WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Which Air Force major command comprises the fastest, fittest flock of fine physiques? The answer may become clear Sept. 15 here when a new type of competition for active duty Air Force servicemembers debuts at this year's Air Force Marathon.
The Major Command Challenge is a new feature intended to spur friendly competition among Airmen assigned to the Air Force's nine major commands.
"The number of runners who have registered so far is several hundred higher than last year at this time, and we're hoping the MAJCOM Challenge will accelerate that burst in participation," said Molly Louden, the Air Force Marathon director.
The MAJCOM Challenge winner will be the Air Force major command with the highest
participation rates and best performances in the full- and half-marathon races. In turn, that MAJCOM will retain bragging rights for having the best runners in the service until next year, when the trophy travels to the next winning command.
Looking for a way to increase active-duty participation, Gen. Bruce Carlson initiated the MAJCOM Challenge. The commander of Air Force Materiel Command, which annually hosts the marathon here, unveiled the trophy at a meeting of Air Force senior leaders earlier this year.
Participation is measured based on the actual percentage of active duty military members in each MAJCOM, Ms. Louden said. Points are awarded according to the percentage of a command's active-duty members who participate. Overall winners in both the halfand full-marathon races earn points for their commands as well, provided they are activeduty Air Force members.
Additionally, each age group's winner -- of both genders and in both races -- is awarded a specified number of points. Read more about the point system at http://www.usafmarathon.com
The award is a traveling trophy, Ms. Louden said.
Each year, the same trophy will be presented to the winning MAJCOM commander at the annual fall gathering of Air Force senior leaders. A plaque will be awarded to the previous year's winning command when it relinquishes the trophy to the new winner. If the same command wins again, it will keep the trophy for another year. Each winner is recognized by a nameplate engraved with its name, which is mounted on the trophy.
Time enough still exists to train for either the half- or full-marathon, Ms. Louden said, but the opportunity is rapidly closing.
Active duty members are authorized permissive temporary duty to participate, if their supervisors approve.
For more information, log onto http://www.usafmarathon.com