FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – An event that brings thousands of people into the Miami Valley each fall will be virtual again this year.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the Air Force Marathon organizers decided to move the race online.
On race day, Giovanni’s Restaurant in Fairborn is a destination for spectators and racers alike during the Air Force Marathon.
“I feel like it helped out a lot keeping us busy and making a profit for the city and businesses around here,” Giovanni’s kitchen manager Timothy Wilson said.
However, for another year in a row that won’t be the case.
“Since this public health crisis, we haven’t seen many racers, and they used to come in before races just to bulk up on the carbs,” Wilson said.
The Air Force Marathon typically brings in 20,000 participants, volunteers and guests to the area.
Because of this large number of people, and high COVID-19 transmission in the Miami Valley, organizers decided to make the marathon virtual again this year.
The Air Force Marathon organizers released a video statement Thursday afternoon.
“Just as ya’ll have been training all year, we’ve been planning all year, and we want to see the race come to fruition as well,” USAF Marathon Director Brandon Hough said. “But there’s a bigger picture here, and the safety of our participants, our volunteers, our spectators, and the members of the U-S Air Force is the upmost importance.”
Wilson said if there is a silver lining this year, tt would be that restaurants won’t have to turn customers away because of a continued staff shortage.
“Well, the only good thing is that we might not have had the staff to get food out in a nice amount of time, we would have still got it out, but I feel like it’s a horrible situation all across the United States, getting people hired,” Wilson said.
For the 11,000 marathon runners signed up, they will have the option to participate virtually, defer their registration to a future race, or ask for a full refund.