Runners take your mark, get set and go!
Starting Jan. 2, interested racers may register their intent to participate in the new Armed Forces Series Challenge, an undertaking that involves completing five service-led races: the Coast Guard Marathon, the Air Force Marathon, the Army Ten-Miler, the Marine Corps Marathon and the Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler.
After completing their final race, participants are awarded a special Armed Forces Series Challenge medal.
The races, which are open to the public and held annually between April and December, can be completed across multiple years, giving marathoners an extended window to achieve the feat.
However, only those races starting in 2024 count toward the series, Jill Huffman, the Air Force Marathon interim-race director, confirmed to Military Times. That means those who previously competed in the various runs need to re-lace their shoes to cross the finish line.
“It is a clean slate,” she said, adding that while virtual options had been created during the COVID-19 pandemic, for this challenge the runs must be completed in person.
In addition to registering for the challenge, runners must still sign up for each event separately. Although the dates are subject to change, the upcoming races for 2024 are slated as follows:
- The Coast Guard Marathon — Sunday, April 7.
- The Air Force Marathon — Saturday, Sept. 21.
- The Army Ten-Miler — Sunday, Oct. 13.
- The Marine Corps Marathon — Sunday, Oct. 27.
- The Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler — Saturday, Dec. 14.
“Each branch of the armed forces has a unique character and distinguished tradition that is exemplified by their corresponding service-level running events,” Alex Hetherington, the Marine Corps Marathon director, said in a statement. “This is your opportunity to run with purpose, finish with pride and earn the distinction of receiving the Armed Forces Series Challenge medal.”
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media