Air Force Marathon sets attendance record for second year

  • Published
  • By Capt. Lauren Wright
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The 2011 U.S. Air Force Marathon broke a number of records this year -- first selling out earlier than ever in June and then by lining up 13,000 runners at the starting line on the grounds of Wright State University and the National Museum of the United States Air Force here.

This previous record for runners was 12,000 set last year.

Opening the 15th annual event, Brig. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the Air Force Security Assistance Center commander, noted there were representatives from every state, along with 15 countries, and 45 runners who have attended every U.S. Air Force Marathon since its inception in 1997. In addition to the 13,000 registered here, there were 3,100 people participating in eight deployed locations.

The general reminded those gathered that the running of the 10K, half- and full marathon races Sept. 17, coincides with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as an independent service 64 years ago.

"Since 1947, the United States Air Force has answered its nation's call in war, conflict, humanitarian relief missions and whatever we're called to do all around the world," he said. "We continue to build upon heritage of integrity, service and excellence today, as we fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. Happy birthday United States Air Force."

He thanked the thousands of runners, volunteers, sponsors, and community partners acknowledging that without everyone's support and participation, "we couldn't do it, and we greatly appreciate everything you do to make it a huge success."

Participants included those running in the full marathon including wheeled division, half-marathon, along with 10K and 5K runs.

Lt. Col. Mark Cucuzella finished first in the men's marathon. He has run in roughly 80 marathons, yet is only two weeks shy of turning 45 years old. The colonel has 23 years of combined Air Force active duty and reserve experience and is still serving as an Air Force Reserve medical officer in Shepherdstown, W.V., developing programs to help Airmen run injury-free and to improve their physical fitness performance.

Twin sisters, Kara and Tara Storage, from the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate here, ran the women's half marathon together and placed first and third, respectively.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to run with teammates and in our own backyard," the sisters said. "We appreciate the Air Force's support."

Marine 1st Lt. William Prom from Camp Pendleton, Calif., finished first in the men's half marathon. He participated in the Military Challenge.

"The hard part is getting up in the morning to train," he said. "But, on race day, the hard work is already over."

He said that his motivation to run in the Air Force Marathon was to prepare for the USMC Marathon, which will be his first marathon, scheduled for Oct. 30.

Christine Tieman, placed first in the women's10K. She said she gets her strength from "being a breast cancer survivor, my husband and the running community is motivating." She also said that she's trying to reach goals and stay healthy.

Among the noted runners in attendance was Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. He participated in the 10K run and later presented finishers' medals and awards to overall winners. The general finished the 10K run in 1:03:59.

The men's 10K race was won by Josh Cox, who now holds the 10K course record set with a time of 31:09. He also set the full marathon course record in 2007 with a time of 2:20:57.

The three-day event started with a Sports and Fitness Expo held at the Ervin J. Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University, officials said. The expo hosted more than 60 exhibitors, featuring the latest in sports, fitness and nutrition. The expo concluded Sept. 16 with a 5K race for nearly 1,500 runners held on the university's campus and a pasta dinner at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The Air Force Marathon is sanctioned by the USA Track & Field Association and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

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

-- Men's full marathon overall: Lt.Col. Mark Cucuzzella, Shepardstown, W.V., 2:38:48

-- Women's full marathon overall: Capt. Sarah Thomas, Fairview Heights, Ill., 2:58:51

-- Men's full marathon active military winner: Lt. Col. Mark Cucuzzella

-- Women's full marathon active duty military winner: Capt. Sarah Thomas

-- Men's full marathon, Push Rim Wheel Division: Darwin Coligado, Elk Grove Village, Ill., 2:39:21

-- Men's full marathon, Hand Crank Wheel Division: Bruce Chase, Westerville, Ohio, 1:24:00

-- Women's full marathon, Hand Crank Wheel Division: Holly Koester, Cleveland, Ohio, 2:14:24

-- Men's half marathon overall: 1st Lt. William Prom, USMC, Irvine, Calif., 1:12:55

-- Women's half marathon overall: Kara Storage, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1:15:56

-- Men's half marathon active duty military winner: 1st Lt. William Prom

-- Women's half marathon active duty military winner: 1st Lt. Caroline White, Klameth, Ore., 1:16:25

-- Half marathon Military Challenge Team Award: Air Force

-- Men's 10K individual overall: Josh Cox, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 0:31:09

-- Women's 10K individual overall: Christine Tieman, Bellbrook, Ohio, 39:35

-- Men's 10K active duty military winner: Maj. James Bales, Monument, Colo., 32:14

-- Women's 10K active duty military winner: Capt. Cindy Finke, Derby, Kans., 45:35

Air Force - Wright State University 5K race results from Sept. 16:

-- Men's 5K overall: Kory Kenney, Kokomo, Ohio, 16:11

-- Women's 5K overall: Catherine Graham, Lafayette, IN, 19:14

-- Men's 5K active duty military winner: Senior Airman Kristoffer Chacon, Lomita, Calif., 16:24

-- Women's 5K active duty military winner: Airman 1st Class, Sara Houck, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, 21:51

-- Men's 5K Push Rim Wheel winner: Thomas Lowen, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1:15:00

-- Women's 5K Push Rim Wheel winner: Gwenn Johnson, Dayton, Ohio, 1:00:53

For a complete listing of race results visit