fbpx
usaf.marathon@us.af.mil (800) 467-1823
The MAJCOM Challenge
AAT-3073
Major Christina Hopper of Air Force Reserve Command cools off on the half marathon course.

The MAJCOM Challenge is its own competition within the Air Force Marathon. Founded in 2007, it has grown to become an event military members look forward to applying for and participating in each year.
“For me, the Air Force Marathon has always been a way to celebrate the heritage of the Air Force. Having done it 5 times, each race was held the same weekend as my unit’s Air Force Ball. I might be crazy, but I would much prefer to run a marathon than celebrate with a ball. I also run to prove I still can do it. It is also my unique way to celebrate the heritage of the greatest air force this world has ever seen.” Said Colonel Timothy Moser of the 2015 United States Air Forces in Europe team.
The MAJCOM Challenge is made up of 12 military teams comprised of members of the Air Force’s functional and regional major commands. Each team is made up of 10 members : 4 for the full marathon (3 male, 1 female) and 6 for the half marathon (4 male, 2 female). Anyone in the MAJCOMs can apply to be a part of the team, but the best times submitted with the applications are the runners chosen to be a part of the team.
Major Sharon Ehasz, 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard shared, “I am many things. I am a mom, I am a wife. I am an American. I am a runner. I am competitive. I am a Guardsman. The MAJCOM Challenge gave me a platform to marry these things together. I was active duty, I was in the Reserves. Now, I am a member of the Air National Guard and was proud to represent all Guardsmen. Additionally, I took this opportunity to set a goal, train and use the process as a teaching example for my kids. The MAJCOM Challenge wasn’t just an individual or team event… in my house, it was a family event.”
Applications are taken through the MyPers system, through the Air Force. Applications are accepted through 1 May, and team members are notified of being chosen by June. Each person running is still competing as an individual, but they are also part of the MAJCOM team.

A racer competes during the 19th Annual U.S. Air Force Marathon Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The marathon maxed out its entries with 15,000 competitors racing in the 10-kilometer, half marathon, and full marathon; along with more than 2,000 service members running in deployed locations around the world. The first Air Force Marathon took place in 1997 and had 2,600 racers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Eunique Thomas)
Captain Daniel Bundy of Air Combat Command.

Airman 1st Class Annelise Rowe, 124th Fighter Wing, Idaho Air National Guard, was chosen in 2015 to be part of her MAJCOM team. She not only helped bring her team to a second place finish in the challenge, she also took home the individual award of being the first place female military half marathon winner. She said, “To be able to be a part of something so great for the Air National Guard AND to have it be a physical challenge was so incredible. The MAJCOM Challenge taught me about goal setting, teamwork, and camaraderie, and about service before self. I would absolutely participate again. The race course was challenging, and to have another go at the course would be a dream come true… to participate again with a new team AND to have another shot at crushing that course? Bring it on!”
The runners are chosen come from the MAJCOMs all over the US, Pacific and Europe. They don’t know each other as a team until the event comes around in September, so they are training individually through the summer to compete to try to take home the Air Force Marathon MAJCOM Challenge title.
Colonel Christopher Bennett of the 2015 Air Mobility Command team said, “The best part was meeting runners from all across the Air Force, and in a few cases being able to reconnect with those from previous assignments with an affinity for marathons. The race is well- organized, the start area and all the logistics are well put together, and even though there are a lot of runners, it’s a small enough field to allow unrestricted running pretty much from the start. There’s an instant feeling of being a team as we all represent the same MAJCOM, even though we don’t train together.”

AAT-3101
First Lieutenant Hayley Chow of Air Force Materiel Command grabs a drink.

At the end of the event, each person’s time is compiled to complete the team’s time, which are added up as a whole. Whichever team has the fastest time is awarded the title of the MAJCOM Challenge winner and later presented a trophy, which is displayed in the MAJCOM’s home office until the next marathon MAJCOM competition.
Captain Timothy Carlson of the 2015 Pacific Air Forces team said he would definitely participate again. He applied to be a part of the PACAF team after he saw a PACAF news article highlighting PACAF’s 2014 win. He said, after participating in 2015, that his favorite part was “definitely the sportsmanship and competition across the Air Force teams. From the expo to the prerace dinner and finally crossing the finish line, the USAF Marathon is world class event. It’s extremely well organized event and nothing beats a flyover of the world’s greatest aircraft and getting your finishers medal from a USAF General Officer.”
The 2015 winner of the MAJCOM Challenge was the ACC team, with a compiled time of 22:45:16. Currently, teams are being formed for the 2016 Air Force Marathon MAJCOM Challenge. To learn more about being a part of a team, please see our website at www.usafmarathon.com. All applications must be submitted by May 1. We look forward to seeing which team will take home the win in 2016 at the 20th Air Force Marathon!