.”
Debbie Randolph is one of more than 15,000 runners running in Saturday’s marathon. Just half of the 30,000 people coming to the area this weekend.
Last year, the marathon brought in more than 14 million dollars to the local economy. That’s up from the 12 million dollars brought in in 2014.
“Each year it grows,” Hopkins said. “And with that we grow the economic impact.”
Adding to that growth is runners coming from all over. All 50 states and 17 different are represented throughout the weekend, offering up a chance for Wright State to showcase what they have to offer.
“It helps us tell the world about who we,” Hopkins said. “Are so from that perspective it’s great for our university.”
Colonel Bradley McDonald says keeping strong community partnerships is key to the marathon’s success every year.
“I am always amazed at the team work and the great work that our airmen do,” McDonald said. “What’s interesting is the partnership we have with the community. When you put those things together here in the Miami Valley that’s why we can present a great marathon and series of events.”